Sometimes getting an AV quote feels like a never-ending process. You go back and forth with your AV company, never really on the same page only to get your quote weeks later. By then you have made changes to your event and need to start the process all over again. Sound familiar? It doesn’t have to be that way! On today’s Whiteboard Wednesday Will Curran teach you how to get your AV quotes faster. We’re covering 9 simple steps that will allow you to get AV your quotes faster so you can focus on the big picture of your event!
How to Get Your AV Quotes Faster
How’s it goin’, Endless fans out there in the world? Welcome back to another edition of Whiteboard Wednesday, where today we’re talking about how to get your AV quotes faster than you ever thought possible before. We’re gonna be talking a little bit about this and what it takes to get just a little bit more out of your AV company so that way you can get your AV quotes faster, get your planning done faster, and hopefully be sipping some mai tais on the beach real soon.
Meetings Over Email
So first tip that we have for you is to consider doing a meeting instead of an email. Far too often, as an AV company do we see it where clients email us and say here’s this, this, and this, all this information, can you get me a quote right away? Look, I totally get it, we wanna get this done, have your people working for you while you work on other things, all these things like that, and meetings take time. But as you know, nothing beats something face-to-face, that’s why we’re event planners. AV companies truly do agree. Far too often do you email over some specs and I’ve even seen it where some AV companies will then come back and ask you more questions in email. And you end up spending more time actually emailing back and forth and trying to understand what’s going on, and the questions that you have, and this and this and that, and things get lost in translation. Ugh.
Let’s just solve it all by emailing at first and saying hey, let’s set up a meeting. During this meeting, a lot of questions are going to be answered and a lot of questions and things are going to get knocked out all at once, in a short one-hour long meeting. That’s all it takes. It shouldn’t be like a four-hour planning session or anything like that. In just a one-hour meeting, sometimes 45 minutes, you can go through all the details. They can ask a question. If you say something, it allows them to get a follow-up.
We all have way too much email, let’s reduce it, knock it out in a one-hour meeting. And you will find that you’ll end up being able to get your AV quotes faster because all the questions will be answered in one get-go. So you have that meeting, the next thing comes up to get prepared for your first meeting.
Prepare for Your First Meeting
Obviously, you wanna come prepared. And not, you know, be sucking up anybody’s time. You don’t wanna waste your time. So what I recommend is come prepared to the table with a couple of key pieces of information. And I know this seems like a little bit like basics but sometimes it gets forgotten and my gosh, it can slow down the process.
First is, your venue. Obviously knowing what venue you’re gonna have it in, but also, specific rooms that you’re going to be doing things in. Far too often, when it comes to the venue, everyone says okay cool, yeah, we’re gonna be at the XYZ Hotel and that’s it. Well, what rooms are you gonna be in? What’s going on inside those rooms? A lot of follow up questions. Again, see how a meeting can be really, really easy.
Next up as well, is come prepared with a contact for that venue. A lot of times it may seem like, hey, even if you’re bringing in an outside AV company or it’s the in-house AV company, a lot of times they wanna be connected with who your in-house contact is from the venue. The reason why this is important is that person can answer a lot of questions that you might not have the answers to. And instead of hey, here’s a bunch of questions you go to the venue, wait for a response, you get the information, you pass it off to the AV company. Instead, connect the AV company directly to that contact. What it’ll allow them to do is ask for things like layouts, ask them for standing procedures, it’ll also allow them to review any restrictions that you may have and make sure that you’re not falling into those restrictions as well. So again, saving you time. It allows them to do the work for you rather than you doing the work as well.
Create a Detailed Schedule
Next up is a detailed schedule. Not just talking about “hey, we’re gonna need you from 9 am to 6 pm.” But what exactly is going on in what rooms and when exactly is this all happening (including when are breaks)? I think if you can put together an extremely detailed schedule where each room is a column and it says exactly what’s going on, how many microphones you need in each room, a lot of that information can speed up the time it takes versus the AV company either guessing, which is not a good idea, or B, having to come back and try to get that information out of you. So put together a detailed schedule and it will allow you to be able to get a quote much faster and make sure that you have accurate labor pricing.
Have a Vision for Content
Next up is a vision for your content. It’s very, very far too often we say oh yeah, we’re gonna have a general session, we’re gonna have a couple breakout rooms, that’s it. Well, do you have a vision? Do you wanna have a band playing? Do you wanna have XYZ happen? Do you wanna have it where all of a sudden a drumline comes through the room and you need to have ’em all mic’d up. Talk about the vision for that content. But also, as well, what would be the ideal scenario. Do you want video content playing? All those things like that. They wanna know what content is going to happen, otherwise, you end up getting stuck with generic quotes that end up being far too generic than you need them to be. That’s a whole nother topic on their own. So again, content vision. They wanna know what’s going on.
Next up is the layouts. We talked a little bit about how it’s important to contact them, connect them with your contact, but it’s also important to be able to hand over the layouts as well. Hopefully, at this point, you know what rooms you’re gonna use, what they’re gonna be laid out. Is it classroom style? Is it rounds? Whatever it may be. Put those layouts and get them over to your AV company.
The reason why this is also important, it allows them to make decisions that affect your quote faster. For things like are we gonna need a rig? Are we gonna need rear projection? All the things that you don’t wanna have to worry about, that you want your AV company to worry about. They wanna get that information. Far too often do I see it where you get into the quoting process, they get it together, and then they say, okay, this is looking good, now let me see the layouts. Okay, now everything’s gonna change.
This allows them to get a quicker idea of what’s happening in each room and any potential pitfalls. And it allows you to get an accurate quote very fast. So again, to review, come to your meeting with your venue and contact, detailed schedule, content vision, layouts. Just some basics on there. Any more information you can give, the better.
