Photo by Lily Tapia
We recently did a post on How to Become a Preferred Vendor of a Venue to help you gain the benefits of getting on a preferred partner list. However, one-time customers are also important. Your party rental company will always need revenue, market share, and referrals. But is it more important to focus on the one-time rentals, or the steady stream of repeat business?
Often in event rentals and production you may only have one-time customers, especially when it comes to things like weddings. Hopefully, the couple or clients only need your services once, but that also makes it harder for your event rental business to keep a steady stream of income. In the business of sales, it can take a lot of work to acquire new customers. You have to:
- Research and target your ideal customers
- Market to them
- Generate leads
- Follow up (sometimes multiple times) until the sale is closed
- Deliver the goods in a professional manner to the location of their choice
- Follow up on their satisfaction at the end
Imagine doing that with every single customer! You and your staff would likely burn out. So you need to also devise ways to either convert one-time customers to repeat buyers, or work with other businesses to create more of a repeat pattern.
However, do not outright dismiss one-time customers. Often, when it is a special occasion or a large-scale event, they will want to invest in awesome event rentals to make their event special. Since milestones (wedding, 40 or 50th birthday parties, 1st birthday parties, 50th anniversaries, and so on) are often big ticket celebrations, the budget will likely be bigger, making them great leads to cultivate. These potential clients will be more likely to see value in your rentals to create a special experience rather than opt for frugality.
Remember, the opportunity to convert potential clients to paying customers is narrow. Wow them with your collection, personality, and presentation. Once you reach the invoicing stage, use professional event rental software such as Goodshuffle Pro to seal the deal. Not all event rental companies streamline the process for the client, so use this opportunity to stand out from the crowd. Clients are easily turned off when things are complicated and difficult, and most people are busier than ever these days, but when the presentation is clear, crisp, and user-friendly, those one-time potential customers are likely going to be turned into continuous, paying customers. We’ve had many customers remark how easy and professional it was to complete the transactions with Goodshuffle.
If your event rental business is lucky enough to be on a preferred vendor list at reputable venues, you have the potential for increased volume of business. Or, if your event rental business provided rentals for a big event at a venue, you can create more sales this way. Once you are vetted and deemed a reliable source for the venues’ clients, they may look no further than what is presented to them. You will likely be getting more consistent customer leads and acquisitions once you have proven yourself worthy of that venues’ preferred partnership lists.
However, keep in mind that if you are on the venue’s partnership list, there is likely quid pro quo. Most vendors offer discounts for the venues’ clients in exchange to be on the list. Not only do you have to offer stellar products and top-notch service, you also need to lower your cost in some way. This is not a hard and fast rule, but it tends to be the majority. You might look at it as a small tradeoff for more consistent revenue.
Additionally, this also takes considerable time and resources to get on these lists whether it be:
- Employee or owner time to do the outreach
- Working on styled shoots and the costs associated with them
- Waiting on business you may not get
- Valuable time diverted away from other money-making activities in order to invest in these relationships
Referrals and Reviews
Even though you may only have a one-time client, if they loved your work they can also refer and review you. Your event rental business should not dismiss the value that even one-time customers hold for your business. You will want all your customers to sing your praises from the rooftops. You accomplish this by offering superior customer service from the onset to the end. Be sure to follow up with thank you emails or personal handwritten notes (even better!). Once you ask for a review, be sure to send links to all your review sites. Some great and free sites are listed below (these also help with SEO):
- Google (be sure to sign up for your Google Business Listing if you haven’t already)
- The Knot
- Your Facebook Business Listing
Your goal is to make things as easy as possible for your client. It may take a while, but they will also refer you to their colleagues, friends, and families. This is free marketing and one of the most effective methods because it’s based on trust!
Overall, there are pros and cons to both one-time customers and venue partnerships. You should balance and diversify your business with a mix of these types of customers and others. Be open to reinvesting in current customers, make efforts to be on preferred vendor lists, and close (and hopefully convert, or leverage) one-time leads.
Curious how Goodshuffle Pro can help you manage your events for all types of customers?
Anna is a wife, mother of two sweet and precocious boys, and the lead designer and creator of Provenance Rentals, a boutique specialty & vintage rentals & prop house in Inglewood in Los Angeles decorating for the romantic, unique, and chic client whether the event is corporate, or personal, all over California and beyond.