22September

Why A Professional Matters: Five Keys to a Successful Event by Jake Feldman

 

In some cases, budget largely decides who a Bride, Groom, their families, and their event planners work with for weddings. Sometimes, budget and talent line up to create an awesome life celebration. Other times, however, the situation isn’t the way it could have been, because professional services were not used when they should have been.

For your consideration, here are five major reasons why you need to consider a professional service for your events:

1. Service

The event business is built on service in my view. The clients that we work with a lot of times have no previous experience in putting on an event. That’s where a professional would provide guidance, services, and piece of mind in the months leading up to the event. They draw this experience from years of wisdom–knowing what works and what doesn’t work and how the client’s event will be effected.

In our case, we take great pride in our 27 years of business experience. We use that knowledge to impart on our clients what we can do for them and practice our under-promise, over-deliver attitude. We do all of this this also as a full-time operation, with a dedicated Event Consultant ready to meet with clients and handle their events. Moreover, we do what we say and say what we do before, during, and after the event. If we can’t provide a service at a level that will completely satisfy the client, we refer other professionals who may have more expertise in that specific field.

it really is simple: full-time professionals have the means, the experience, the ability, and the drive to provide the client with better service.

How bad service from a vendor could ruin your event:

LITTLE ISSUE: The venue would like to know when the florist will arrive; however the florist won’t return calls; which creates undo stress on the bride and tension/uncertainty.

BIG PROBLEM: The florist is disorganized and can’t remember what type of flowers the client wanted. Embarrassed, and instead of communicating with the client and admitting a mistake, the florist brings the wrong flowers, disrupting the design and color palette of the room.

2. Safety Net

Being a professional also includes having built in safety nets to protect clients, their events, and their businesses. These include, but aren’t limited to: contracts, insurance, reputation, guarantees, backup plans, and open communication.

Few people, when they put on an event, realize the importance of seemingly “little things” when choosing a service provider for an event. For example–is the vendor insured? What happens if there is an incident at your event, say–a guest trips on a cable? Professionals carry liability insurance that protect them, the venue, and the event organizers from large financial losses.

Professionals also have backup plans — both in personnel and equipment. In the case of BC Productions, we have backup equipment available at our warehouse (with staff available to deliver during events) and even backup entertainers available to assist or even take the place of a scheduled entertainer should an extreme emergency take place (which has happened only twice in 27 years).

How not having a safety net could ruin your event:

LITTLE ISSUE: The decorator has a light burn out of one of their uplighting fixtures. The event goes on and the room is slightly off balance in terms of uplighting.

BIG PROBLEM: The decorator hired uses conventional lighting that produces heat for their uplights. During the reception, a small child suffers burns as a result of the uplighting used. In this case, who’s responsible? Event insurance of the decorator would cover medical costs of the child.

3. Professional Demeanor and Surroundings

There is a way of telling how professional an organization is by simply picking up the phone and calling their office. Pay attention to how the phones are answered. Most likely, a professional wouldn’t answer the phone a’la Ghostbusters: “What do you want?.” Likewise, they would answer the phone just like a real business–well, because they are a real business.

Likely, unless the client requests a meeting in a coffee sop or a public place, they also will hold meetings in a professional setting, such as an office. Take for example our offices in downtown Grimes: they are quiet, conducive to productive meetings and also house most of our inventory of equipment– so demonstrations on add-ons like photobooths can occur with our clients. Our new facilities (under construction) will feature a ballroom-like showroom that will be set-up like a wedding–with rounds, a head table, and a dance floor. This, to me, gives our clients piece of mind in knowing that they are not dealing with a fly-by-night organization who will “no-show” their event. We are able to have offices and showrooms like this because satisfied clients and successful events have afforded us the opportunity to do so. We project ourselves in a professional manner because we are professionals.

How your vendor not having a professional meander and office could ruin your event:

LITTLE ISSUE: While meeting with a DJ in a noisy coffee shop, a Bride and Groom are approached by a man hard-selling life insurance (true story). Annoying, severely distracting, and easily avoidable if that DJ had an office.

