If you’ve come to this blog looking for ways to increase your AV budget, you are in the right place! There are many reasons you might feel you need to increase your AV budget. Maybe it’s to improve the quality of your staging, lighting, or sound. Or perhaps you want to add new exciting technology to your event. Finally, you might be tired of settling on your current provider and want to work with a more professional AV company. All these reasons seem logical to you, but your boss isn’t open to the idea of increasing the AV budget. While this can make you want to sound the alarm or give up, don’t! Maybe they don’t understand why you need to increase your AV budget or maybe they don’t think it’s important at all. Regardless of their reasoning, it can put you in a tough position and lead to a lot of frustration. As an AV company, we have seen this situation occur and we know how to help! This article will help you navigate these sometimes difficult conversations! Without further delay, we’ve addressed the most common reasons for increasing your AV budget and the best strategies to successfully get the budget increase you need! Let’s get started! Editor's Note: This blog post was originally posted in 2020 and updated by Anja Grcar for clarity purposes. Common Reasons You Need To Increase Your AV Budget There are a few common reasons we, as an AV company, see over and over again when it comes to increasing your event AV budget. Usually, the need comes when you are looking to improve the overall experience of your event or have an existing issue you need to solve. While there are many reasons and variables, we find the three reasons below the most common. Looking To Bring In A Better AV Company But They Are More Expensive This is a very common reason for needing an increase in your budget. You might feel like your AV is a bit lackluster and you are missing a true wow factor at your event. Despite your best efforts to explain your vision, your current AV provider always seems to just miss the mark. Or, maybe their designs are great but the service is slow and the customer experience is lacking. Either way, they just aren’t what you need and you know you need to elevate to a better AV company for the success of your event. But when you hire an AV company that is more professional, it will lead to an increase in the budget - an increase you simply don’t have approval for. There are a few major factors to remember when tackling this issue. First, your new AV company should be your partner and willing to help you. Ask your new AV company to provide actionable advice for why they are a better fit for your event. Perhaps the new AV company is charging more for labor and it would be easy for a decision-maker to only see the price increase. But if you had your AV company at the meeting and they explained the reasoning behind it, decision-makers might end up excited. Maybe labor increased because instead of hiring general stagehands, they hire professionally trained engineers for lighting and audio. By using the best people available for the event, you will have a much more seamless experience. Or maybe the labor is higher because the previous company has understaffed your event and having more hands on deck will allow for a better experience. Allow your new AV company to come in and explain why the price is higher and help sell the increase to decision-makers. If the reasoning makes sense, it will be much easier to get approval. You Want New Technology, Therefore, Need To Increase Your AV Budget Event professionals are highly aware of event trends and advancements in technology. We all love to have the latest and greatest at our event. New tech often leads to a buzz and memorable event experiences. Before we go on, it’s easy to get carried away with new tech so we suggest always going back to the purpose of your event. Why do you want to use the tech? Is it to expand the brand? To enhance audience engagement? For the “wow” factor? Knowing why you would like to implement new technology will help further your case to increase your event AV budget. Now that you have your reason it’s time to build your case. Find data that will support your cause. Ask your AV company for existing case studies on how the technology you would like to use has been successfully implemented at similar events. Now it’s time to present the case studies! Ask the AV company to join the meeting with your decision-makers to help answer questions and persuade them. They have all the knowledge needed to sell the tech. This can help tremendously in increasing your AV budget and helping your boss see why it is important. Allowing decision-makers to see real-life success stories of the technology you want in use will help persuade them to increase the budget and see your vision. AV is complicated and when reading a quote, it’s easy to just look at the bottom line. Helping decision-makers visualize why the tech is important and providing concrete evidence will help you get the "yes" and increase your event AV budget! The good news is that event tech can be done on a budget too. You Want To Add An Annual Margin So You Aren't Always Asking For An Increase This might seem like a self-serving reason on the list but hear us out! Year after year, the expectations for your event will rise. The cost of business normally does as well. Perhaps because of a change in location, cost increase at a venue, or union labor. You prep for budget increased in hotel costs, why don’t you prepare for AV to go up as well? As an AV company, we don’t care if your budget increases year after year. We can accommodate the budget you have, but we hate to see a client fail to increase their budget for the rising cost of business and not get exactly what they wanted for their event. You may not even need to tap into your budget increase, and if that is the case, great! Save it! You can allocate that money to something else or add it