Secrets to the Perfect CAE from an Industry Insider

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Client events are one of the best ways to build a solid referral program. Not only that, they give you the opportunity to re-engage and put in face time with your existing clients.

There are so many ways to make a good event, but there are a lot of ways to make a great event. As a financial professional, your specialty lies in advising clients, not necessarily hosting and executing a top-notch event for them.

Here are some insider secrets and tips and tricks to consider when planning your events:


Become a repeat client. Using the same event space for all your events can work to your advantage, since you can probably leverage a multi-event discount with the owner or manager of a space you really like or have had success in. When you’re planning your events for the year, make a budget for your quarterly and monthly events and talk with the venue about waiving fees or getting a lower price.

Share menus to save on cost. If there’s another event going on at your venue on the same day, consider menu sharing. This means both parties are taking the burden of the cost by getting a higher quantity of food vs. multiple food items.

Partner with vendors. Build relationships with key vendors and give them repeat business. The better the relationship with your vendors, the better the quality of service you will receive. And the more you work with these vendors, the more they may throw perks your way.

Strong vendor relationships mean it’s easier to barter for reduced pricing, which includes trading price reduction for vendor endorsements, like mentioning the venue or chef’s name on your client invitations and other assets.


It’s all about process. Create a process for each event so that it runs as smoothly as possible. Do your research, and plan ahead of time.

Make sure you have the contact information for the venue’s event coordinator, and consider hiring an MC so you can mingle with the guests and to help your event flow better.

Plan ahead, plan ahead, plan ahead.

You need time to dig in and make sure the event is everything you want it to be. Make sure you’re providing your clients with YOUR vision. When you’re rushed and pressured, you’re just hoping to get it out and done. If you’re not rushed, you can create a quality event.

Anticipate your clients’ needs – know what they’ll need before they need it.

Make sure to consider what feeling you want your clients to have when they experience your events. It should be personal, almost like a family reunion, with no detail left uncovered.

On the day of the event, double-check everything.

For any event, large or small, you or someone from your staff should do a walkthrough of the venue and event beforehand. Do what your guests will be doing so you can identify problem areas. This will give you an opportunity to catch glitches or miscommunications. Make sure you know answers to questions like what time the doors will open and what time food will be served.

And don’t forget to taste the menu! Make sure the food is the quality you want it to be, and find out what time the appetizers will be ready.


You may not be able to catch everything a professional could, but you will be able to experience your event from your guests’ perspective, which will give you the  opportunity to make it better before the event starts.

Create the partnerships with vendors. Don’t be arrogant, don’t be too busy, and don’t boss people around. Form relationships with these people. Make sure to tip sales managers and banquet captains. Take care of these people, because when you do, they will take better care of your guests.

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Stephen Odom, CEO of The Impact Partnership


Chief Executive Officer

Stephen started in the insurance marketing business in 2001 as a new business consultant. In 2002 he was promoted to Director of Sales and built a 200 million book of business from scratch. By 2005, he was one of the top wholesalers in the country, working with some of the top financial advisors and insurance agents across the USA. In 2008, Stephen was promoted to Co-President of one of the largest IMOs in the country.

In 2011, Stephen continued his entrepreneurship path and co-founded The Impact Partnership, an INC 5000 company. Stephen is responsible for the strategic vision of Impact and is laser-focused on creating a culture of growth for both internal teammates and our amazing customers.

Stephen lives in Kennesaw, GA, with his wife of more than 20 years, Kendra. They are blessed with three beautiful children Katie, Tyler, Anna Brooke, and Laya, their German Shepherd and Luna, their BernieDoodle.