I’ve been following a few of my industry colleagues who are working on streamlining event proposals. Personally, I think it’s an excellent idea. Those of us who have been around the industry a block or two understand the need for streamlining. An event proposal, and its format, can come in all shapes and sizes.
A while back I was proposing, along with several of my competitors, on a piece of event business. I remember the day the meeting planner contacted me to say that on one particular portion of my proposal my pricing was off by about $30 per person. I thought: how is it possible for there to be that much of a difference? I wasn’t sure of the exact venue that my competitor was proposing, but I knew from the RFP that we were probably quoting a similar style of venue. And therefore the pricing between our two companies should have been in the same ballpark. Anyhow I didn’t get the piece of business (surprise, surprise). Several months later I ran into the meeting planner at a networking event. One of the first things that she said to me was: I should’ve went with your company as their pricing didn’t include alcohol. Didn’t include alcohol? How could anyone propose an evening food and beverage function and not include alcohol in the pricing? I found out that what my competitor had done was put a per-person price with an “*” at the bottom of their proposal to say that alcohol would be additional to the quote. On my quote the beverage pricing was presented as part of the proposed price (basing it on 3 drinks per person). From my perspective I always want my potential client to understand what makes up the total cost of an event’s price. Now to be fair, the per-person pricing apparently had an outline of what was included, however it wasn’t broken down. Does “you get what you pay for” come to mind here?
Event Proposal Guidelines – 3 Important Factors
Transparency. I’m a big believer in itemizing what’s included in my overall quote. Why would I want to surprise my potential client down the road with additional charges. To me, that’s no way to win a piece of business. Integrity and trust are important factors.
Options. I know that it can be difficult to get a budget range when proposing. Apparently there seems to be this secrecy around disclosing what a planner wants to spend on an event. That baffles me but it is what it is. So to combat that I’ll give a couple of different options for the meeting planner to review. One might be a higher-end venue and then I also provide a not-so-formal venue. My intention here is to give a price range based on the planner’s desired settings. My hopes is that this will make their decision process easier.
Don’t misrepresent your company. Again I believe integrity and trust are important factors. I’ve had potential clients come back to me, after I’ve submitted my proposal, and state that if I would drop the price by X dollars then they would consider awarding me the business. Now I do look at the merit of their request. If a planner wants to shave money off a particular event then I will advise him/her on what I believe could be removed without affecting the overall flow and feel of the event. But, at the same time, if that planner is simply asking me to eliminate my fee and keep all of the other components, then I reevaluate whether or not I want to work with that particular client. Don’t underestimate yourself, your company, and the expertise that you’re bringing to the table.