Do you know those people who have the uncanny ability to get others to do something for them, often without the other person even really realizing that they are, and if they do realize, they actually don’t mind, even though it may be something that they really wouldn’t want to do?
I know of few of those types of people and one in particular that, no matter what, can get someone to do something for them that is otherwise quite mundane, or boring, or time consuming or….whatever. And the “ask” is never obvious, barely even detectable, yet, it seems to work…every time.
What is it about them that makes this happen? A few things; charm, wit, personality, a bit of gumption. But most importantly, it’s because they make you feel like you are really helping them out, that you are appreciated for doing it. And so, because you don’t feel used you comply and probably would again.
Often, people will need to use vendors and various suppliers, for things like food, flowers, invitations, music and just about anything that you may need to pull your party off without a hitch. And sometimes, even unknowingly, there can be a prevailing attitude that every supplier should do as you ask, you are paying the bills and it is your party!
You are absolutely correct. It is your party, and you are paying for everything, and you should be able to have what you want. BUT…because of the stress, or the want for perfection or the need for control, we lose the art of the persuasion. No supplier will jump to the whims of an overbearing or demanding client. When we demand, we get, but not when we want.
Your suppliers are your partners in the entire process and understanding that will create a respecting environment. Being clear about your needs, asking for their input and creating an open dialogue will ensure that everything you want will happen at a time that you want it to happen. Suppliers are people too, and they’ll be more likely to do you a favour if needed if you’ve been supportive, understanding and reasonable.
During my career in corporate event planning, I had to be disciplined and conscious of my attitude and relationship with all of my suppliers. I could never let my stress level or issue with something else cloud my interactions with my suppliers. Without them, I couldn’t pull off my event. If I bossed around my caterers or waitstaff, didn’t communicate what I needed from my photographer or wasn’t pleasant and easy to work with, then I wouldn’t have been able to build my connections and be a respected and desired client.
My suppliers were my comrades, my peeps in the trenches that were there to help with a last minute food allergy (why couldn’t they tell me before!), or extra guests that showed up (where’s that extra seating?). When I treated them well, they treated me well and often went above and beyond what they even were required to do.
Having good supplier relationships isn’t just for the professional planners. Having the same attitude as me when dealing with everyone you need to deal with for your party will make the whole process a lot more fun and ultimately, more enjoyable for you.
We are all human and I don’t know ANYONE (even me!), who doesn’t get a little stressed or overworked while trying to pull a party together. Often we look at our suppliers as those who are responsible for giving us what we need, providing us with a service, but nothing really more. But always think about that friend who effortlessly gets people to do things for them and remember that a little smile and a little charm really does go a long way.