When a corporate event client asks for the impossible, they don’t want to hear “no.” It’s just not an option.
Maybe the client wants you to create a simple event in 3 days or a large-scale one in 3 weeks. Or perhaps they want you to squeeze 450 people into a space that only accommodates 300. Or they could be asking that you come in 20% below an already small budget. What do you do?
The “nice” way to say no is to not say it at all. Instead, spin your negative into a positive and tell your corporate event client what you CAN accomplish. A word of caution: don’t promise anything you CAN’T DELIVER. Better to under promise and over deliver, than to under deliver on what was promised. Planners must manage client expectations.
Examples of saying “no” to your corporate event client…nicely
- The Ask: Can you do this event in 3 days? (…when it should take 3 weeks)
Say No, Nicely: We’re excited to partner with you on this event. Typically, this requires x# of days/weeks to be most successful. If your date isn’t flexible, here’s what we propose for the event in the given time frame….
- less guests
- more minimalist approach (decrease the bells and whistles)
- The Ask: We need to fit an additional 150 people at our event! (…when the space holds a max. of 300)
Say No, Nicely: That’s excellent that you’ve gotten such a great response! As you know, the space only holds 300 people. Here are some options for how we can handle the overage…
- revise the setup – maybe a dinner becomes a reception
- additional space that’s not in use – consider attached foyers, outdoor patios, adjacent meeting rooms
- The Ask: Our budget for this meeting just got cut by 20%. (… and we need to pull off the same event for less)
Say No, Nicely: We’re always happy to work within your budget giving you the biggest “bang” for your buck. Here is the original event plan at 100% budget. Here are a few modifications we can make without compromising the event’s quality…
- reconsider the attendee list (decreases are usually possible)
- refine your menu and/or the audio visual used
All in all, there’s always a way. Event planners are problem solvers, solution providers and troubleshooters. So when “no” isn’t an option for your corporate event client, find opportunities to say “yes” and stay positive. Your reassurances to them will make all the difference!