I recently spent two days hanging out with a group of event planners at Eventology2011, a great conference for wedding and event professionals. It turns out there's a lot entertainers don't know about planners, and a lot planners want to tell you. Today, we'll look at the top ten things you should know about planners. Later in the week we'll talk about what they'd like to tell you.
1. Image counts
A couple of planners admitted that when they were working on very "high end" weddings they parked their less than luxury cars a few blocks away from a meeting. Why? So that nothing would make people think they weren't right for a luxury event. If you want to attract wedding planners, you have to give the same consideration to your own appearance and materials. If you want to be considered for elegant weddings, make sure your materials don't feature pictures of you in jeans. Think about your niche, and make sure your profile and other materials reflect it.
2. They notice everything, and everything matters
You probably already know that planners are detail oriented, that's a big part of their job. But, you might not realize that they carry that attention to detail over into their everyday lives, and into their decision making process. If you want wedding planners to trust that you can bring what their clients need to a wedding, make sure your materials are error free and project the image you want to project.
3. They are addicted to their phones and Twitter
Seriously, I've never seen a group of women with a tighter grip on their phones and ipads! They can look you in the eye, while talking to you and simultaneously answer a question from a client and tweet their friends. If you want to contact an event planner that you don't know, follow her on Facebook and Twitter and you'll learn everything you need to know.
4. They talk to each other
Planners are a loyal, friendly, social bunch. Don't try and talk behind their backs because they have ears and eyes everywhere! If you do a good job for one planner, they'll recommend you to others. They place a high value on loyalty, flexibility, and trustworthiness.
5. There's a reason they stay on your back
In the planner's mind, every single thing that happens at a wedding is a reflection on the wedding planner. If the band doesn't do a sound check, and there's a problem, the wedding planner will know that it makes her look bad, even if she had nothing to do with choosing the band. Before snapping at her, try and see it through her eyes.
6. They don't know everything they need to know about you
I was really surprised to hear one seasoned planner say that she didn't understand why the entertainment always wanted to be fed. She wasn't being mean, but no one had really explained to her the time commitment a musician made for a three-hour reception. If a planner doesn't agree to something you really need, assume good will and take a minute to explain it to her. They love communication.
7. They're social, but not so into organizations
Several of the planners I talked to did not belong to professional planning organizations. They felt that once they were established, there wasn't much benefit to them in belonging. They like conferences and educational events, but don't feel like it's necessary to belong to the organization. So, professional organizations are not the best way to reach them.
8. They're seasonal
You know the wedding business is seasonal, but you have no idea how much these ladies live their lives by the seasons. Don't try and make new contacts or introductions during the wedding season, save it for when they have some down time. Oh, and don't forget USE the phone and social media to make that contact.
9. They're old-fashioned
Although they live by their gadgets, they ooh and aah over a handwritten thank you notes. Seriously, if you want to impress a planner invest in some beautiful, well-designed stationary and write a thank you note for any wedding you've worked on together. They also believe in gifts. They gift vendors that they like, and while they aren't keeping a spreadsheet, you can't go wrong with a nice gift at the holidays.
10. They are so much fun!
Seriously, these ladies go to a lot of parties where they're on the clock, so when they're off the clock they really know how to have a good time. Don't think of them as just gate-keepers to jobs, get to know them as people, you won't be disappointed. Also, think of them as a great resource for good info about comfy heels and fancy flats. These women know shoes!