"Hello – I’d like to be added to your Approved Vendor List"

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I am often contacted by Vendors looking to establish a relationship with my company… Actually, more often than not, they’re just looking for business… More specifically, business that I might send to them. While I give them credit for reaching out in a proactive manner, let’s talk a bit about the requests I receive via email, telephone calls and voice messages asking: “How can I be added to your vendor list?” Hmm… Good question. Often I’ll respond: “Send me an email with your info and I’ll be happy to add it to our vendor resource file. You never know when we might need it!” – which is not entirely untrue, but it’s also easier than answering the question honestly. If you’re wondering about how vendors get added to my referral list, here are some key points to keep in mind:

  1. Please don’t cold-call me. (Hello… Do you ever use bounce-houses?) Take the time to look at my website and familiarize yourself with the information posted there – learn about me, my company and the type of work we do.
  2. Save a tree (and a stamp!). I can’t remember the last time I responded to unsolicited information. (Sorry.)
  3. Bribes don’t work. (Again, sorry.) You may call it an incentive, but I refuse to give referrals based on compensation. Why? Because as a professional Consultant I’m committed to operating in the best interests of the Client. Not only is the practice of accepting referral fees frowned upon by some of the professional associations I’m affiliated with (it’s like double dipping), I believe that this business practice would ultimately damage my professional credibility.
  4. If you manage to grab my attention and you ask me to check out your website, IT BETTER BE GOOD. Truth be told, if your website is not completely professional (including valid contact info), fully functional and legible (yes, spelling counts) you will probably never get a referral from me.
  5. Please don’t request a meeting. (When can I drop by your office or meet you for coffee...?) As a business owner, wife and mother, I just don’t have the time to have coffee with every vendor in town. (Let’s not even get into the safety issues…) I pretty much stopped doing this altogether after a videography company called me persistently to set a meeting which I eventually agreed to. I arrived at the appointment only to have a representative hand me a sheet of paper which directed me to their website. (Huh!?! – no demo?!? Are you kidding!?!) So, I tried to ask the representative intelligent questions about their services & work which she could not answer because she was ‘new’. She didn’t even have a business card to give me. My daughter had accompanied me to the meeting and said to me in the car afterward, “Well, that wasn’t a very good meeting”. “No honey, it wasn’t”, I replied. (I love that kid! – even at 11 years old she knew better.)

Now it may seem like the door has been slammed shut, but that’s really not the case. The fact of the matter is, it’s very important for me to meet new vendors and keep my Rolodex updated to include rising stars as well as luminaries from every facet of the special events industry. This allows me to present my clients with a fabulous array of options… which is an essential part of the customized services I provide.

Stay tuned for a future post: “Tips for Getting More Referrals from Planners & Coordinators”

© 2008 E. Delgardio All Rights Reserved

About The Author


Planner | Designer | Speaker I've been planning for as long as I can remember! When I was younger, I planned birthday parties for my siblings and surprise anniversary parties for my parents. I spent many years in the Hospitality industry and also studied Interior Design. I couldn’t have guessed that my creative and organizational talents would lead me to a career in event planning...seriously! "To love what you do and feel that it matters - how could anything be more fun?" - Katherine Graham

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07 2008

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  1. Michael #

    Hello Elisa. I was just perusing your blog and was hoping to find the second installment to this one. I’m always eager to learn what’s on the mind of other vendors (especially concerning other vendors). Looking forward to more discussions during the ABC meetings his year. :)