What event & convention planners should know about their clients to have successful negotiations...
For the event and convention planning industry negotiating is everyday’s cup of coffee. Negotiating prices, dates, themes, entertainment, client contracts and more is done on a daily basis. This is why having knowledge on deal making tactics and methods are vital in this type of industry. Although it is imperative for event planners to understand and know how to execute a successful negotiation, do they know what their clients are thinking? What are their key strategies when it comes to negotiating? In this interview with Mr. Angel L. Rodríguez we will explore what customers do, avoid and look during the negotiating process when dealing with event, conventions, and/or trade-show planners. Remember, knowing the other persons needs, interest and wants are results in as a great advantage for the other negotiator. Therefore event planners take notes!
We had the opportunity of talking with Mr. Angel L. Rodríguez, Vice-President of Roger Electric Co. in Puerto Rico. He is also head of the convention and activities committee of the Professional Engineer Association in Puerto Rico (CIAPR). Mr. Rodríguez often uses event planner services for both his business and the association activities. During this interview we asked Mr. Rodríguez about his approach when it comes to negotiating with his event planner, his expectations, tactics and results.
When it comes down to choosing and closing a deal with an event planner, how do you approach your event planner when dealing with prices, fees, and contracts?
I tend to use an aggressive approach. Doing previous research on prices and fees makes me have an advantage on how much I ask and on how much I can settle for. Sometimes insinuating that we have other options makes prices, fees and contract clauses come into more agreeable terms.
What do you expect from your event planner, when it comes down to agreeing on a deal? Mutual gain? More benefits for you? Or more benefits for the event planner?
Every time I negotiate I prefer ending with a win-win situation, this way you can be satisfied with your deal and the dealer will be pleased with the final outcome. This also guarantees future business opportunities for other activities for both parties. Mutual gain is my best bet.
Do you have a back up plan or BATNA, at the time of the negotiation? How do you approach the planner with this information? Do you use the BATNA as leverage in order to get what you want?
When it comes to negotiating, either with a party planner or with anybody business wise, you always have to have a back up plan. Now, the key is trying to obtain what you want without being too obvious. I tend to notify before hand that I have certain options, but I will be more than welcome on listening to what they have to offer me. This was the person feels that his or her offer is being considered and that they have a chance of making a deal. This often results with pleasing numbers and a successful deal.
What do you prefer, having a good “friend like” relationship when it comes to negotiating or do you prefer establishing roles and status from the get go?
This is very complex because it depends on the situation. I think the best way to approach a negotiation is establishing the points and terms from the beginning. This is when separating the person from the problem comes into play. I believe that keeping a professional and trustworthy relationship is the best way to do negotiations.
Has someone used any dirty tricks or tactics in order to close a deal? Have you used any? What was the outcome of the negotiation?
I don’t believe in dirty anything. Using dirty tricks or tactics is very unsuccessful. Maybe you can trick someone once but it wont work again, this is when negotiations go wrong. Being as straightforward and honest as possible is the best way to end up with what you want.
If you had to summarize your negotiating techniques, what is the most important one and most successful in your opinion?
Like I said before every negotiation is different and the approach varies. I usually tend to wait for the other person to make the first move, this allows me to know if they are benefiting from the situation and allows me to re-negotiate something better. I usually prefer doing the early process of my negotiations through email but at the moment of closing the deal I prefer a personal encounter. I do believe enormously in the value of a handshake. This can go either wrong or extremely well, but I do think that this old fashion trend keeps things classy and professional, it all depends on the relationship and trust both parties have acquired. Being prepared for every negotiation also gives you an advantage. I strongly recommend reading “The Art of Negotiation”, by Gerard Nierenberg. This book has really helped me with my negotiation tactics not only with entertainment activities but with my business as well.
I have to agree with Mr. Rodriguez, tactics, techniques, and approaches vary depending on the situation and the negotiation. However, doing research, knowing the other persons’ needs and wants definitely makes you feel more confident at the time of the negotiation. Being prepared is the key of a great negotiation. Hopefully, now with this blog event and/or convention planners can have a better view of how their clients operate, what they look for, and how they approach negotiations. Good luck and happy negotiating! Special thanks to Mr. Rodriguez for taking the time and answering our questions.
Roger Electric Co. - http://www.rogerelectric.com/
CIAPR - http://www.ciapr.org/
The Art of Negotiation - http://www.amazon.com/Art-Negotiating-Gerard-Nierenberg/dp/156619816X