Insights

5 Strategies to Remove Confusion from AV Quotes

October 7, 2022

AV Quotes

Ever gotten a quote or proposal from an AV or Production Partner that seemed like you needed a degree in ancient languages to decipher?

You are not alone.

The truth is there are some companies out there that are purposely trying to confuse and bamboozle you. They won’t admit it, but they make their proposals purposefully confusing.

That is why you tend to rely on Good People like @heather Reid from @planner protect to help you with your venue contracts and BEO’s, as you should. But what about your AV and production quotes?

Here are 5 helpful strategies to help you remove the uncertainty of your AV proposals and quotes.

Start with Research

This is one of the most important parts of getting the most value you can from working with a partner. Taking this vital step will save you time, headache, confusion and, most importantly, save, a lot of wasted money along the way. Then, you can rest assured that you are getting what you need and that your objectives are aligned.

Before you go to the effort of getting a bunch of quotes, do a little research. Take the time to build a short but very valuable three-step process.

Step 1 – Identify providers. Let’s say up to 10, in whatever market/ city you are holding your event. Do a short google search, ask a colleague for a recommendation or attend an industry event, like @Canadian Special Events CSE Live and ask a few questions about the many AV partners you will meet. I assure you, if you ask, they will tell you all about themselves.

Step 2 – Gather their credentials and capabilities and review them. Again, don’t ask these companies to send you a quote. You are evaluating them for compatibility. In this step, set up some time with your team to review all of the potential partners. Discuss what you like about what you have seen, what questions you have about their services and capabilities and whether or not, at first glance, you think there is a potential to work with them. This hour of time with key decision makers in your team will pay off tenfold down the line.

Step 3 – Make a short list. Now that you have identified the three you want to see a proposal or quote from, you can reach out to them for some real numbers. The AV partners will appreciate it. Your team will appreciate not being inundated with confusing quotes, and you will have a better understanding of whom you might want to work with.

Determine what kind of buyer you are

How do you like to order red wine? Are you more of a “if it’s cheap and red, I will drink it” Kind of Person or are you a closet sommelier?  When it comes to looking for an AV partner and production team, you need to understand what type of buyer you are.

As a technical producer and event technologist, what I look for in a quote from an AV supplier is very different from what a planner might look for. Like the sommelier, I want a bunch of detail. Line-item pricing, specific lighting instruments etc. etc. Being the sommelier for this is my job. I do it every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to. You do have to understand how much of this you want to delve into and adjust your buying strategy.

There are two ways to gather bids from potential partners. An RFP (Request for Proposal) and RFQ (Request for Quotation).

An RFP or RFQ sits on opposite ends of a complexity and detail spectrum. RFP’s are vague, general and should focus on the overall picture, objectives and how the solution will solve it. RFQ’s focus on the detail.

As I said, it is a spectrum, not an absolute. The point of this is that you should know before you ask for pricing where you sit on that spectrum so you can ask for what you need.

Get your ducks in a row.

Map out your requirements. This can be a list of how many projectors and stages etc. you need, but it can also be a “Cool party with lots of flashy lights.” The main thing to map out is what you need to know that the provider can do for you. Put your objectives for the quote/proposal in the ask.

Are you looking to reduce your overall spend, but maintain the level of experience? That is a perfectly valid objective. Are you looking to find a new partner because the old one isn’t working out? Great. Those are very different business decisions your potential partners need to make. Be clear about what you want to achieve through the excise of quoting. This way, you don’t waste time with reading or reviewing submissions that are way off the mark. Plus, you give the potential partner an opportunity to decline to bid if your objectives don’t align. Now it is time actually to ask for the quote or proposal.

Share your Budget and Objectives

Most importantly, share your budget. Let’s all be realistic. You have a budget. Don’t hold that back. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told in my 25-year career that “we don’t have a budget” when I ask this question, only to be told as soon as I hand over a quote or proposal that “This doesn’t fit in our budget.” Business relationships are built on trust. If you need concessions, are looking for a discount, whatever it might be, you can ask for it. Every potential partner’s business model is different; let them evaluate if they can offer a solution for your budget. The answer tends to be yes. If the response is no, then you have saved a lot of time and effort on the partner’s part and your team’s.

In the end, the companies you have identified want to work WITH you to find the right solution that fulfills your needs, solves your problems and is a good fit for the partner to take on. Let them have a chance to meet your expectations.

Knowledge is power

Brush up on your AV knowledge. Find something you don’t understand in the quote. Ask. If they tell you, that is good. AV providers are staffed with the biggest AV nerds in the world. They are gearheads that love talking about cool features and things they can do. If they placate you with platitudes… run.

We live in the age of an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips. Simply use Google to search for a term on your quote. These few minutes can save you tons of money.

Leverage the knowledge of experts. We often consult with clients to do AV and Production Audit Reviews. Spending an hour with our team to review your quote, point out things you may have missed and evaluate the solution is invaluable. Investing a small fee for someone you trust to take a look under the hood could save you time, money and frustration down the road.

Try Our Event Production and AV Audit

If you need more assurance and clarity that you are getting the most value, right support or just need to better understand your AV and production quotes and proposals, we have a simple way to help.

In three easy steps, you can save your time, get clarity on your production plan and save wasted money.

Book a Production and AV Audit with our team, spend 90 minutes with us and get a clearer understanding of what that AV supplier just sent you.

Ever gotten a quote or proposal from an AV or Production Partner that seemed like you needed a degree in ancient languages to decipher?

