A client appreciation party is one of the best ways to retain your clients. However, throwing one of these parties often feels like more stress than it is worth. You most probably do not even know where to start with planning the party, let alone knowing what food and drinks to serve to your clients.
One of the best ways to impress clients at a party is to serve a diverse array of dessert products, such as Bar One cupcakes, fruity cheesecakes and Peppermint Crisp dessert toppings for different ice cream flavours. Still not sure where and how to start? Read on below for some top tips on how to throw the perfect client party.
Treat it like a real party
The issue that many companies run into when planning a client event is that they are not sure how to walk the line between “fun party” and “corporate event.” One way to remedy this is to treat your client party like a real party, which means doing everything you would do for a real party under normal circumstances.
Send out invitations (virtual ones are easier if you are inviting more than one client) and spend time thinking carefully about the food, drink, music and entertainment. An effective tip to remember is to base the party around your industry. For example, if you are a marketing agency, use dessert products from one of your clients as catering or give out goodie bags filled with newspapers, magazines or treats relating to your industry.
Be big on brand consistency
Brand consistency is vital, which means that you need to keep context in mind when planning your client party. If you are a highly corporate financial services firm, then a barbecue in a park is not going to cut it with your clients. And if you are a fitness instructor or own a gym, a calorie-laden cheese fondue will only be seen as ironic.
You will need to plan your party according to your brand and be sure to include your branding at the party venue. For example, a PR firm could create invitations that look like press releases and use newspaper pages as part of their table decorations. Formal affairs are best for more corporate companies, but be sure not to make the party too casual in case your clients feel uncomfortable and unappreciated.
Don’t skimp on entertainment
One of the most important aspects of a client party is to entertain your clients. Rather than having them sit idly around after their meal with nothing to do, create an interactive, self-serving dessert bar with a variety of dessert products or have a hot chocolate station if the event is during Winter.
You could think completely out of the box and have a trampoline photo station or a cooking class set up where clients can eat their creations afterwards. Again, be sure to keep the party in line with your brand and do not choose entertainment that could be offensive to others. Ensure that the music is tasteful and played at the right volume and if you have a live band, go through their playlist first so you can see exactly the sort of songs that will be playing at your event.
Plan your food and beverages carefully
Before you even look for a caterer, you will need to ask your clients for a list of all food allergies and restrictions that their employees have. Once you know all of this, you can work together with your caterers to create the perfect party menu.
For example, a Hollywood-glamour themed party for corporate clients might include caviar, champagne and delicate desserts, whereas a more casual affair might include a build-your-own burger stand or a buffet station. You will need to ensure that all food can be eaten by everyone who is invited, so be sure to include gluten-free, low-carb and vegetarian options in your menu. Also, ask if there are any people who would prefer an alcohol-free bar option as part of the event.
It’s not a sales event
One major issue that many clients have when attending a client party is that the company hosting it tries to sell them products and services. A client appreciation party is all about thanking your clients for their patronage and for making your business grow, never about selling them another service or product.
You will need to encourage your employees not to talk business with your clients at the party and if a guest does bring up a sales topic, rather ask them to schedule a meeting at a later date. By avoiding sales pitches and business talk, your event will feel more fun and light-hearted. Your guests will also not feel pressured into buying a product or using a service, which could lose you clients, rather than retain them.