I watched a movie last night called Crazy, Stupid, Love. It starred Ryan Gosling, who showed Steve Carell how to pick up women at bars. Steve Carell is told that he is doing it all wrong, how he needed to sleep with many ladies telling them what they want to hear to get what he wants at whatever cost. They spend half the movie sleeping with different ladies.
It reminded me of the story arch of many other movies like Will Smiths “Hitch” , Mel Gibsons “What Women Want” and the 2005 movie called “Wedding Crashers“ starring Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn who sneak into weddings and take advantage of the romantic air and mood of the wedding to sleep with different women.
Ryan Gosling, Steve Carell, Will Smith, Mel Gibson, Owen Wilson and Vince Vaughn all find that one night stands are an easy, empty way to live and in the end building a lasting relationships will bring true happiness.
So what does this have to do with meeting planners you might ask? I do not think meeting planners are more promiscuous then the average professional. But I do see the correlation of the instant satisfaction of working with their vendors. Where most meeting planners I have worked with have sought and built great relationships with our company, the last few years I am finding most are looking for that great one night stand which they can just get through that show with a smaller budget that they can bring to their bosses. The relationships are secondary if the immediate satisfaction is not met.
This ‘two ships in the night’ relationship is not the planners fault, it is also the entitlement of vendors who do not convince their clients what a great relationship they can offer planners in the long run. Instead of the one flash in the pants they need to convince and show the beautiful years of the good stuff. Vendors hem and haw that they never used to have to do this convincing. But as most good companies know ,things have changed; obviously, the economy craziness. But as any married person knows, you have to keep things fresh and make and effort to keep the magic alive. So those vendors that build solid relationships keep everyone satisfied.
But more and more RFP’s that come across my desk are looking for a quick one night stand. I do have to say, I am tempted by these requests as I am only human, but almost always I am left feeling used and unfulfilled.
But I am on the other side of the equation sometimes. Last Thursday, I was asked to turn around a proposal which had a budget of around 300 thousand dollars. As we went through it, it really was more of a 500 thousand dollar show, depending on factors of equipment, venue, labor, rigging charges. I put it out to two of our favorite vendors, Core Staging – a boutique company who I have worked with for years, particularly with one pharmaceutical client to provide production for a National Sales meetings, and their global sales meeting; very large productions, and very happy client. I also sent it to a national AV company we have worked with for several years but mostly on a one night stand capacity. Core Staging told me Friday morning they would get me a quote back, Saturday morning I had a list of questions and concerns and Sunday I had the finished Core Staging quote in my inbox.
The other national company sent me an email Monday afternoon and said, “Hurricane Sandy made their computers go down.” Yet, Core already hit my email box on Sunday before the storm. This one vendor who I have a relationship with satisfied me; they know how long term relationships work. The numbers don’t really even matter to me at this point; we can work it out with the client if they want to start a relationship. We, like Core Staging, knew this might be a one night stand but Core put that aside to build our relationship and try hard for the long term relationship.
So as in Crazy, Stupid, Love. Like Ryan Gosling I learned once again that a great relationship with a great vendor is a very valuable commodity. Meeting Planners should keep this in mind. The one night stand is fun, exciting and for a short time very satisfying.
What are your thoughts? Are you a promiscious planner? Or do you like a good long term relationship?