We learned early on in our business that one of the most important relationships we will have are with our suppliers. Like any relationship, it takes work, some nurturing and demonstrating positive behavior to earn the respect of your fellow teammates.
Over the past 5 years, Our Forté has focused on building these relationships and are proud to have such an amazing and fun team of preferred suppliers (yes we hang out when not working!). We can’t say enough about our “dream team” and are proud to call them colleagues and friends.
Here is what we have learned on how to build and maintain a successful and positive relationship with this team of people.
Check your ego
We are very aware of our expertise and the areas we need support. We by no means are skilled at installing trussing, or programming a light show, nor do we have the patience for multiple conversations about linen selection, or the flair to stand on stage and perform a live auction.
BUT…. we do know how to bring a show together, manage the flow of set up, execution and tear down. We can negotiate contracts, manage budgets and design an event. And boy do we know how to stay on time! Understanding our expertise and the expertise of our suppliers is how we leave our ego behind. Your ego does not serve a purpose in relationship building – at least not in a mutually respected one.
Collaborate don’t dictate
You are hiring suppliers for their expertise and showing them respect for what they bring to the table will help them respect you, for what you bring. Collaboration is key. Include them in discussions around the vision and goals of the event. Collaborate on new ideas for the client based on their knowledge and expertise. When new ideas or obstacles arise don’t drop it in their laps to “figure out” continue the team-based approach and work through it together.
Much like the point above about collaboration you need two-way communication. Regular touch points, phone calls and even the occasional face-to-face meeting ensures everyone is getting the most up-to-date information about the event and their role in it. Our must-do with all events is to host a tie down meeting a few weeks before the event with all suppliers. This mandatory meeting is to walk through the full minute by minute of set up, event execution and tear down. This is a vital piece of the project plan to not only showcase that you, as a planner have it all under control but to ensure each supplier understands where they fit in, who else is involved, and what is still outstanding. During these meetings, we see our client’s stress ease away knowing the team we’ve created has got everything covered.
Working this way with your suppliers not only enhances the client experience, it makes the event execution enjoyable for everyone involved. We love event day because we know going into an event with a harmonious team, that we have a group of people who are all going to work together to deliver an amazing experience for our client and the guests.
Finally, be sure to thank your suppliers for a job well done. This team helped you look great to your stakeholders and in this industry, you are sure to cross paths again and when they meet you the next time they will sigh with relief to have you leading the project.