Planning a reunion requires a budget. Often, planners must stick to that budget by making sacrifices, whether that’s going for the cheaper venue or cutting back on family activities. However, there is a way to stick to a budget and get exactly what you want: Negotiation.
Yes, that may be scary to some people. Negotiating is uncomfortable and not necessarily commonplace. Most of the time, reunion planners will take the offer on the table and never consider what kind of deal they could have worked out. If you’re working with vendors and suppliers for a reunion, you must make sure you get the best deal possible for your group. It takes some practice, but following these negotiation tips will help you get what you need for your reunion.
1. Do Your Research
Before you even begin the conversation with a reunion vendor, do your research. Knowledge is one of the most powerful tools you have in negotiations. Do your homework on the vendor or supplier to learn about their products and services. Ask around to see if anyone else has had an experience with them that you can reference. Research costs within the industry, not just for the vendor you’re planning to meet with, but for their competitors, too. Being prepared ahead of time will help you in the long run.
2. Make a Connection
When negotiating with vendors for a reunion, be friendly and personable. It’s important to start off on the right foot and establish a good relationship. It’s also a good idea to find some common ground, something that you both can relate to. For example, you want to host a successful reunion, and they want to provide the services for a successful event. Creating an understanding will make the negotiation process much easier because you both want to work towards that common goal.
3. Show Your Potential
When meeting a potential vendor for your reunion, they likely won’t know anything about you or past reunions you’ve planned. Give them some examples of what you’ve organized before, and how your reunion will bring them some good business—and positive word of mouth. If they know you’re a successful reunion planner, with multiple events under your belt, they’ll be more receptive to requests because they know it will be worth if for them.
4. Ask About Incentives
Negotiating is not just about getting the best price but also substantial value. Inquire about incentives you may be eligible for, such as complimentary tickets to attractions based on the size of your reunion group or exclusive access to a location if your reunion takes place during a certain time of year. Never be afraid to ask, otherwise you risk leaving some valuable perks on the table.
5. Have a Backup Plan
Before you enter negotiations with a vendor supplier, have a backup plan in mind. And don’t be afraid to mention that second option in negotiations. It’s important to let them know about their competition, especially if you think it’s less expensive or has more value. If you come to the table with another option in your back pocket, the vendor knows they are not your only option and they need to work for your business.
6. Take Your Time
Don’t ever feel pressured to make a deal with a vendor or supplier. If you aren’t happy with where the talks are going, you can ask for some time to think it over. Sometimes you need a breather to think about the vendor’s products and services, and determine if what they have is really what you want.
7. Get it in Writing
This one is obvious, but you should never move forward with a deal without having it in a written contract signed by both parties. This is an assurance that everything you discussed in your negotiations is solidified in writing. This way both you and the vendor can refer to the contract if either party is not holding up their end of the bargain.
8. Be Willing to Walk Away
Much of your negotiating power will come from your ability to walk away. If you have a backup plan (see tip #5) and you don’t feel pressure, then it’s the job of the vendor to convince you to work with them. Don’t be a afraid to walk away from the negotiations. It may be the final act that convinces the vendor to give you what you need for your reunion.
With these simple steps, you can approach any vendor with confidence. You should never be afraid to negotiate for what you want. Your reunion deserves the best, and you should not sacrifice to make it happen.