Eight ways to get on a wedding venues preferred supplier list
On average I receive anywhere between 10-20 requests from wedding service providers to promote their services or products. Most come through in a similar fashion and manner. and almost all miss the vital point. They all approach from their perspective and all fail to demonstrate the value they have to offer to us as a venue. Why would I as a venue refer you? Why would i want to open a flow of referrals to you?
As a venue that hosts over 450 Weddings and Corporate events annually, time is valuable, and requesting a meeting to tell us how wonderful you are, unfortunately is just not going to happen. You can not pay to get on our list. We only want to refer high quality suppliers.
Our events office recently got an email which read as follows:
From: Gmail [mailto:XXXXXX@gmail.com]
Sent: Thursday, 19 May 2016 2:36 PM
Subject: Event enquiry
I have an event enquiry to discuss.
Could you please give me a call to assist.
The call was promptly returned and it turned out that John was trying to introduce himself to the hotel and offer his wonderful MC services and wanted to get on our referral list. Our events team were not impressed. This approach lacks transparency and the call was politely terminated.
This got me thinking and upon reflection of the currently suppliers that we do refer, here are some of the reasons that got them on the list.
1. Your products or service are exceptional
All venues want to link with quality, so before you even contemplate approaching a venue, take a step back and make an honest assessment of your product or service, Determine if you are “On Brand” with the venue. Over time I get presented with many products to assess. Occasionally a product or service comes along that is so outstanding , you get on the list.
2. You’re a warm, professional and friendly person with great energy
We are a venue that is open 7 days a week, 24 hours a day 365 days a year. There are times when our stress levels can vary and our energy can waiver. Therefore we need to work with suppliers, who spark us up, and help restore our energy. There is a particular celebrant, who when ever she arrives is a like a ray of sunshine and it radiates around the hotel. Guess what ? She is on the list
3. You respect and understand how the venue operates
In peak season we are hosting 8-12 Weddings a weekend, we are operating at full capacity so it is important suppliers understand this. If you are providing items you are expected to collect them at the end of the event, or at least communicate with us as to what options are available. We operate 24/7 and we expect our vendors to as well.
You respect your client and our guests by not parking in our main driveway to bump in or out, therefore blocking Bridal party and guests arrival.
If you are a six piece band, you may want to carpool rather than turning up with six cars and taking up valuable car spaces designed for guests
You bring all items required to perform your tasks or service. It amazes me how many suppliers request trolleys, ladders, and expect us to run around providing vital tools of YOUR trade.
4. You got our attention in a good way
In an industry with a vast array of suppliers with various levels of expertise, the true professionals are few and far between, so the good news is its not that difficult to stand out. , We do not exclude any suppliers from providing products or services to our brides and grooms. Therefore we see many people from all different companies every week. Take note we are observing and assessing you and your product, A company who is onsite servicing our clients well always has a chance to get on the list.
You can also provide a value add that is easily manageable ie a special offer exclusive to our clients
5. You provide content
In this age of Social Media, Facebook, Instagram etc, if you are a photographer, videographer, florist or cake maker, if you provide content to us of your work at our venue, you are looked at in a much more positive light. In 2005 a wonderful photographer who had just arrived in Melbourne from overseas. asked for an appointment to present us with a gift. He presented us with a magnificent 1 metre x 75cm, photo of a bride and groom on Brighton beach. That Photo is still in our Events office today. Guess what? he got on the list
6 You are patient
Our list has been developed over many years of long term relationships, Too many suppliers approach us and expect that everything just happens there and then. We need to develop a rapport and trust YOU. You are going on a referral list to OUR Clients, we need to be confident you meet expectations and don’t tarnish our brand.
7. Become a genuine venue advocate
Referrals can go both ways, Support a venue on social media, comment and share content on Facebook, Instagram. As a supplier to a venue, you effectively become an extension to their sales and marketing team, trust me, venues notice.The more venues you develop relationships with the more exposure you get.
8. Once you get on the list, – treat it like gold.
In the industry most of us are hard working, well meaning souls but the nature of business means occasionally things may not go as planned, I understand this, however Integrity is the key, act improperly, or dishonestly to the detriment of our clients or venue and you are off the list.
Once you get on the list you have opened a potential long term relationship and revenue stream, there is no cost to get on our list, but over time some suppliers become complacent and a sense on entitlement develops. It is way quicker to get taken off the list than to get on it, So a token of appreciation, at Christmas or Easter or even a random gesture is a great way to maintain and display you value the referrals.
*Names Changed to protect the innocent or guilty 😉