Best Practices - account management, community outreach, events

The past 9-10 years, I've been working in client relations / account management, community outreach, and events. There have been many mistakes, of course - and I swear I remember all of them - but there have also been many numerous successes. To boil down a few key points:

Client / Account Management
* A client is, first and foremost, a person. You cannot achieve client loyalty on a purely vendor / product basis. You must dig deep to unearth what it is their need.

* Organization is key. You must be able to submit a complete, professional bid that also keeps an open door for flexibility to meet the client's specific needs and desires.

Community Outreach
* No one is an island. You must collaborate, develop evangelists. This takes time - sure, you could do things more quickly, but if you take a journey with participants, the relationship will be exponentially stronger.

* In seeking collaborators, don't fall for titles - look for those who have the ear of their community, those who are influencers.

Events
* Organization is absolutely critical - you must have thought of every detail and have a contingent plan for every possibility.
* There is a psychology of attendees: if they feel that you and your team are organized, they will relax and enjoy. But, if they sense that you aren't prepared, they will feel the need to protect their interests. So as an example: the earlier you can have the setup completed, the better.

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