Steve MoodyJeff and I had the pleasure of attending Steve Moody’s entertaining presentation, “Soaring to the Top of the Preferred Vendor List,” at EPMEN 2013.  Between chuckles over Steve’s antics, I managed to jot down some highlights.

Getting on the venue’s preferred vendor list is all about the relationship you create with them, and it hinges on everything you do before, during and after the event.

Before the Event

Whether you’ve worked at the venue before or not, contact the event manager about the details of the wedding.  This is a powerful way to distinguish yourself from the competition immediately.

On that call:

1. Confirm the date, times and logistics.  In particular, make sure your timeline jives with
theirs so there are no misunderstandings.

2. Ask about load-in instructions, parking, arrival time and anything else you should know

3. Get the name and contact information of the manager or room captain who is running
the event.

4. Give the manager your contact information and that of anyone on your team working
the wedding.

Make it known that you are a team player who is available to help with anything they might need.  After the call, send a follow up email confirming all the details you’ve discussed.

Do you think this might impress the venue?  Heck, yes!  You’ve already earned points towards that preferred vendor list.

At the Event

Steve gave so many amazing tips for relating to the different personality types you’ll encounter at wedding venues that I couldn’t possibly list them all.  (Read The Platinum Rule for details.)  However, he gave some great practical tips for continuing to build a referral relationship at the wedding.

At the wedding:

5. Introduce yourself to the staff and jot down their names.  (Hint: you’ll need this later.)

6. Be flexible and demonstrate that you are a team player.  Put aside your ego and lend a
hand; no “That’s not MY job!” attitude.

7. Tip the bartender and the wait staff.  They’ll love you and remember you for it!

8. Thank them at the end and use their names.

9. Above all, remember that you are a guest in their house and act accordingly.

Work with the venue to make them look good, even if they forget to honor those clauses in your contact.  Don’t complain to the couple about how you didn’t get the fed first or that your table is in the wrong place.

Look, I know how frustrating it can be when you’re not treated well, but if you want to get on the preferred vendor list, pitch in and make sure everything goes smoothly without complaint.

After the Event

Unfortunately, we had to leave the presentation before we could hear Steve’s grand finale!  So I’ll fill this section in with my own suggestions.

After the wedding:

10. Send a personal note thanking the banquet manager, maitre’d and wait staff by name.
Mention something specific to the wedding and compliment them on a job well done.

11. Send a thoughtful gift. This doesn’t have to be something physical; if the manager was
complaining about the website, email her a link to your awesome web programmer.  If
you’ve taken a particularly gorgeous photo, give it to them as a gift.

12. Blog about the wedding and how awesome the venue staff was to work with.  Make sure
you connect with them on social media, link to them and share it.

When you demonstrate thoughtfulness and make the venue look good during and after the event by promoting them, you WILL make an impression.  Do this a few times and you’ll rocket your way to the top of the Preferred List, earning those coveted venue referrals.

How did you get on the venue’s preferred vendor list?

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