Susan Tanner, CEO, NOEA, advocates relationship building, but with shared values in mind

2019 may bring many things to your business, but no matter how free you are as an event organiser, no matter how much sustained or long-term success you have been enjoying, the ideal of business growth or sales, will be one objective for the year ahead.

As we get stuck into another turbulent year for Britain, the economy and the UK events industry, the idea of hitting a budget, pleasing existing customers, and growing new ones, will be on the agenda for many NOEA members. Now, within NOEA we don’t do a huge amount on sales training, we tend to focus on things more operationally important to members, however that is not to say we don’t know anything about growing a business, and the power of relationships and values is key.

This idea of relationships is one that sits at the heart of our organisation and has become one of the principle reasons people get involved with NOEA. Within our membership, we like to think there is every kind of event, but also every kind of event support business. In fact, we know that one could organise every aspect of an event, just by working within NOEA circles, and the buyer would be confident that these companies and individuals have been vetted to ensure absolute quality.

The reason we know a little about sales is that we see this working every single day, and in many occasions, we facilitate this business being done. We don’t subscribe to the impression some organisations give; that event and production companies don’t want to meet new products or services. They do, they just don’t want to bombarded. But they want to meet people that can add value.

This is where NOEA knows its place. We create forums, both virtual and in person, where the right business can meet the right business. We’re constantly being asked by our members if they can recommend good staging, lighting, infrastructure companies, ticketing and all manor of other things. We get a huge amount of pleasure in introducing them to the right people.

It isn’t always direct business where this networking happens, it could be a search for a mentor, advice, education, or the chance to speak to someone who has ‘done it all before’. Sometimes these conversations do lead to business, but they always lead to value on both sides.

So why does it work so much better under the banner of NOEA? Well, it’s not just because these companies are vetted, it’s also about two really important things; values and relationships. No one in the events industry needs to be told the power of relationships, and if these can be built through a shared experience, be it our annual convention, our meet ups at exhibitions and shows, or through the education we do, then they are built within a softer and fairer environment.

Values are also important, and this is where a room full of NOEA people really add value. The reality is no one joins an industry association unless they care about the industry they are operating in. Most don’t even join for new business, but relationships, learning and the chance to meet kindred spirits. The idea of joining an industry association is a commitment to that industry’s long-term strength, and our members give their time willingly to this end.

NOEA has another busy year ahead, and we’ll be once again looking to represent the best of the events industry, to be its voice, and look to add value to it. We look forward to seeing all of our members over the next few weeks, not least at the Event Production Show, and to see them flourish throughout 2019.

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