to the reserves. Then down the road, when something feels stale, you will have money available for a revamp. Adding an annual margin is a smart move. Furthermore, because it is a standard business practice to add an annual margin, it should be an easy approval and a simple way to increase your AV budget. Tips To Increase Your AV Budget If your reason you need an increase in your AV budget doesn’t fall into the common categories above, fear not! Here are three additional ways you can negotiate and get approval on a bigger budget. Play With Ego It’s no secret people like to look good in their jobs. Playing into your boss' or the decision-maker's ego can be a good tactic to increase your AV budget. Make sure to explain how the event will make them and the company look good. How people will be talking about it long after the event. After all, exceptional AV and production at their events will make them look good for their bosses, stakeholders, and audience. Show Decision-Makers Why You Need To Increase Your AV Budget The Way They Learn It can be very hard to imagine what that AV quote will translate into when it’s all put together at your event. Leverage the way decision-makers learn and show them how and why this increase in budget will add value to the event in the way they best take in information. Visual Learner Visual learners prefer to observe and see things. It allows them to understand the topic better if they can see it. If your decision-maker is a visual learner, adding visual aids to your case is a great way to help them understand why you are seeking an increase in your AV budget. Try adding in pictures and vision boards to eliminate mystery. This is especially true if ask your AV Company to put together a CAD design for your event. This visual rendering will show exactly how your event will look and add excitement. Auditory Learner Auditory learners absorb information better when they hear it. Listening and speaking are how they learn. If your decision-maker is more of an auditory learner, ask your AV company to hop on a call with them. Your AV company can explain what they are putting into the event and why you need to increase your AV budget. By having a call, an auditory learner can better understand your need to increase your event AV budget. A call allows them to hear the value and ask questions. Reading & Writing Learners When explaining the four learning types, Rasmussen College explains: "There is some overlap with visual learning. These types of learners are drawn to expression through writing, reading articles on the internet, writing in diaries, looking up words in the dictionary, and searching the internet for just about everything." If your decision-maker is a reading/writing learner, the best way to argue your case is to present educational articles about what you need an increase for. For example, if you are looking to increase your budget and add projection mapping, but your boss has no idea what that is and why you need the money, you could send over a guide with everything they need to know about projection mapping at events. A guide will allow this type of learner the opportunity to research and learn about what you need, which will help them understand why you are asking to increase your AV budget. Always ask your AV company if they have resources such as blogs and e-books in the area you are looking to improve - whether it’s lighting, staging, or beyond to support your budget increase. Use The Resources You Already Have To Your Advantage This seems obvious, but we see planners fail to do this all the time. You will have a much harder time getting your budget increased doing it solely by yourself. When you take a quote that you may not even understand and pitch it yourself, it can fall flat. We’ve said it before and we will say it again: your AV company should be your team member. Lean on them, have them help you pitch the ideas. Invite them to a meeting with your decision-maker and allow them to showcase their expertise and explain why the cost is what it is. Ask your AV company if they have any articles or videos that could help explain your need better. If you try to sell it yourself, you are missing an opportunity to have experts advocate your ideas. That's a big opportunity missed! Cut Out The Back & Forth Putting the AV company in front of the decision-makers saves time and increases your chances of a successful increase. Having the AV company and decision-maker speak directly can eliminate telephone tag and answer their questions right away. Not only does this help your case, but it also SAVES you time. Explain The Need For A Budget Increase Don’t assume that everyone knows about your event needs. Let decision-makers know why it is you need to increase your AV budget and what it will be allocated towards. If you can, use data to back it up. Perhaps you polled attendees from that last event and 78% felt the entertainment portion was lackluster. Let the decision-makers know you will be using the increase in budget to bring in better talent and a more exciting lighting show. Or maybe 90% of attendees had a hard time seeing the small projection screen in the back. Let them know your new budget increase will allow for a triple-widescreen with a better projector that can be easily seen by everyone. This would improve the attendee experience, solving the issue attendees had with your event. Conclusive Thoughts You now have our best tips for negotiating an increase in AV budget. Whether you are looking to add new technology to your event or switch to a better company, you will be well-prepared when asking for increases with decision-makers. Always remember your AV company is part of your team. They should be more than willing to help you make your case. If you have any further questions about planning your next event, feel free to reach out to us - the Einsteins of Events are all about making event planners' lives easier!