Businesses exist because of clients. One of the best ways to keep clients coming back to your brand is to connect with them. Doing this means that you get to provide them with a service that they will appreciate especially if it addresses their pain points directly.
Previously, we spoke with Kanayochukwu Okeke on how he infuses teamwork into his business and handles the discomfort that comes with being an entrepreneur as well as working a 9-5 simultaneously. This week, our entrepreneurial spotlight is on Emmanuel Okafor because of his ability to connect with his clients as a Master of Ceremonies.
Work role: Actor.
Current Laptop: HP.
Current Phone: Infinix.
First thing you do every morning: Pray.
Fav cloth to wear: Suits.
Owanbe choice: Kaftan.
What language do you speak when you’re angry: This depends on what or who I’m angry at, but it’s usually English even though I no dey talk too much if I dey vex.
It was 2018 when entertaining people became more important for Emmanuel Okafor. He started his entertainment business, E_Classic Entertainment, and started planning and coordinating talk shows and concerts. He is a Talk Show Host and Master of Ceremonies (MC).
Currently 28 years old, Okafor is a graduate of Business Management. We explored how he gets customers to trust him with their events as well as the mistakes he made when starting out. Here is the conversation that ensued.
What inspired you to start the E_Classic brand?
Over time, I’ve been to and watched events online and I’ve seen that so many things weren’t right. My reason for going into entertainment was to set some things rights in the aspect of organizing, planning, and getting support.
I started the brand with a friend but he left along the line and now I manage the business alone. Initially, I started E_Classic Entertainment started as an MC alone, it wasn’t fully a brand but a business. Along the line, I looked at it and thought that we need to push and open the brand to bigger markets. Thus, we dived into other things like planning certain types of events, talk show hosting and now, we are looking to go into public relations for brands.
But, my main inspiration for starting the brand stemmed from wanting to change things in the industry. I saw the potential the Nigerian entertainment industry has and decided to tap into it.
Nice! There’s always something that can be done better in any industry. So, how do you get your customers to trust you with their events?
Most of my jobs have been gotten by referrals. I usually just receive a call from someone informing me that they got my number from another person for their events. They tell me what they want, I ask questions about the event and we move on from there.
Because this happens a lot, I don’t have to work too hard to gain their patronage. Since someone they know trusts me and recommended my services to them, they also automatically trust me. This has helped a great deal with my work. When I get these referrals, I put my best into making their event a success so that they can, in turn, refer me to others.
When I get referrals, I put my best into making their event a success so that they can, in turn, refer me to others.
Another way I gain trust is by answering the questions my clients ask me correctly and politely. Once I answer their questions well, it puts their hearts at ease to know that I know what I am doing. Also, when they see that I deliver on what I said I will deliver on, they have the confidence to refer me to others.
I am, however, careful with the way I give information out to clients. Sometimes, they call and ask questions about certain aspects of their events, I answer them but then never hear from them again. I sometimes later find out that they just wanted to get ideas off me. So, now, I answer a few questions but I steer the conversation away from my strategy.
Essentially, I get my clients to trust me by delivering on my word and answering correctly the questions they ask me. It goes a long way in satisfying them.
How do you prepare for an event?
My preparation depends on the type of event that it is. The first time I was going to anchor a wedding in 2018, I was very nervous. Since I started with small talk shows and events, it was unfamiliar territory for me.
Firstly, I do my research. I start with the owners of the event and I ask a few questions about the event to know how many people they are expecting and who the people are. I do my research based on this information. This is important because, at the end of the day, the event is in the hands of the MC as he determines whether it will go well or not.
I also ask colleagues for advice if it is an event that I am doing for the first time. YouTube has been one of my biggest teachers because I watch loads of videos on it to learn how people host different types of events.
As a result of the efforts I put in, I usually get great feedback from my customers on the events that I MC.
How have you been able to consistently connect with your audience at the events you MC?
There’s a part of the Bible that says; “A man who has friends must show himself friendly”. That’s the rule I play by. I am the life of the party and everyone follows what I say. This means that I have to be respectful, cheerful, and drop jokes here and there. My job is to keep them lively, therefore, I go around, tease people and give them compliments.
In doing all these, I ensure that my audience is with me. My voice has to be loud enough so that they understand what I am saying. I also don’t go to a Yoruba event and speak Igbo, I have to drop some Yoruba here and there to appeal to the audience.
I strive to pronounce names well. I remember at one event, I thought I was calling the chairman well but he corrected me and asked that I add ‘doctor’ and ‘engineer’ to his name. The little things I do as an MC matter at an event.
Please tell us about a time when you found it difficult to connect with your audience. How did you handle it?
Sometimes, people call you to collaborate with them maybe because it is their first job or something like that. The first time I found it difficult to connect with my audience was at a wedding. It wasn’t my event, but the MC called me to co-host with him. It turned out to be a Muslim audience.
There was no “Praise The Lord” to get attention and most of the people in the audience were Yoruba speaking. My co-MC doesn’t speak Yoruba and I’m an Igbo boy, although, my Yoruba is quite fluent. It was very difficult to connect with the crowd.
To handle it, I realised that I wasn’t communicating with the audience so I switched. I moved from English to pidgin and that way I was able to connect more with them. I also used a lot of Yoruba slang to get their attention. The event turned out fine and the couple was very appreciative of my efforts.
Learning how to connect with your audience is a must for every entrepreneur no matter the industry you are in. As a fashion entrepreneur, you must strive to always be transparent and deliver to your clients what they ordered to gain their trust and get referrals from them. Also, always ask questions and do your research in dealing with your clients so you know what pleases them.