One of the most important skills for a good event planner to have is the ability to build relationships. In order to be truly successful, you can’t just hope for new clients all the time. You need to create repeat business. Building relationships with your clients will help ensure that they use you exclusively for their event planning needs.
Not only do you want your clients to keep coming back, but you want your relationship with your clients to be one where they are likely to recommend you to others in need of an event planner.
Your clients aren’t the only ones you want to build relationships with, however. It is also essential for building your business that you develop relationships with various venues and suppliers.
Building Relationships With Venues
It’s important that you build up relationships with a wide assortment of venues. The types of locations you will want to cultivate relationships with will largely depend upon the type of event planning that you do. However, for nearly all types of event planning, you are likely to get some pretty interesting requests from time to time for a venue you wouldn’t traditionally associate with the event type.
While it is important to create a relationship with a wide variety of venues, you are going to want to focus on a few primary spots that will be the go-to locations you will use whenever possible. By creating these primary partnerships, you can often negotiate deals with the venues. By recommending them to your clients first you can develop partnerships with these venues that grow their business and save you and your clients money.
You can also increase your own business in much the same manner. When people begin searching for a venue before hiring an event planner, if you have a good relationship with the facility, they will likely recommend your services to the potential client.
Building Relationships With Vendors
In much the same way that you build your partnerships with venues, you can build partnerships with vendors. Whether the vendor is a caterer, florist, lighting specialist, etc., building a direct partnership where you are directly increasing their business can put you in a good position to negotiate a discount for their services.
With some vendor types, you will likely have a primary partner for general scenarios but a different go-to partnership for specific situations. For instance, you may have a great caterer who you always hire or recommend to the majority of your clients. However, if your client wants an exclusively vegan menu, you might have a vegan caterer that you go with first. The same goes for a request for a gluten-free menu.
Be sure not to partner with vendors who do not operate responsibly. You need to make sure that any vendors you hire purchase vendor insurance for events. Otherwise, you could find yourself in a tough spot if their actions lead to damage and your event liability insurance does not cover it.
Creating lasting relationships with secondary or tertiary vendors can be a tight rope to walk. The event planning business in any community tends to be a tight-knit community. You don’t want to lie to anyone about them being your first choice when planning an event because the lie will likely be uncovered. Trying to sweet talk a vendor in exchange for a discount can end up coming back to bite you.
Be honest about your situation and let your secondary vendors know that you have a strong relationship with your primary vendor but that whenever your usual vendor is not available, they are your next call. You are unlikely to secure as good of a discount from a secondary vendor, but if you are honest with them, you might be able to make some sort of deal.
When it comes to tertiary vendors or choices lower on your list, you will likely have to face the fact that you will be paying full price for their services. If you are really persuasive, though, you might be able to negotiate something even with one of these vendor options.
Event Planning Is About the People
Event planning is a job for people with exceptional people skills. You can work a role within an event planning business without having much interaction with the public. However, if you are running your own event planning business, it is essential that you have good marketing skills. Relationships are the cornerstone of any successful event planning business.
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