Treat Your Event Vendors As Your Partners!
When you are organizing an event on your own, unless you are hiring an event planner, you will be dealing with at least 5 or more vendors per event. Sometimes it can be as many as 10 to 20 of them! It is therefore important to have good relationships with all of them. They can do wonders for you!
No event is an island
In any event, you may have to deal with the venue representatives, caterers, audio visual suppliers, photographers, videographers, and many more depending on the complexity of your event. When you treat your vendors like your friend, they will be that – a friend. And as a friend, more often than not, they will give you more than you ask for, take care of your event needs and give you an overall good experience working with them.
Take for example, your audio visual and sound systems supplier. He sets up the cables, puts the speakers and projector systems up for you, make sure the wiring is done and everything is working. Depending on the contract, he will leave after setting it all up. You on the other hand, if you have limited budget and resources may not have the money to pay for his time to be on “standby” – although you desperately need him too.
If your vendor is your friend…
If he is your friend and seeing that you need help, he will not hesitate to help you out. Even staying throughout the event to ensure that there are no technical glitches. And even if there was, he will be there to lend his technical support and expertise. It is little things like this that will ensure your event to run smoothly with little or no glitches. Furthermore, depending on your event needs, you may have to run a pre-event rehearsals to ensure that everyone knows what to do – most vendors will charge for this. But not if you explain the situation and the vendor is your friend.
Build a relationship with them
Teat your vendors as partners. Build a relationship with them. Especially the good ones! Having said that, you must not take advantage of their “kindness” so to speak – you do not need to drive sharp bargains to get things done. If you are really in a tight situation, explain to them the real situation. If however you are able to afford most things, then don’t lie and said that you can’t. Know when it is reasonable to request for more.
3-Quotes Requirements – What not to do
Vendors hate to be treated like they are fulfilling your 3-quotes requirements. It wastes everyone’s time and it is not productive at all. If you have not decided on your vendors, then by all means go ahead and get the three quotations. But once you have decided, it is not fair to get other vendors to pitch in just for you to fulfil your 3-quotes requirements. So always watch out for this as you will develop a reputation in the industry and no one
wants to work with you.
Differentiate the good from the bad
Learn also to differentiate those that just want to “make a quick buck!” If you are not careful, you may have one or two of this kind to deal with. Especially when you are not paying them much. Look at the way they handle your calls (no matter how frequent), listen to their comments when you ask for an opinion and observe how fast they respond to your requests. Vendors that don’t bother to answer your calls and not return your calls without any good reasons are not the ones that you want to build relationships with. And those that they didn’t show up when they said they would without calling back, warrant reasons to worry because on the event day itself – he or she may not show up and that’s bad news!
Rewarding your vendors
As with all things, it goes both ways, if your vendor goes beyond his call of duty to help you then would good to reward him or her also. Pass him/her a business referral or two, give him/her a letter of commendation (if he/she deserves it). Be a good paymaster and pay him/her on time. Your vendor may not mind getting paid less if the payment is prompt and you treat him/her kindly. So even if you may not have big budgets to play with. You can still go a long way if you treat them as partners.
©2009 Maya Kuchit-Desjarlais, Convention Links (S) Pte Ltd
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