Magazine article Black Enterprise

Elegant Execution: From Start to Finish, the Baker Group Specializes in Total-Event Production

Magazine article Black Enterprise

Elegant Execution: From Start to Finish, the Baker Group Specializes in Total-Event Production

Article excerpt

Some business owners shudder at the thought of cold calling. The idea of telephoning total strangers to persuade them to set up a meeting can be terrifying, but Tammy Dickerson thrives on that pressure. When the owner of The Baker Group, a boutique events management firm, followed up on a lead, her unsolicited contact led to a face-to-face appointment with an organization that became one of her biggest clients.

Last year, the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank founded by philanthropist Michael Milken, was searching for an events manager that would service its 8th annual Global Conference. Dickerson decided to make the call to arrange a meeting.

"Based on the caliber of the client, I knew that I had only a few minutes to 'win' their attention on the call and get them to agree to talk with me about the opportunity," says Dickerson. During the conversation, Dickerson piqued the interest of the Milken Institute contact by pointing out her familiarity with the conference's venue and her strong relationship with key managers at the hotel where the conference was being held.

Knowing that her potential client was under pressure to find an event planner quickly, Dickerson used the remaining 20 minutes of her call to point out The Baker Group's experience in serving the needs of other clients who had a very short window to plan a major event. The contact invited Dickerson to come to his office for an interview.

Dickerson knew this presentation would be critical to her business, and being prepared was essential to the success of her firm's pitch. She pulled together members of her team and event consultants who worked with her agency on major projects similar to the Milken Institute conference.

"Our team developed a list of potential interview questions; we agreed on how we would answer; what role each team member would play in the interview; and, most importantly, how we would close the deal," explains Dickerson. …

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