When planning an event, it takes a village. High-quality vendors, staff, and entertainment aren’t easy to find. That’s why, when you do find them, you have to hold on tight. How do you build a lasting relationship with your vendors that will lead to a prosperous venture for both of you and entice them to work with you every time? We have four easy ways to build relationships with vendors that could last a lifetime.
How to Build Relationships with Vendors
Promote on Social
Give them credit! Do you have a caterer that never fails to impress? In photos, tag them! Make sure their work gets recognized. Tagging vendors is one of the easiest ways to build a relationship with them. They get greater exposure and benefit from posts showcasing their work. Of course, make sure that they’re on social media and fine with having their name shared. In most cases, this won’t be an issue, but some smaller vendors might have different policies.
Send Thank You Gifts
After each event, you should get in the habit of sending a small thank you note and/or gift to vendors who did an incredible job. It might seem old school, but it can leave a lasting impression. Be sure to personalize the note and gift to that vendor. If your budget is tight, just send a note. When you begin planning holiday gifts or year-end gifts, make sure to add all the vendors you love to the list.
Keep the Lines of Communication Open
So often, the event ends, and we don’t talk to our vendors again until we need them. It’s important to debrief after each event. Going over what they did well and what could be adjusted, as well as how your team could give them better direction, shows them that you want to grow the relationship. Make sure to pose all feedback constructively and don’t blindside anyone. When the event ends, reach out every now and then to let them know what’s coming.
Spread Their Name Around
Word of mouth is the best way for vendors to land new jobs. You trust recommendations from colleagues you respect. If they give you a list of vendors they always use, you’ll be sure to check them out. Spread the word about fantastic vendors. You might think that sharing your top vendors could hurt you in the long run, but if you treat them well they’ll be loyal (as long as you book them with plenty of notice). Send more work their way when you can.
It can take years to build a team of vendors that you trust. It takes the same things any relationship requires: communication, honesty, and loyalty. In the end, it’s worth it. Your list of contacts is invaluable. Cultivating relationships will help you in the long run.
Want more information on building relationships in the office? Read 4 Steps to Compromising with Co-Planners.