Thank-You Notes to Vendors
With client notes in hand, this will be an opportunity for you to sit and write each vendor a thank-you note. Include specific compliments to each vendor in the note. Any specific, positive comments from the client should also be included. Negative client comments should be handled over the phone. A handwritten thank-you note may only take a few moments of your time, but it is a testament of your commitment to your vendors.
The biggest compliment you can send to a vendor is repeat business. Continuing to work with the same vendor on subsequent events is the beginning of building a solid relationship. The same can be said of vendor referrals. Be sure your vendor knows when you send her referrals. You want to make certain this new client gets treated extra special. Ask the potential client if you can pass along her name to your vendor. Or let the potential client know it is okay to use your name when contacting the vendor.
For events taking six months or more to plan, a vendor gift may be something worth considering. You may also contemplate a vendor gift if the event was particularly stressful. Vendors often work miracles at the last minute, and when they do they should be rewarded with a gift. Planning an event can be very stressful for all involved. Sending a thoughtful gift will not only show your appreciation, but it will also strengthen your relationship with your vendors.
In lieu of a formal gift, get in the habit of sending your vendors a compact disc of the photos from the event. Pictures on a compact disc are great for vendors to add photos to a Web site, brochure, or scrapbook. Ask the photographer ahead of time to chronicle all vendor-related services and products. These services include:
The cuisine, with photos of plates, buffet tables, and the kitchen staff in action
The bar setup, especially if the bar features wines and spirits related to a specific vendor
Staging and lighting design
Of course, you will need to get creative and think of a different gift for your photographer. A gift certificate to a restaurant is always appreciated.
Following the event, you may at some point receive a note of thanks from your client. Take a moment and make a copy of client notes to send to each of your vendors. This is good practice even if each vendor was not specifically named. You had assistance planning a great event, and your vendors deserve to share in all of the praise. Your client may have also written a note to each of your vendors, but do not take any chances; send a copy of the original note.