5 Professionals All Event Planners Should Network With
As a certified event planner, you are a people person by nature. You’re excited and passionate about watching events take shape through the planning process, and this journey can’t be accomplished without at least some bonding between you and your clients!
Because of your outgoing personality, networking is something that comes easily to you – which is good news for your event planning business. But do you know exactly who you should be networking with? You may be surprised at some of the individuals who can really give your event planning career a boost (and who can benefit from your role, as well!).
Read on for 5 professionals that you should definitely network with as an event planner!
When it comes to the vendors you’ll work with as an event planner, a photographer is a key player. Whether your clients are getting married and want to hire a photographer for the entire day, or you’re planning a retirement party and your clients want some unforgettable photos, you’re going to be working closely with this professional. And it can be a win-win situation if you play your cards right!
It’s always important to maintain a pleasant relationship with vendors, but in the case of a photographer, it’s vital to spend some time getting to know them. Know that if a photographer is a couple of years into their career, they are likely attending every event they can find – they’re keen to meet new people, share their business card, and grow their clientele. Because of this, they are coming into contact with individuals who may need an event planner at some point, so keeping in close contact with photographers and even attending events with them will help put your event planning services on the map!
If you decide to sign on a photographer as a vendor, any intelligent individual will want to do a phenomenal job to ensure that you, the event planner, will recommend their services to more clients in the future. After all, you can keep a photographer in the loop about upcoming events, or form a strong enough relationship with them that they will be your go-to for future bookings!
2. Restaurant owner
One of the first details that a couple or group will look into for their upcoming event is the venue. Obviously!
Whether it’s a banquet hall, museum, church or restaurant, the venue is a huge component of an event, and it’s where most of the magic happens. As you begin your event planner career, it is essential to get to know potential wedding and event venues in the area, whether they be formal or casual. Your clients will be looking to you to help them nail down the best possible location for their event, so having a list of options for them (and knowing the owners) is an excellent rule of thumb.
So how do you get to know business owners who could supply venues to your clients? Trade shows and conferences are fantastic places to start. You’ll want to research hospitality events and food and beverage shows, and network with those in attendance. Get to know professionals who own restaurants in your city (and surrounding area) and let them know that you plan events and are often looking for restaurant-type spaces to hold their events.
Understand what each restaurant venue can offer your clients, and schedule a visit so you can see it for yourself. You want to ensure that you recommend venues to your clients that you’ve seen with your own eyes and are confident about.
As with photographers, your relationship with restaurant owners is totally win-win – you bring clients, guests and money into their establishment, and they provide excellent, unforgettable service that adds to the overall feeling of the event you’ve planned.
3. Other event planners
We know what you’re thinking – why mix and mingle with the competition? But hear us out! If you’ve just started a party planning business or are focused on planning weddings, you can actually gain more experience and meet more people by immersing yourself in a group of other planners.
This doesn’t mean you need to attend their events and take notes. Host a meet and greet every month or two and invite other event planners for coffee or cocktails – you’ll be able to share ideas, gain inspiration, and discuss big projects that you’re working on. And yes, this does mean you’ll be spending time with the competition, but think of it as a strategic networking opportunity. The input you receive from other planners could end up getting you more clients and better industry connections. And since you’re already a people person, you’ll have no problem being your friendly, professional self!
Pro tip: A great way to bring event planners in your area together is by creating a group through Meetup.com. You never know who is looking for a group to join, and who you could potentially form a very strong business relationship with!
The venue may rank high on the list of priorities for event planners, but food follows very close behind. This is why forming a relationship with caterers is extremely valuable in your event planner career! Not only will you be able to provide your clients with some excellent catering options based on the theme, budget, and size of their event, you’ll also get to know these professionals on a level that can only boost your event planning business (and their business, as well).
The great thing about caterers (besides the fact that they are responsible for a huge component of your clients’ big day) is that they know a lot of people. Caterers are so important for event planners to network with because they naturally attract the same clients as you – when you work with them, be sure to share your business card and encourage them to promote your services to their clients (with promise that you’ll do the same for them).
We all know how effective word-of-mouth is when it comes to brand awareness and growing clientele, so taking the time to get to know caterers in your area is an investment that will pay off down the road.
5. Makeup artist
On the most important day of her life, your bridal client will want to look (and feel) her most beautiful. This is where the services of a makeup artist come in! Hiring a professional to apply makeup to members of the wedding party (as well as create gorgeous hairstyles) will be high on your client’s wish list. It’s vital, therefore, to form relationships and build trust with several makeup artists in your area. Your client will feel relaxed and confident knowing that their makeup artist came highly recommended from her event planner, and you’ll keep building an important relationship with this professional.
Keep in mind that makeup artists are inherently outgoing and personable, much like event planners! This means that they frequently move in circles of creative, organized, and successful professionals like themselves. Getting to know makeup artists and keeping them within your social circle is a mutually beneficial way of bringing in new clients, finding out about upcoming events, and getting your name out there as an event planner.
Pro tip: Makeup artists are visual professionals, which means that their social media presence will be strong. Be sure to connect on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter with the makeup artists you meet, and show them that you are interested in helping to promote their services. Because they’re savvy with technology and marketing, you can bet that they’ll return the favor!