You’ve probably reached out to a ton of different vendors as you plan your child’s Bar or Bat Mitzvah. Before you sign on the dotted line, you’re considered a “prospect” or a “prospective client” by your potential vendors. At this point in the process, it’s important for you both to make a good impression on each other. After all, you want someone who is going to provide the service that you want for you event and your potential vendor wants a client who will be fun and easy to work with. This early communication sets the stage for your relationship with each vendor, so make sure you follow these 5 ways to be an awesome prospect and you’ll end up with a great vendor team.
1. Know what you want
If both of your expectations are mismatched from the start, no one is going to be happy. Make sure you know what you want the end result to be from each vendor PRIOR to being in contact with them. Certainly this depends on the vendor, but you’ll want to make sure expectations for length of service (how long they will be DJing, running a photobooth, serving dinner…), what is included in the price and when you’ll get the items promised (photos within 2 weeks, a USB drive of all of the photos from the photobooth the night of the event…) are in line.
2. Make sure your styles jive
Many vendors can handle different styles, but some specialize in doing things a certain way. If a DJ company is known for their club-style, don’t reach out them if you know you want something more low key. If a photographer specializes in documentary-style coverage, don’t reach out to them if you know you want a lot of posed photos. Do as much research as you can ahead of time so you don’t waste both of your time. Remember, just because a friend liked a vendor, doesn’t mean they’ll be a great fit for you. Make sure you know what you’re getting!
3. Get back to your vendors in a timely manner
We all know that life can get busy, but your potential vendors want to know if you want to work with them. Rather than “ghosting” away, a solid yes or no answer is appreciated. It’s always so tough to follow up with clients, never to hear back. Vendors understand that not every vendor is a match for every client and it’s helpful for us to have that final closure. You’re not being “mean” or “rude.” In fact, I find it ruder to never reply to follow up communication at all!
4. Be respectful of their process/time
Every vendor has a slightly different way of doing things. Do they require an intake form? Do they only do meetings over the phone or skype? The vendor has experience doing things a certain way for a reason and it’s helpful for you to follow that process. It allows for the most efficient use of everyone’s limited time.
5. Be prompt
Once you decide you want to work with a vendor, get the deposit and contract back to them right away. It’s not a done deal until both of those items are in hand and depending on your vendor’s policies, they could still book another client until they have those items. You’ve gone through all of the research and trouble, so make sure you both close the deal!