The importance of building strong relationships with event suppliers
When you’ve been in the industry for over 20 years, you learn again and again the importance of building and maintaining good relationships. This doesn’t just apply to your clients but extends to your suppliers – especially if you plan to offer a reliable service or product that sets you apart from your competition.
So, it’s good to have numbers in your little black book that you know and trust to deliver – and make sure you’re maintaining these relationships so that they always answer when you call. As event planners (and so, in many situations a ‘middleman’), we know that you live and die on the service offering of suppliers, so our approach has always been to build real partnerships with our trusted suppliers, and we’ve found that this benefits us in more ways than we can mention.
Why Is It Necessary?
Running an event without suppliers is close to impossible and very few companies will own themselves every single product and service required for every single event. Not only is it good business sense to network and bring in outside ideas and experiences, but it takes a load off your shoulders as a planner when you have experts to lean on. Running a business or doing your job as a planner efficiently calls for collaborations and, because mistakes are expensive, you can’t afford to isolate yourself from those who can make your event happen with ease. Let’s explore the benefits of building strong relationships with event suppliers.
- Lowered Costs
Cutting costs where you can in event planning is a big YES! In a previous blog, Budget Saving Tips, we suggested that getting good suppliers was one good way to save on costs. Start-ups can be a good bet because they may offer something new and fresh and secondly, their prices should be affordable, and they should be open to negotiation.
Building a good partnership from the get-go can lead to future discounts and maybe even open doors to new business for you. It’s important to remember that while you’re building these relationships, you can maximise savings across different projects by using the same supplier across multiple events. We’ve seen great returns in the form of better deals for clients and opportunities for negotiation, so this can work to your advantage if approached carefully. Just make sure you’re still using the right supplier for the job, and not just because of their price-point.
- Improved Efficiency
One of the biggest benefits of maintaining a strong relationship with your suppliers is that they’ll work so closely with you that they start to know your business and client needs. A supplier that understands you, your way of working, style, timelines, and needs as well as you do. It promises a quicker return on delivery and effective service – which is a dream come true for any event planner. In building strong long-term partnerships, you will find that your supplier will commit to provide the best service every time because they rely on your future business.
We know that things don’t always go as planned, but having a reliable partner gives you the peace of mind that, should things go wrong, they will go out of their way to help in any way they can. We can vouch for this! We once encountered a problem where there had been a small error in our contract with our venue – we believed we had the space until 5 pm (when our conference ended), but suddenly, on the day of the event they told us that we needed to have completed striking by 5 pm – clearly an impossible task when we had a room full of delegates – but despite this honest error, the venue couldn’t budge to accommodate us because they had another event moving in at 5 and going live at 7! The happy ending was as a direct result of our strong relationship with our technical partners. They offered to leave the technical in place for the evening function, making a success of both events and saving the day! So, we’ve learnt to go above and beyond for our partners, because if we ever got into a sticky situation, we know they will go the extra mile for us, too.
Having More Than One Supplier
You may be in a position where your usual supplier who you might have a longstanding relationship with has let you down or cannot supply you with what you are looking for. So, we highly recommend that you build lasting relationships with two or more suppliers. This can really come into play when you’re organising an event out of town. Logistics are costly and time-consuming, so if you have a supplier in various locations, this will be beneficial for you and your budget!
You know how some people say, ‘It’s not what you know, it’s who you know?” Well, it’s the truth. Work hard to nurture that little black book of solid contacts, but also don’t be afraid to get out there and meet new suppliers. Remember to approach your new and longer lasting relationships with suppliers with a partnership mentality, and we guarantee you’ll see your events take on another level of efficiency.