Words by Kelly Chandler, from Kelly Chandler Consulting
The wedding industry seems to expand every year – you only have to pop into your nearest wedding showcase to see the rows of stalls offering near-identical products and services. It is enough to overwhelm even the most level-headed bride.
This is just one of the reasons why a Preferred Supplier List (PSL) has become increasingly important to wedding venues. Even if you’re a location hosting only a handful of weddings a year (and don’t consider yourself a fully fledged wedding venue) you will benefit from putting effort into your preferred supplier list.
Why Have a PSL?
It has become expected of venues to now promote an established, tried and tested wedding suppliers list such as caterers, florists, bands, photographers, marquee/tent suppliers, alternative entertainers, and much much more especially to couples who are “out of area” and starting from a totally blank canvas which is the case with an increasing number of weddings.
The benefits are obvious – your PSL adds a huge amount of value to your overall offering to clients and when promoting this, you need to have confidence that you are getting it right.
Who To Feature
Always select suppliers you feel really understand you as a venue rather than the need of just ‘filling that gap.’
All of the suppliers whom feature on your list should be special, talented and offer that ‘extra something’ making them truly stand out from the crowd. They should have equal measures of creativity and reliability with a main goal to not only please and exceed their clients’ expectations, but also yours as a venue.
Keep your client in mind. Select suppliers offering services that your clients actually need. If your venue is a rustic barn offering low-cost weddings for local brides, then listing the premier caterers in the country alongside internationally renowned floral designers is less appropriate than say a decent hog roast company and a lower cost local florist. Your target market and that of the suppliers on your preferred lists should harmonize.
Take Time Making Your Selection
We know time is of the essence and the day to day brawl of new potential business and operational demands take priority over this work. However, investing as much time as you can in getting to know your key suppliers and maintaining this relationship is absolutely vital.
Once you have started compiling your PSL, you will be inundated with calls from every wedding specialist in the county. Don’t get swept away with promises of generous discounts and commissions – if you are recommending sub-standard services to your clients, it will reflect poorly on you as a venue. Choose your suppliers according to their merit.
Choose a Range of Suppliers
Every client has a different budget and different priority for their day, so it is important to be able to offer options that are suitable for everyone.
List ideally at least three suppliers under each category, covering low, mid and high price points within a suitable range for your client base. You want to impress your couples with a variety to match any price point and most importantly any taste.
Go With Your Gut
Don’t be afraid to choose a supplier based on your existing relationships. If you get along well with the supplier, it will make your job much easier, and that positive, collaborative attitude will certainly come across to the client.
If starting from scratch, select suppliers that you have a good rapport with from the outset. They should be excited about being part of your team and come loaded with lots of new fresh ideas that will not only compliment you but enhance your existing offering.
An excellent supplier should also challenge and inspire you with new ideas that you yourself may not have considered all the time remaining sympathetic to your wishes.
Don’t Be Afraid To Call On Them
Its important to feel comfortable in approaching your suppliers at anytime and about ANYTHING and not be nervous to call on them should you need to…….This is a partnership and must work for both of you.
Offering an open door ‘philosophy’ will help maintain a friendly and professional relationship.
Thank you to Kelly Chandler from Kelly Chandler Consulting
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