Cost vs Value Pt 3 - What a Service Can REALLY Cost You
Dansations — Tue, 01/17/2012 - 01:24
Questions - everyone has them. “How long have you been a …?”, “Can you recommend a …for my wedding?”, “What kind of music do you play?”, “What does it cost?” These are good questions – but when do you ask them? Are they the right ones? Why is it important? Every event – Fundraiser, Wedding, Corporate Party, teen event, private party – has its own unique elements. It’s important to know which ones you want or need and ask about them. You may also realize how much a potential vendor may help you in area’s you may not have considered. Let’s look at some important questions, when to ask them and why.
First: “Why should I hire you instead of ‘X’?” This may be the first or last question you ask & it may reveal the most about the vendor you’re speaking to. The answer should give you a clear indication of what unique qualities they bring to the table. Are the questions they’re asking focused on you & your needs? Is their personality a fit for your event? What is unique about their offering & presentation? If they seem to be creative, upbeat and enthusiastic about your upcoming event you’re on the right path.
“What services do you offer?” The advertising or website you read may or may not include everything they provide – or don’t provide. Do you need something extra – design time, additional sound, lighting, video projection - perhaps they can provide it, perhaps not. Many professionals work with complimentary vendors so it’s a plus to ask. This may save you time in planning other aspects of your event. It may also save you money if your vendor offers or is part of a package with another vendor in their network. Don’t expect to receive a vendor’s contacts just because you asked. These relationships have been developed over time, are an added value and not usually free for the asking unless you hire the vendor.
“What are your thoughts about weddings (or other events)?” Every entertainer has their own ideas to add to a celebration. Instead of just focusing on how long someone’s been in business (and that is important too); listen for things like - their ideas for your event, what types of questions are they asking you, examples of past events, do they communicate well, etc. Are they addressing your needs or better yet showing you where you may add some elements to enhance the event for all?
“Tell me about a time something went wrong at an event.” Here’s another indicator of creativity! If your vendor has a story or two about the power going out, a cake crashing or other “oops” moment and how they reacted to it – then you may have a great find on your hands.
“Have you worked at my venue before? It’s important to know your surroundings. If a vendor hasn’t worked at a particular place, will they see it beforehand (if local)? They should call/visit the website of any venue they’re not familiar with to be aware of unique nuances it has and learn how to plan for sound, effects or activities.
“Can you tell me some music you might play for my ceremony, my dinner hour, my reception, for activities? Music will be with you the entire event – it’s important to hire someone with programming knowledge. How will various styles, genres, tempos and specific request fit together? List are helpful but are a minimal indicator of what can be used. A library of 100,000 songs is only good if a DJ knows when & how to use a wide variety of music. Playlists from previous events will give you an idea of how creative your DJ is. Anyone can push “play” but you’re looking for someone that can create a unique time.
“May I see some references?” Recommendations are important – anyone in business for even a brief time will have at least a few. Ask to see the evaluation forms, cards or letters they’ve received. Many times these are displayed in a book; some may be online; a few may have phone numbers / emails you can check with as well.
“What does your service cost?” Many times this is the first question people ask. While important – it’s not an indicator of what’s being offered. The costs of the physical aspects of any service are relatively the same. The major difference between services is the experience they can create for you & your guests. You don’t have an idea of the experience, expertise or personality your vendor has until you interview them. You don’t know by price alone how a difficult situation would be handled, the presentation skills they have, their reliability or their creativity.
The old adage “You get what you pay for” more often than not holds true in any service. When you find personalized, caring service that takes you into account – you’ve found real value.