People ask me lots of questions about their event rental businesses. Sometimes we start talking about how to incorporate a damage waiver fee on their invoices using RW Elephant but end up talking about how to get more past clients to refer new business to them. Just this week, I spoke with a potential client (Hi, Chris!) about leveraging expectations in his business to work in his favor.
We’re all working hard to grow our businesses, right? Grow the rental inventory, grow our reputations, grow in our knowledge. But we also want to grow our profit.
Here are three things I think all event rental pros need to be doing to grow not just in popularity but also in profitability.
The number one way to grow an event rental business is to connect with other event professionals. Hands down. I truly believe this after 13 years in the event industry. I’ve seen quite a few companies rise to quick popularity only to fizzle after a couple years because they aren’t forging deep, long-lasting relationships with other pros.
Building alliances, partnerships, and friendships with compatriots in the event world will give you more staying power. While there are a million ways to pursue these oh-so-essential connections, may I suggest that you meet some real live people at real live events? I know— sort of shocking advice.
Looking for places to connect with event pros in your neck of the woods? Many industry organizations have local or regional connecting opportunities monthly or quarterly that are generally centered around education or networking. Here are a few to check out:
- Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC)
- Wedding International Professionals Association (WIPA)
- International Live Events Association (ILEA)
- Meeting Professional International (MPI)
- National Association for Catering and Events (NACE)
- Tuesdays Together
- Thursday Therapy
You might also want to look for other networking groups in your region to connect with your target market!
I’ve jumped on the social media bandwagon throughout the years. While trends definitely ebb and flow, I’ve seen some incredible results using Instagram. If you aren’t using Instagram already, hop to it! This visually-rich platform is a fantastic way for you to get beautiful images of your incredible collection in front of the eyeballs of people who are actually looking for the kind of pieces you already have in your incredible collection.
I highly recommend Hilary Rushford’s Instagram with Intention online class. Wow! It is super helpful in developing a visual voice, creating marketing strategies, and winning more business through Instagram in an authentic and connecting way.
And while we’re on the subject, can we all just agree to banish “salesy” language from Instagram posts? Saying “available for hire” or, worse, only including hashtags instead of a thoughtful, genuine caption…. yuck! Let’s use this intimate platform to really develop relationships with our past, present, and future clients.
Whether you only have one order on the books or you’re juggling twenty-six simultaneous events this weekend, asking questions can be a big business booster. Instead of contacting an unknown wedding coordinator to pitch your business, ask her some questions. Invite her to lunch and ask what an event rental business can do to make her life easier on event day. Ask whether she thinks your damage policy is fair. Ask what she hopes will be available for rent next season. Asking for input and advice will help you both form a successful relationship.
When you have a potential client on the phone, ask about his vision for the event. Ask what kind of environment he hopes to have at the celebration. Ask about his plans for a welcome table, dessert station, favor display. Asking questions will help both of you brainstorm ideas for additional uses of your collection at his event.
So, what are you waiting for? I’d love to hear what happens when you implement one, two or all three of these strategies. Keep me posted.