relationshipEver wonder why meeting planners do business with particular suppliers over and over again? Why they don't send out RFPs on certain items any longer? It seems to be more than just a business transaction, so what is the key to a long term relationship for both parties? 

Meeting Professionals International (MPI) recently published their 2012 Business Barometer findings that explored the 5 elements of great relationships between planners and suppliers . MPI interviewed over 1,000 individuals in the event meetings services industry with a 50/50 split between planners and suppliers. 

Here are the top 5 reasons — along with some of my own thoughts on why certain suppliers do so well.

#1: Good Customer Service 

How is your customer service at your organization? Do the phones get answered and calls returned in a timely fashion? Are emails answered by the end of the business day and is someone monitoring your social channels? Does your organization "say what you mean and mean what you say"? Is everyone positive and smiling in the organization? 

This is a perfect time to do a customer service audit on your company. Survey your clients and ask your prospects what you can do to improve your customer service. 

#2: Competitive Pricing 

Everyone wants to pay the right price for the right value received. People are always willing to pay more for extra features or better service.

This hold true in the meeting industry as well. Planners are going to want to get the best pricing for the hotel room blocks, food and beverage, and renting audio visual equipment. Meeting suppliers need to ask the following questions: 

  • Do you offer the same equipment and services that your competitors do?
  • If yes, are you competitively priced to win the business?
  • If no, what makes you special and unique? 

#3: Good Personal Relationships

Needless to say, this is probably the most important building block in a long-term arrangement. Does your staff get along with the planner and have a personal interest in their life? Do you talk to them like a friend? Are you courteous? Building this type of relationship takes time and effort, but in the end it is worth it.  

#4: The Offering is Uniquely Suited to the Planner's Needs 

Do you ask a set of inquiring questions to really understand what the planner needs? Do you know what the attendees, sponsors and exhibitors want? How can you provide more creative solutions? By taking the time to ask good questions, you will build a better solution for that particular meeting. 

#5: Good Follow-Up and Being Proactive

Are you following up on all planner requests? Do you proactively call on planners even when you have not received the business? Changes occur everyday, so it is important that you proactively work toward gaining new clients as well as servicing your existing clients. 

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment supplier, works with meeting and event planners on all their audiovisual needs. Give them a call at 888-249-4903 to get the process started!