Having a business in the events industry can be really fun: you get to work with different people, explore a plethora of ideas, and combine them to create meaningful experiences through the services you provide. However, such collaborative, service-providing contexts can also entail some unavoidable trials and tribulations.

You’ve probably had your fair share of clients and have probably noticed a pattern in the various types of clients you have to work with. Some can spark joy and bring fun to the work you do, while others can make your business feel like a living nightmare.

It’s important to be aware of and prepared for the diversity of clients that might walk through your door. So here are 5 types of clients you should expect while working in the events industry and how to handle them!

  1. The Clueless and Confused

This client could bring a whole lot of great ideas to the table, but have a hard time deciding which to pursue. A lot of times they don’t have a clue about what they want; they may initially agree with a certain idea or plan, but want to take a new direction halfway through or even forget about agreements, leaving everyone involved riddled with confusion.

While dealing with the clueless-ness could be frustrating, it’s important to keep cool and give them a little push by guide them through their thought process.

  • Arrange a meeting and ask them all sorts of questions to find out about their business, their expectations of your service, their goals of hiring your business, ideas that they might already have, and also what you can expect to deal with when working with them.
  • They may not be prepared with all the answers, so keep track of what questions you need the answers for and remind them to send them to you afterwards.
  • Give a brief introduction of your business and what you can do, to make clear what you can offer to them.
  • When proposing ideas, give them a few distinct, concrete choices to choose from
  • Give datelines! Their indecisiveness could cause them to push everything to the last minute, which can affect your ability to deliver. Set safe datelines and let them know why you need it, so they can understand your point of view.
  • Give constant reminders too. Your client’s ignorance is no excuse for you to do the same. Make sure to safeguard yourself by putting in the effort to make this partnership work.
  • Should you find that they’re looking for something you cannot offer, don’t hesitate to point them in the right direction by recommending other vendors that could better suit their needs. Having their interest in mind over yours can generate positive sentiments about your business and they might become a referrer even without having hired your service!

2. The Referee

No, not the one in a sports match. We’re talking about the clients who got recommended your business by previous clients who were satisfied with your service. They could be clueless and confused too (in that case, refer to the aforementioned point), but they most probably have a good impression of you too, having heard positive word-of-mouth from their referrer.

  • Leverage on their positive impression of your business by upholding your commitment and professionalism in your work with them.
  • They may have never worked on with a vendor before too, since they were looking for recommendations. Take time to walk them through the process and manage their expectations.
  • Additionally, you could reach out to the referrer and show your appreciation for their referral.

3. The Chronic Complainer

The Chronic Complainer is the kind of client who will always seem to be perpetually unhappy and have something to complain about. They could nitpick at the slightest details, or have exorbitant demands, making you feel like you’ll never be good enough for them. Sometimes, clients have frowns you can’t ever turn upside down.

Although this might dampen your mood, remember to be professional in handling these clients. Once you’ve identified them and realise they will always complain no matter what you offer in return, you can move forward constructively.

  • You might find some client complaints to be unreasonable or unnecessary, but always remember to listen and understand their point of view first, and try to put yourself in their shoes.
  • Remember to apologise for any inconvenience felt, but also politely stand your ground. You could refer them to your terms and conditions (if applicable), try your best to offer a solution, but ultimately draw a firm line between what you can and cannot offer in your capacity.

4. The Micro-manager

This is the client who wants to have a hand in every part of the process and doesn’t trust your abilities as a vendor. They could frequently contact you to follow up and leave you feeling suffocated.

  • Try to understand their reason for micromanaging. They might be a hands-on kind of person, or may not have done this before and do not have a gauge on how to handle such situations. Communicate with them and let them know about your process to ease their mind and entrust the job to you.
  • One way to build trust is to establish a schedule and stick to it. Let them know your timeline and how long you will take.
  • Update them of your progress frequently, and give them access to your timeline or planning process.

5. That Ideal Client

Last but definitely not the least, you have the clients that come to the table with their own ideas, are open to communication and suggestions, and are trusting and appreciative of your time, skills and knowledge. These clients are ideal because they are easy to transition into loyal clients, and will make you feel like your effort is worthwhile. 

Remember that their journey with you doesn’t end after you have finished the business you were hired for. Maintain a healthy relationship with them and let them know you’re available for hire again.

While these clients may come by once in a blue moon, and you’re more likely to work with less-than-ideal clients, keep in mind that it’s possible to transform the other client types into ideal ones! Always keep your patience and professionalism in handling your clients and they will appreciate you for it.