Getting on the recommended vendor list at a preferred event venue that fits your ideal clients and brand can be a huge help in getting referrals for your event planning business. Every event venue has a different policy for their preferred vendor list. Regardless of their process, the first step is to actually plan and/or coordinate an event at the venue so they can see how you work, how you handle stress, and how you work with your clients. Once you do a great job working at a venue and you get to know the point of contact, follow up after the event (via email or regular mail) with information about your business including:
The services you offer
A list of references with contact information
Testimonials from past clients
Recent press or publications you have been featured in
List of awards you have won
Education and experience in the industry
After sharing this information about you and your business, ask what their policy is for adding event planners to their preferred vendor list and if the venue would consider adding your business to their list. They may require vendors to work at the venue a few times before they will recommend you, they may require vendors to pay to be part of their recommended list, or they may not have any more space on their list for event planners at the current time.
The most important thing is to be patient. The venue may get many requests from vendors to be on their preferred list. Keep building your relationship with the venue, send clients to the venue, respond to their social media posts, and network with the points of contact at industry events.
Once you are on a preferred vendor list at a venue, treat your relationship like gold. These are partners who can generate many referrals for your business. Along with sending your clients to the venue (if it fits what they are looking for), offer to help plan an open house or an industry event for the venue. If you have not worked at the venue recently even though you are on their preferred list, stay in touch with the point of contact and let them know what is new with your business. Keep your business and yourself fresh in their mind so that you are the first event planner they think of recommending when a client asks.
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