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Jeff Kirk of Corporate Magic

Don’t Sabotage Your Chances of Winning an Event Contract

Corporate Magic's Jeff Kirk shares five essential tips to winning an event contract

Jeff KirkThe event industry is more competitive than ever. Companies all over are competing for contracts with large corporations, vying to produce the corporations' annual events.

While you may have the most creative concepts for your prospective client, it may be your overall presentation that ultimately decides your success in securing a contract. As a presenter, you need to know just how to pull it off in order get those contracts. While there are some companies that make mistake after mistake, you don’t have to land in the same pitfalls that they do.

To avoid any snags that would decrease the success of your presentation process, follow these five tips:

1. Stay on topic.

When companies put their corporate events out for bid, they will give you a request for proposal (RFP). It’s important that you actually look over the RFP and stay on topic with what they have outlined.

They provide the document for a reason, and aren’t looking for your “better” ideas for their proposal. Failing to showcase all aspects of their RFP could really put you out of the running for the job.

2. Stay on budget.

It’s not your job to “improve” the company’s budget. In fact, they have probably already had their Procurement Division look at the RFP to make sure it’s all in line with what is in their budget. You need to respect the amount of money they have to work with.

If you truly think there is a way to improve the budget, the time is not during the presentation process. Once the contract is given to you, that is when you can speak to them about the changes you would make. The most important part, however, is helping them to realize right up front that you are there to make their lives easier, not more difficult.

3. Keep it simple.

Never feel as though you have to include every idea that you have ever had in your presentation. Often times, someone will include them all so that the company can have their pick from the very best ones. What this overcompensation often does, however, is overwhelm a potential client.

You don’t need to provide them with the most ideas. You do need to provide them with the best.

At most, two or three ideas are enough. When deciding on the ideas you wish to use, weed out the ones that do not follow the RFP or that are not solid enough to stand alone.

4. Keep it short.

The company that you are providing a presentation to has a busy schedule. They do not want to work with someone who goes over the amount of time they have set apart.

Keeping your presentation short does not necessarily mean that you go way under time, either. It’s important that you respect the time frame they have given you. They have to move on when time is up, so they need you to be done, but they also want enough time to hear your ideas.

They get to decide how much time you take. You get to decide how you use that time.

5. Let them talk.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to avoid any snags during your presentation is to open it up to questions.

Oftentimes, the presentation, products, or services are not what sell. Conversation is so important. The company you are presenting to needs to know that you value their opinions and their questions, and that you have the knowledge to inform them completely.

Sometimes a meaningful discussion makes all the difference between securing the contract and not. By allowing your audience time for this conversation, they will have more of an understanding of what you are trying to portray, sell, or inform them on. This creates the emotional connection and personal relationship that is essential to business.

Pulling off a presentation without any snags doesn’t have to be as difficult as it may sound. Whether you are looking to improve a presentation that you have given many times before or this is the first you’ve ever done, follow these five tips, and you’ll be on the road to securing that contract!

Jeff Kirk serves as chief operating officer for Corporate Magic Inc., a Dallas-based event production and message development company specializing in one-of-a-kind projects. Known as an innovative marketing strategist with a keen understanding of the role digital content and technology can play in building brand preference, Jeff brings nearly two decades of experience to his leadership role at Corporate Magic. In addition to managing the company’s day-to-day operations, Jeff is in the process of forming strategic alliances and recently spearheaded Corporate Magic’s entry into global markets.

In mid-2015, the Dallas-based company will be producing the Salvation Army's 150th International Congress at London's O2 Arena. Over his nearly 20 year career, his clients have included IBM, Accor, Aflac, Suzuki, JCPenney, Jaguar, Mazda, Land Rover/Range Rover, M&M Mars, Prudential Real Estate, Berkshire Hathaway, Chevrolet, Coca-Cola, Club Corp, Ford New Holland, Dallas Cowboys, GSD&M, Boy Scouts of America, Xango, YMCA, Sherwin-Williams, Uncle Ben's, Southland Corporation, George W. Bush Foundation, Rite Aid, Salvation Army, Ramada, Quaker State, Pizza Hut, Proctor & Gamble, Nike, NCR, Kraft, Kawasaki, Bayer, Campbell's Soup, Coors, Wendy's, FTD, Tournament of Roses and Republican National Convention Host Committee (Tampa 2012).

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