Amber Anderson is the Leader of Refine, a community of planners located in Austin, Texas, and loves the ability her position gives her to bridge the gaps between rental companies and planners, all on behalf of the client.
In this episode, Amber and Cam discuss important hot topics, clauses in rental contracts, how to best serve your client, and what working with the right team can accomplish.
Something that seemed so obvious to me while editing this episode is the passion that both Cam and Amber have for building community in their industry, specifically for Amber through Refine and Cam through Rental Biz Academy.
Building community is so important! In our last blog and podcast episode, we discussed how you can transform your community into an extension of your marketing team but there are even more benefits than that. Having a strong community won’t only champion your business and increase your client referrals but it can also assist you in making more educated decisions with your product purchases, and provide you with a stronger support system.
“20% of my referrals were coming from other wedding planners.”Amber Anderson, The Render Podcast
I’m not sure about y’all but when I think of things going “according to plan” I almost immediately start singing in my head the song from the Time Burton movie, “The Corpse Bride”. If you’ve seen the movie you know that not one thing happens as it’s supposed to. The rental and planner industry often operates the same way (minus the dead people). We all have moments that don’t go according to plan.
An easy example on the rental side of things not going according to plan is retrieving damaged products. Uh-oh. Think about it, though. Like the ladies say in the episode, we do big events in Texas. It’s not uncommon for there to be several hundred people around our rentals. Therefore, it makes sense with all the moving around that there are going to be some damages.
Instead of assessing the damage after every retrieval our team does and formulating different charges based on the affected product, we charge all our clients a damage fee. Some like to call it the “peace of mind fee”. With this fee, our clients don’t have to worry about what happens to our products because they’re already covered.
The damage fee is one of many that rental companies charge across the board. We actually have an episode that shares up to 20 different fees a rental company can charge (check it out here). However, you always should be clear with what fees you are charging your clients. Your response to that might be, “well everything I charge is outlined in my contract.” That’s great! You should be doing that. What you may not realize though is that your clients don’t usually realize that your rental contracts explain all the fees.
Amber shared something specific she does with each client to ensure they know exactly what they’re paying for when it comes to her products and services. She extracts clauses from her contracts that cover key information (like fees or roles) and includes them in a separate document and the client has to initial each one in addition to her contract. That’s a good tip!
Also, doing this has led to fewer complaints surrounding her role in their event and around money because clients know exactly what they’re paying for.
Just be transparent with your clients about your fees. It supports building trust.Cam & Amber, The Render Podcast
Something else Amber and Cam noticed is how you shouldn’t wait for your clients to figure out issues that you are already may be aware of. This is our job. We walk clients through the entire renting process, start to finish. If you’re a planner learning from this blog, same thing. You likely repeat the same steps per project. If you’re noticing that project after project, clients seem to be getting hung up in the same spot, consider tackling that roadblock with new clients before it even arises.
Sometimes assisting your client in not hitting the roadblock can lead to small upsales, which is great. But what do you do when it does the opposite and take money off a project? If done the right way, saying no to a client can allow them to want to book with you. Being real with them and not just reaching for the sale is something most clients would appreciate from a vendor.
There are certain conversations we should be looping our clients and online audiences into. If you’re not, here’s your sign to start. The first is to ask people about the quality of your rental pieces. This is so important because what you might think is good… your client might not. Hopefully, they trust you enough to be honest with you and you can improve your inventory based on their feedback.
Second, get other people’s opinions when you’re buying inventory! Ask your clients or your followers which pieces they would like to see in your warehouse. Social media can be really helpful for real-time feedback. You can also send out surveys to see what styles or specific pieces people want to rent more of. You can also use the Instagram story “This or That” poll feature for your audience to easily engage.
Getting your community involved in these decisions allows you to engage with them outside of sales and build a relationship. What’s cool is you can in time turn it into a sale. What do we mean by that? What we like to do here at Render is once we engage with a community member or client through a product survey or poll on Instagram, we can further the connection once we purchase that inventory and let them know it’s ready to rent for their next event. In addition to making more sales, this also shows your community that you listen to them and trust their opinion and that’s huge.
Raven Scott | Podcast Manager
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