You are not alone.

The truth is there are some companies out there that are purposely trying to confuse and bamboozle you. They won’t admit it, but they make their proposals purposefully confusing.

That is why you tend to rely on Good People like @heather Reid from @planner protect to help you with your venue contracts and BEO’s, as you should. But what about your AV and production quotes?

Here are 5 helpful strategies to help you remove the uncertainty of your AV proposals and quotes.

Start with Research

This is one of the most important parts of getting the most value you can from working with a partner. Taking this vital step will save you time, headache, confusion and, most importantly, save, a lot of wasted money along the way. Then, you can rest assured that you are getting what you need and that your objectives are aligned.

Before you go to the effort of getting a bunch of quotes, do a little research. Take the time to build a short but very valuable three-step process.

Step 1 – Identify providers. Let’s say up to 10, in whatever market/ city you are holding your event. Do a short google search, ask a colleague for a recommendation or attend an industry event, like @Canadian Special Events CSE Live and ask a few questions about the many AV partners you will meet. I assure you, if you ask, they will tell you all about themselves.

Step 2 – Gather their credentials and capabilities and review them. Again, don’t ask these companies to send you a quote. You are evaluating them for compatibility. In this step, set up some time with your team to review all of the potential partners. Discuss what you like about what you have seen, what questions you have about their services and capabilities and whether or not, at first glance, you think there is a potential to work with them. This hour of time with key decision makers in your team will pay off tenfold down the line.

Step 3 – Make a short list. Now that you have identified the three you want to see a proposal or quote from, you can reach out to them for some real numbers. The AV partners will appreciate it. Your team will appreciate not being inundated with confusing quotes, and you will have a better understanding of whom you might want to work with.

Determine what kind of buyer you are

How do you like to order red wine? Are you more of a “if it’s cheap and red, I will drink it” Kind of Person or are you a closet sommelier?  When it comes to looking for an AV partner and production team, you need to understand what type of buyer you are.

As a technical producer and event technologist, what I look for in a quote from an AV supplier is very different from what a planner might look for. Like the sommelier, I want a bunch of detail. Line-item pricing, specific lighting instruments etc. etc. Being the sommelier for this is my job. I do it every day. That doesn’t mean that you have to. You do have to understand how much of this you want to delve into and adjust your buying strategy.

There are two ways to gather bids from potential partners. An RFP (Request for Proposal) and RFQ (Request for Quotation).

An RFP or RFQ sits on opposite ends of a complexity and detail spectrum. RFP’s are vague, general and should focus on the overall picture, objectives and how the solution will solve it. RFQ’s focus on the detail.

As I said, it is a spectrum, not an absolute. The point of this is that you should know before you ask for pricing where you sit on that spectrum so you can ask for what you need.

Get your ducks in a row.

Map out your requirements. This can be a list of how many projectors and stages etc. you need, but it can also be a “Cool party with lots of flashy lights.” The main thing to map out is what you need to know that the provider can do for you. Put your objectives for the quote/proposal in the ask.

Are you looking to reduce your overall spend, but maintain the level of experience? That is a perfectly valid objective. Are you looking to find a new partner because the old one isn’t working out? Great. Those are very different business decisions your potential partners need to make. Be clear about what you want to achieve through the excise of quoting. This way, you don’t waste time with reading or reviewing submissions that are way off the mark. Plus, you give the potential partner an opportunity to decline to bid if your objectives don’t align. Now it is time actually to ask for the quote or proposal.

Share your Budget and Objectives

Most importantly, share your budget. Let’s all be realistic. You have a budget. Don’t hold that back. I cannot tell you how many times I have been told in my 25-year career that “we don’t have a budget” when I ask this question, only to be told as soon as I hand over a quote or proposal that “This doesn’t fit in our budget.” Business relationships are built on trust. If you need concessions, are looking for a discount, whatever it might be, you can ask for it. Every potential partner’s business model is different; let them evaluate if they can offer a solution for your budget. The answer tends to be yes. If the response is no, then you have saved a lot of time and effort on the partner’s part and your team’s.

In the end, the companies you have identified want to work WITH you to find the right solution that fulfills your needs, solves your problems and is a good fit for the partner to take on. Let them have a chance to meet your expectations.

Knowledge is power

Brush up on your AV knowledge. Find something you don’t understand in the quote. Ask. If they tell you, that is good. AV providers are staffed with the biggest AV nerds in the world. They are gearheads that love talking about cool features and things they can do. If they placate you with platitudes… run.

We live in the age of an abundance of knowledge at our fingertips. Simply use Google to search for a term on your quote. These few minutes can save you tons of money.

Leverage the knowledge of experts. We often consult with clients to do AV and Production Audit Reviews. Spending an hour with our team to review your quote, point out things you may have missed and evaluate the solution is invaluable. Investing a small fee for someone you trust to take a look under the hood could save you time, money and frustration down the road.

Try Our Event Production and AV Audit

If you need more assurance and clarity that you are getting the most value, right support or just need to better understand your AV and production quotes and proposals, we have a simple way to help.

In three easy steps, you can save your time, get clarity on your production plan and save wasted money.

Book a Production and AV Audit with our team, spend 90 minutes with us and get a clearer understanding of what that AV supplier just sent you.

In typical business events set in a ballroom, a high resolution might be required, as your audience will be seated much closer to the screen. Viewing something that close on a low-resolution tile will make your content appear pixelated.

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