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Why Do We Have a Client Appreciation Event?

Hi there! Before getting into this week’s content, I wanted to first thank you. We have been so encouraged by your support, cheerleading, and participation in our Small Business MBA fall semester launch last week. For the past month, each week our internal calls have ended with sentiments from around the table that go something like, “We have a lot of work to do right now… But it’s going pretty well! Our team collaboration is up-leveling our quality, and we can feel the wave of energy flowing into our small business universe.”

So all that to say, THANK YOU for your participating, supporting, and helping us keep the energy to do and be better for all of our MBA students and Advisory Practice clients. Which leads me to… why we have a Client Appreciation Event (CAE) for our Advisory Practice Clients.

The origin of CAE is this: our business model is built on client intimacy. (My opinion is that this should be the model most small businesses operate on, but that’s for another day). And to give you a peek behind the scenes, I actually wanted to share a few excerpts from an old business plan. A few times a year, I revisit my old plans and annual strategies to see what’s gone according to plan and what hasn’t. One thing I am proud of is that client delight has been at the our plan’s core from day 1. Here’s an excerpt from 2020:

Then, the success criteria section goes on to say:

I have to admit: it scares me a bit to be this transparent because I’d never want it taken out of context. We abide by our value of integrity, meaning our intention is to be authentically generous. And we trust that when we do the right, abundant thing, favorable business actions will follow.

So our Client Appreciation Event is another piece of our client delight jigsaw puzzle. Um, and… I use any excuse for a party and good food. So there’s that.

But over the years, I’ve learned there are 3 other important reasons for our CAE:

Clients shared this feedback after our 2018 event: “Thanks, that was fun! But next time could you share some coaching or education so that we can learn?”

I was totally. stunned.

We’re building a team with an intentionally diverse array of skills, personality, and strengths (strategy superpowers as we like to call them). So while a client works primarily with one Strategist, internally, our team meets twice per week for peer review. We share best practices (and mistakes), present client examples, and help each other for better client performance.

I had a funny moment last weekend when my husband Dave read something on our site and blurted out, “Is that Erin’s thing? You don’t know how to do that.” Leave it to Dave Sellers to always keep my ego in check.

One of the things that people have frequently said to me this year is: “Your roster of clients is just unbelievable.” Or “That’s what put me over the edge in joining: if they’re doing this, I should be doing it too.” This is the most meaningful compliment you could give me, and really, “I can’t believe it myself sometimes.”

Part of our delight process is intentionally connecting clients who can help each other in business referrals, strategic relationships, or complementary strengths. This year, our CAE will do this on steroids both via workshop time & brain buddy exercises. I’m so excited.

And look: we’ll have snafus. Not everything will go according to plan (it already hasn’t), and we’ll walk away with a list of things to work on for next year. But when it comes down to client appreciation, I always boil it down to one simple question: “What things do I wish my service providers did for me? What would make me feel appreciated? Delighted? Wowed? “ We don’t always get it right. And we’ll never get it all perfectly right. But ultimately, our philosophy on client delight comes down to these words from Oprah Winfrey:

We hope that our client appreciation event is one more way to emphatically answer this question with a yes.

*PS- If you’re wondering how we’re tracking to this goal (I was, after I revisited it for this post), we’re at 54.5% in 2022. So all that to once again say: THANK YOU to our incredible and generous clients.

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