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Three Great Client Event Ideas That Aren’t Another Dinner

Posted by Angela Christian on Aug 10, 2016 1:00:00 PM
Angela Christian
Event planning wasn't within my scope of my previous role, and my level of expertise with it was nonexistent years ago. That all changed quickly, and through trial and error, my capability to plan and execute a successful event improved (transforming my #epicfails to #epicwins). Here are great client event ideas that worked best for me, and will potentially work for you too! 

Workout Class:  


Woman Working Out

Workout classes can be ideal for two types of clients.  The most obvious are those clients who are health conscience and prefer to spend their time at a gym rather than a happy hour.  Scheduling workout classes rather than happy hours typically leads to a more engaged client and a willingness to talk before or after class.  

The second type of clients are those who are difficult to reach or schedule a meeting with based on their busy schedules.  Assuming these clients are interested in working out, if you suggest meeting them at their normal SoulCycle class for example, they are probably more likely to give you some facetime before or after the class.  I’ve had numerous colleagues use this strategy to bond with difficult clients and use these quick conversations to secure longer meetings.  


Tips for planning a workout class:

  • Always book a workout class that the client is interested in (bonus if you book their favorite instructor).  This is not the time to try something new - you don’t want the client to take a client to Barry’s Bootcamp if their normal workout is yoga.  Book something that they will enjoy and is part of their normal workout cadence.  
  • Suggest grabbing a coffee after a morning workout session as a way to sneak in some extra time with your clients.
  • Keep the conversation light - give them a few highlights of topics you’d love to discuss further with them.  If you pique their interest - they’re probably likely to schedule a follow up to hear more.  

Sporting Event:  

Fenway Park

 

Sporting events are great because they get your clients out of the office and in a more relaxed environment.  At the end of the day, clients are human too, and they want to spend their work time doing things that interest them.  If you can bond over a love of their favorite sport and build a relationship built on mutual interest you are more likely to have a better relationship.  


Tips for planning a sporting event:

  • Arrange a happy hour or dinner before or after the event.  Having something prearranged allows you to have ample time to discuss business and spend the game having fun.
  • If you live in a different city than your clients, book tickets for a game where their home team is playing your home team.  A little sports rivalry is fun and can help with getting to know your clients on a more personal level!
  • Bring Cash!  The vendors that walk around selling beers are not going to take your corporate credit card - make it easier on yourself and have cash handy for these times.

 

Activity Based:  


Cooking Class

 

Some of my favorite client events were those in which I took clients to an activity that involved us all learning something new and actively participating.  These events are ideal because  they allow for people to learn new things, be actively involved and usually they are a lot of fun.  There are tons of group activities out there: poker lessons, cooking classes, mixology classes, bars with games, and improv classes to name a few.  

 

Tips for Client Activities:

  • Try to arrange an activity that no one has done before.  If one of your clients is a master chef then a cooking class may not be as fun for them.  
  • Make the activity as interactive as possible - meaning that people have to work together rather than individually.  If you are in teams make sure you mix up your team with your clients team so everyone can get to know each other better (bonus if there can be a little bit of competition between teams).

 

Happy Hours and client dinners are great, but I’ve found some of my most successful client relationships were those built on shared interests and experiences.  Getting clients out of their comfort zones (happy hours), and into something more fun and lively, gives them more opportunity to bond with you.  Focus on making your events memorable, engaging and most importantly interesting to your clients.   

Happy Planning!

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Topics: Corporate Events