Hiring an event planner might seem to be quite a tricky job. The choice of your event planner determines the success of your event and your satisfaction level. You will firstly need to select a list of all the event planners that might be of interest. However, after making your choice, the necessity to negotiate with them will be born. In this article, we will show you how to hire the best event planners and recommend five ways of negotiating with them as listed below:
1. Know what you want
The initial part of finding your event planner consists of setting your objectives about the event. These objectives can be related to the budget, the venue, the participants, the theme of the event, the decoration, the sound system etc. Once the objectives have been clearly set, then you should make a list of possible event planners that could be of interest. Make a list with all the event planners that you might have heard of, or that seem interesting to work with. To find an event planner in your town there are several ways.
You could start by joining a local group or association for event planners. However, don’t forget that google is your friend. You can get a whole list of event planners located near you, but also receive reviews for each of them in “Google my business” section. After the elaboration of this first step, you need to check out in your list of event planners which one has the potential to fulfill your expectations.
Remember this: Reputation rarely lies. The question arises: “How can we judge the potential of an event planner?”. In order to get the right answers to this question, you will need to have a look at the company’s experience. How many events do they organize annually? Don’t forget to personally audit their rankings and their social media interaction as well. In the digital era in which we are living, companies have no choice but to be transparent about the level of professionalism in the services they offer. Don’t be shy to ask them about extra information which might not be evident on their website.
Furthermore, the element which will determine your success will be the process of question asking. You need to examine your needs. In which aspects do you need the help of an event planner the most? Is it logistics planning? The adapting of the decoration to the theme of the event? The contact with the caterers? If you ask the right questions, you will get the right answers. Afterall, it’s your event, you should aim for the best out there. Never settle for less.
2. Conduct your research
According to Investopedia, negotiation is a strategic discussion that resolves an issue in a way that both parties find acceptable. Thus, when discussing with your event planner your purpose should be to achieve a win-win situation. Before entering a negotiation with your event planner, it would be a smart move from your part to collect all the needed information about them such as: “How do they normally negotiate with other clients? “What’s the budget and services they normally provide?” The optimal situation for you would be to get in touch with other clients that have dealt with your event planner previously for knowing how they managed to negotiate with them.
However, don’t underestimate the fact that negotiating is a skill. Select carefully the person that is going to represent your ideas and requirements during the negotiating process. A reasonable, emotionally neutral, diplomatic person will be required for this stage. During the negotiation phase, listening skills, reading and analyzing skills are required. Don’t forget that everything will be on paper. So, learn how to read between the lines. Understand thoroughly the contract that is put in front of you in order to ask decent questions and get the desired results. The legal part of the contract should not be underestimated. Consult it with someone who is specialized in the legal field. Have you read and understood the common terms? Did you set up a time to go over the contract with the other party? Do you know how to recognize a bad contract? If the answer is yes, you can go for it. Otherwise, make sure to go back and concentrate on the legal part of the contract.
Let’s talk numbers: never set a price range to your event planner. For example, don’t say to your event planner that you are willing to pay a price between 1000 and 5000 euros. The event planner will aim to set a deal with you for 5000 euros. Don’t provide estimations when you’re not sure about the information. Ballpark figures are your enemies! So, how do you react in these types of situations? Just say that you are not sure about the price range that you are willing to pay until you have all the information that you need from your event planner.
3.Propose a trade off
Unsurprisingly, you might find yourself in a disadvantageous situation regarding the prices that your event planner proposes to you. Don’t lose hope… just ask for a trade-off. For every requirement that is denied from the other party, ask to be compensated elsewhere. For example, if the event planner gives you a high price for the caterers, negotiate for a lower price for the sound system. It is always recommended to find a balance during the negotiation between what you take and what you give, that’s how you can reach a deal with the other party. In the end, negotiating is not about accepting what you don’t want, but you must have the courage to ask about what you want.
4. Ask first. Be courageous
When negotiating, parties often hesitate to go first in making their offer. Surprisingly enough, going first can be advantageous. If you go first, it doesn’t mean that you are missing on an opportunity, you are creating a new opportunity for you. According to different researches on the “art of negotiating”, the final price is always higher when it’s the event planner who makes the first move. Therefore, be smart and go for the first offer which will put you in an advantageous position. The reason behind it is quite easy to explain, when going into a negotiation, the buyers will always propose a lower initial price. On the other hand, the event planner will tend to get the exact value from their services by setting higher initial prices.
Moreover, the use of the emotional intelligence while contacting your event planner is one of the game changers. You will probably face bold, emotional statements from the other party. The purpose is to stay calm and collected in these types of situations otherwise you can easily lose the battle. In the business world, you must be prepared not to react due to an emotional stimulus but to act from cold reasoning.
Even if you decide to accept the offer of your event planner, make sure that your decision is based on your reasoning not because it is influenced by some sort of emotional pressure which is usually used as a powerful tool in the business world. So how do you react if you find yourself in this situation? You should distance yourself to clear your thoughts. Furthermore, if you are feeling trapped in “emotional bullying”, you can leave the table in order to collect your thoughts.
5. Establish relationships
However, you can be making the first move, be bold and unimpressed, but don’t forget: be careful when you leave that negotiation table, it is advisable to have made some friends. Relationships are important, especially in the world of business. Don’t just take, but also give. Don’t just try to win, instead try to find a solution in which all the parties can win. Create relationships, so the next time you will need to negotiate with an event planner, the process will go smoother. If you show integrity and dignity during the negotiation, you will earn the respect of the other party. So, even though you might not get the deal that you wished, sometimes the relationships that you create can be more valuable.
To conclude, negotiating is a hard game to play. It has nothing to do with winning or losing. A successful negotiating leaves all the parties fulfilled and happy for reaching their objectives. The road to get to that sweet spot is complicated which means that you must put in a lot of effort. You should be willing to understand your needs and know how to communicate those needs to your event planner. At the end of the day, in business, just as in life you must be an initiator, bold enough determine your rules and create valuable business relationships for the pursuit of a tomorrow that’s better than today. Here you go, we have provided you with the necessary information on how to choose the best event planner in town and several negotiating strategies. Nothing can stop you now.