BIG PROBLEM: A vendor is jokingly rude to a client who calls because they use their home phone line for their business line and the caller is mistaken for a friend of the vendor (which is taken as an insult and not a joke). From then on, communication between the vendor and the client is awkward and uncomfortable. Professionals have offices with dedicated phone lines.

4. Being Prepared

I will approach this point from a DJ prospective, because that’s been my main area of focus has been for the past decade plus–but it certainly applies and translates to all areas of event production.

Have you ever been to a wedding where the DJ shows up at the beginning of Dinner and moves his equipment in while everyone is eating? This not only disrupts everyone in the room, but presents a bad image of DJs in general. Also, have you ever seen a DJ dressed in jeans for a wedding? this also makes us all (as DJs) look bad, because sometimes unfortunately one experience is enough to turn people off of hiring a DJ.

By contrast, a real professional will set up before the event and be ready (and dressed appropriately in a suit, tuxedo, or business casual (for casual style-events only). This will create a great first impression with your guests and will absolutely make for better communication with the DJ, as the guests will feel on the same “level” with your entertainer.

How a vendor not being prepared could ruin your event:

LITTLE ISSUE: The Videographer hired brings a floodlight for the first dance. This is distracting and disrupts the ambiance of the room. This is easily avoidable by contacting and speaking with all parties involved to keep the room lighting at a brightness conducive to a great looking first dance video.

BIG PROBLEM: The DJ hired does not not have the necessary planning sheets in his or her possession. They pronounce names wrong and plays songs on the “Do Not Play” list. The bride and groom are furious but decide to not let it ruin their day. Their guests leave early due to the DJ’s inability to keep the order of the night going without their planning forms. The mother of the bride has undue stress due to the DJ constantly asking “what’s next?” This is easily avoidable by hiring a professional.

5. Price

By all means am I saying that the best is always the most expensive, however what I am referring to is the theory that “you get what you pay for.” Certainly true ion events, professionals typically charge more because in order to provide the services they do, they need to adequately prepare, outfit themselves with the right equipment, and fairly compensate their staff and themselves all the while taking care of the costs of necessities, like a clean and comfortable office to meet with clients in and the safety net provided by insurance and reliable transportation. Make no mistake about it–this is a business, but it is one that is done equally for serving the needs of clients and providing a liveable income.

So–to sum up:” Cheap is not always the best, and the best is not always inexpensive.” You can eat easy-mac for dinner or you can eat steak; both will fill you up, but the steak will be better for you and more satisfying (and will cost more). Event vendors are like this: non-professionals will probably talk about being “cheap” in terms of price — real professionals will explain their value by way of explaing the extraordinary customer service, built in safety-nets, professional operation, and event experience you are receiving for your investment in their services.

How Price Shopping for a vendor can ruin your event:

LITTLE ISSUE: After looking into having a professional photograph their wedding, the cost is considered. After much deliberation, the couple decides to have an uncle photograph the wedding. The pictures are not the greatest quality, because the uncle wasn’t using the proper lenses, didn’t know how to work with lighting to achieve optimum results, and couldn’t provide the necessary editing to provide great looking prints.

They saved some money, but lost some great pictures and memories by not using a professional.

BIG PROBLEM: After considering a the prices of “professional” DJs, the bride and groom choose to go with the “lowest priced professional in town.” After one booking meeting in a coffee shop, the agreement is made that the DJ will perform at their reception. The DJ isn’t heard from until the week of the event (after repeated calls), when he would like to schedule a meeting to go over music. The week before the wedding is hectic enough, but to try and meet with a person and company for details that should have been advanced 3 weeks before this point is daunting. In any case, on the day of the event–the DJ is late arriving to the reception venue and inappropriately dressed. The venue staff also notice that the DJ is demanding and not very good. This, coupled with the lack of professionalism displayed by the entertainer sitting down all night are upsetting to the bride and groom, who decide to address these issues on Monday. When the time comes for the Bride to call on Monday, the DJ can’t be reached, as he’s at his day job. When they do get in touch, the explanation is given that his service equals his price.