Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Establishing Good Vendor Relations

Having a solid relationship with your vendors can make you more efficient as an event planner. Imagine not having to take the time to choose floral arrangements because your floral designer is always spot on in her creations. Picture a relationship with your caterer in which you can choose a menu without scheduling a tasting because his cuisine is always magnificent. Developing your vendor relations will save you stress and time, both of which you can save for planning more events.

The Vendor Cast of Characters

Your vendor list will vary depending on your field of event planning that you specialize in. When shopping for a vendor, ask your colleagues and other event planners for their recommendations. You can also ask the company for referrals from other clients in the industry. Be sure to fully vet and qualify your prospective vendor before you decide to hire them. As with event planners, vendors rely heavily on their reputations to be successful. The following vendors are staples to have within you arsenal when you begin your career and as you continue in your career.

  • Caterer
  • Florist (Floral Designer)
  • Baker (Specialty & Custom Designs)
  • Purveyors (companies selling produce, seafood, meat products, and beverages)
  • Wine and beer companies
  • Liquor distributors
  • Labor companies (electricians, general contractors, carpenters, and painters)
  • Photographers
  • Videographer
  • Graphic & Web Designer
  • Specialty stationery designer and/or printing company

 Creating Goodwill among Your Vendors

Your goal is to develop a healthy and profitable relationship with a vendor; you have to make a conscious effort to show your appreciation. Below are some suggestions that you can use to create goodwill and cultivate your vendor relationships.

  • Offer a beverage to your delivery people. Keep coffee, sodas, and bottled water on hand for company drivers. They do not always get to stop and grab something; they get thirsty to.
  • Provide vendor meals. Remember your staff is not the only people working to set up an event;  but there are always several vendors who may be working to set up an event. This simple act encourages staff relationships and builds a sense of community.
  • Have a volunteer day. Choose a charity and get your company, vendors, and staff involved.
  • Invite vendors to events. When it is appropriate, put your vendors on the guest list of an event your company is hosting.
  • Offer your services. If your wine representative is planning his wife's 50th birthday party, offer to plan it at no charge.
  • Extend an invitation to company parties. Holiday staff parties are a great way to integrate vendors into your company.
  • Don't forget the special touches. Event planners often receive perks such as concert tickets from clients, so remember your vendors if you cannot use the tickets yourself.
Vendors represent your business to customers in various regions nationally and internationally. Therefore, it is important and critical that you maintain a good relationship with them. More than that, a good vendor relationship will see you through in a bad situation. The goodwill the vendor has for you will translate to business growth, as the vendor will work hard to attain your business goals.

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