Relationships are important, particularly in the workplace. That is why here at the Worldwide Speakers Group we focus a majority of our attention on building valued relationships with our clients. Our clients are at the center of everything we do, because our success comes from their success. And the best way for WWSG and our clients to be productive, is through building lasting and meaningful partnerships.
We sat down with Shelly Sharer, one of WWSG’s Senior Vice President of Sales, with over 20+ years of experience placing speakers, and asked her about her long-standing partnership with Gartner, Inc. and how she builds lasting relationships with clients.
What are the differences between a first-time client reaching out vs. a long-term partner like Gartner?
Shelly: A first-time client reaching out is my opportunity to gain their trust and make them feel 100% confident that I am the best professional resource in terms of sourcing a keynote speaker. I accomplish this by sharing WWSG’s expert credentials, my seasoned experiences and then reference some of WWSG’s prominent keynote speakers and clients. I invest my time to learn about their organization, their successes and challenges and most importantly the event, digging deep to understand all of the parameters they are facing in order for me to identify the best elite speaker. It’s crucial to develop a rapport during this first contact and make clear the advantages in partnering with WWSG. Remembering that I only get “one chance to make a first impression”
"Gartner is the world’s leading research and advisory company. They equip business leaders with indispensable insights, advice and tools to achieve mission-critical priorities." As such, I must lend them my expert advise when placing mission-critical speakers in their world renown conferences.
As a WWSG long term partner, the approach is a bit different as I’m an established professional resource and I've invested in developing a long term history. Thus, it’s my commitment to add value every time I interface with this client. Things such as; anticipating what they are going to need before they ask for it, advocating on their behalf behind the scenes and constantly pushing the boundaries to tweak best practices based upon their changing needs etc. As their partner and advocate, I’m a part of the team and make it a priority to know all of the members. I accomplish this by staying in close contact, responding immediately, presenting the best roster of speakers to contribute to their success, attend events and organize and host team dinners while onsite to consistently build a rapport.
What does a client like Gartner look for in a speaker?
Shelly: This really depends on the conference itself. At Gartner Conferences, they seek presenters who understand the attendees’ roles and unique challenges. They seek speakers who can energize their thinking and help them transform their mission-critical priorities into business results. I work with each individual Program Manager to understand their needs and then recommend speakers that I believe will best align.
Gartner only wants engaging, timely, fresh and leading edge speakers who expertly deliver relevant knowledge that leaves the audience with tangible takeaways and actionable solutions. It’s extremely important for me to expertly discern the speaking engagement, recommend wisely, and share my input when discussing a speaker selection.
Once the contracts are signed how do you maintain white glove service?
Shelly: White glove service is an absolute MUST. Thus, communication between the client, the events team and the WWSG team is crucial. We work in ‘lock step’ and address any potential issues that we see on the horizon in real time, acting accordingly and with precision to address any and all concerns if they arise. We have timelines, fail safes and checklists in place to assist in organization, keeping everyone informed and in alignment.
How are you involved on the day of the event?
Shelly: I am not involved on the day of the event given that my client has a tremendous amount of details to attend to. It’s our job to make sure they have everything they need in advance of the event date so that we don’t need to be involved on the day of. However, If there are any issues, Gartner has the direct mobile numbers for our team and to the speakers on site and we will work in real time no matter the day or time to help them solve any speaker issues.
How do you follow up with the client after the event in order to continue your longstanding partnership?
Shelly: I follow up with my clients within a few days of the event. I reach out via email to assess how the overall event went and to get feedback on the keynote speaker and WWSG’s performance. Ideally, it’s best to have a ‘live’ conversation with the client; however, many are so busy post event. I always ask for a call to discuss but defer to the client as I don’t want to add more to their ‘plate’ if they would prefer to simply answer my email. The important thing here is always reaching out for feedback as this is another great ‘touch point’ with your client.
Partnerships are incredibly important at the Worldwide Speakers Group and that does not end when the booking process and events are over. With our white-glove consultative support, from concept formation to speaker selection and attainment to logistical/event coordination, WWSG goes the extra mile to deliver full-service support and assistance to all our clients.