Updated: Apr 10
Learn from event mentorship expert May Yeo Silvers as she teaches you how to build great partnerships with vendors.
I have been asked on several occasions how I negotiate with my vendors to always get great deals on pricing. Well, are you ready for the big reveal?
What Type Of Vendor Partnership Will This Be?
Before I decide to negotiate for vendor terms with any vendors, one of the factors that I will think about would be, do I see myself having a long-term partnership with this vendor? To determine if we can establish a long-term partnership, I will need to consider if this vendor is aligned with my brand and my core values for my event planning business.
I would only negotiate for preferred vendor terms with vendors on my preferred vendor list because these vendors are the ones I have carefully handpicked to form a lasting win-win partnership.
I recently did a YouTube video tutorial on how to build a vendor list and you can watch the tutorial by clicking here.
Negotiate 3 Main Items
Once I determine that this is a vendor I want to work with, I will negotiate for three main items that will make a huge impact on my event planning business. Those are Industry Rate, Payment Terms, and Collaborations.
If I know that I will be using this vendor on a frequent basis, I will ask for a vendor discount or industry rate. That means the vendor will be giving a discount on the retail rate that she charges her end consumer. Many vendors do not offer industry rates when you are new in the business as they can't take your word that you will refer them enough business to render them giving you an industry rate. How you can work around this is to ask for a discount when the dollar amount for an order surpass a mutually agreed dollar amount. After a few business transactions, you will build up the trust and transaction history for them to reference back and now you will be in a better position to ask for an industry rate that will be applied for each of your orders, regardless of how much your order is. To keep this vendor term, you should try to uphold a certain amount of business you give to this vendor, just to be fair to them. Also understand that if the event falls on a peak date, don't expect the industry rate to be applied as it's fair game for everyone in this case.
For payment terms, I will ask for 30 days' credit instead of having to pay the entire order before the event. Again, if you are new in business, these vendors do not know you so they won't be able to extend the 30 days grace. How you can work around this is to ask for 50% down and 50% due immediately after the event. Then, you move on to 10%-20% down and the rest after the event. Once you build up enough credit history, you can then ask for the 30 days credit. Know that this is probably one of the most difficult terms to negotiate for because everyone wants a positive cash flow for their business. You have to be extremely conscientious in making sure that you ALWAYS pay on time to keep a good credit standing with ALL your vendors. You screw up with one vendor, words spread and you can bet that no vendor will ever extend this 30 days grace for you again.
Lastly, collaborations. I will ask my vendors if they will do collaborations with me when I need their services/items for style shoots, when I host a booth at a trade show, or when I need them to sponsor their services/items when my preferred venue partners host a client appreciation event. In return, I will include their company name on any of the marketing materials for the sponsored event and my social media post.
These are the three main things I will ask for but always remember, you must first be a GREAT vendor to work with, before asking anything from your vendors.
Vendors negotiations are one of the strategies I teach inside our Unstoppable Eventrepreneur Mentorship Program. If you want to learn what else we teach inside the program, let's chat!
Standing By You
May Yeo Silvers