Know How and What to Compare on Quotes
Alright, next piece for how to get your AV quotes faster is related to price shopping. Look, I get it, we gotta keep it in the budget. We gotta make sure that we do are not just splurging money where we don’t need to and we are potentially choosing the lowest cost vendor. Totally get it. It’s totally a fair argument. However, if you are price shopping, and you’re comparing AV companies based on price, a very, very important thing is to be transparent about competitor’s quotes. This is insanely controversial and I’m probably gonna get some flack in the comments for it, but far too often are we told, oh there’s another vendor, they’re at X price. I need you to come below that. Or hey, even worse, I’m picking two vendors, I don’t know which one I’m gonna pick quite yet, but you know you’re gonna pick the one with the lowest price. The problem with this is that far too often, vendors do not get compared in an apples to apples comparison.
What that means is far too often you think you’re getting the same thing, this screen sounds the same as this screen. This laptop sounds the same as this laptop. This microphone sounds the same as this laptop. But far too often, they are not. So what I recommend that you do is be transparent about competitor’s quotes. And what I mean, and this is gonna get a lot of comments and flack in the comments and questions is just share the competitor’s quotes with the other company. But with one caveat, blackout the pricing.
The reason why this is really important and why this saves time is two-fold. First of all, it allows the company to see exactly what the other company is providing so they can provide the exact same equipment, the exact same labor, all that sort of stuff, so you can see a true pricing comparison.
The second piece of it is that AV companies like us like to nerd out and know the different pieces of gear. I know you look at it and it’s a bunch of alphabet soup and different letters and this and that. Totally cool. Don’t want you to speak AV. Or you don’t have to speak AV I should say. But I can look at a list of equipment and very, very quickly determine exactly what I need to do and build a quote that matches it perfectly. The easiest quotes are the fastest quotes are when we have to compare one quote apples to apples because we can literally just go in there and say I’ll take the exact same thing and build it in.
However, the important part is to still have this first meeting. The reason why is that far too often that if you do this without a meeting, they just go, okay, here’s the exact same thing, but it could be that they’re making the same mistake the other company’s having and not asking the right questions. And that’s where the first meeting comes in. It’s gonna make it so that it can check it and make sure it’s good to go. What’s also great is a quick, quick bonus part of doing this and sharing it with this is the AV company will look for potential pitfalls that you might be having that will make it so that you have a poor experience or the reason why they’re cheaper is because they’re leaving out X. Or their labor is not set up for Y. Whatever it may be. Again, being transparent, I find is far more helpful than trying to hide things anyways.
Alright, on to number four. Replying quickly to AV questions. So we talked a little bit about how they’re gonna answer a lot of questions and talk a lot in the first meeting to get what they need. But a lot of times things pop up where we go, I didn’t think about this. Oh my gosh, why is there 30 microphones on this quote? Whatever it may be, we wanna make sure that when that company asks for a question, that we reply quickly.
The biggest long and slow down I’ve seen in the process, beyond meetings and beyond not sharing the right information is that taking forever to answer questions. And look, get it, we’re all busy. But if you’re looking to get that quote right away, you gotta answer the questions right away. Sometimes if it’s a lot of questions, just hopping on a phone call and knocking it out can really help. Maybe even having a follow-up meeting potentially would be great as well. But the biggest thing is that you wanna make sure to answer ’em quickly because those questions are what is keeping them from getting you the quote. Cool.
Be Open to Quote Walk-Throughs
Alright, number five. Be open to quote walkthroughs. We have this radical process at Endless called quote walkthroughs where we sit down with our clients and we actually walk them through everything line by line. What we found is a lot of clients initially say ugh, I don’t have time for that, can you just send me the quote? Totally get it, you wanna look through the quote, but this is what ends up happening. I send you the quote. You put it in your email box, you don’t look at it for three weeks, four weeks. Gets pushed off. Oh my gosh, the deadline is coming up. I gotta decide. You’re stressed out and you can’t make the right decision because it’s been a couple weeks since you looked at the quotes. Or even hours. Whatever it may be.
So what I find is I do this thing called a quote walkthrough. A quote walkthrough is basically when I walk you through that quote line by line. And what that allows me to do is to show you everything. So what it does is it allows you to understand the equipment better. In fact, that’s a bonus tip for your first meeting. If you know equipment basics and some small things about it, it allows you to ask for very specific things that you need, versus the AV company guessing or having to build out an elaborate quote that can catch all in every single scenario. But when you do these quote walkthroughs, it allows you to understand what’s on the quote but what you find is there’s this catch 22. Sure you’re spending time with the company walking you through the quote line by line, but what you’ll find is you might find there are mistakes made in it, you might find that there’s already edits because the schedule’s already changed. Whatever it may be. And what it allows you to do is to get an updated revised quote even faster. And on the spot, you can make those decisions really, really quickly. And get it fixed right away. So while it seems counterproductive to have more meetings, it ends up saving you more time. I promise you.
Make Deadlines Clear
Number six, being clear about deadlines. Far too often do I see it where we go into a meeting and unless we ask for it, we don’t know what your deadline and your schedule looks like. From the beginning, you need to be very, very transparent about your deadlines. From the second that you contact the company to the second you set up your first meeting, all those sorts of pieces. If you need to have this done in a week, you need to give us a heads up as soon as possible.
The reason why is because we need every minute that we get in this quoting process that we wanna get done faster, always does take time. And that’s one of the unfortunate things is it’s just one of those processes we haven’t automated with computers quite yet and it can’t do it for us. But the second we get there that’ll be fantastic. It does take manual labor to select the right equipment, the right labor, and build you an accurate quote in the budget. So with that being said, be clear about your deadlines. And also, be clear if there is some flexibility in it as well. Because sometimes having a little bit of extra time means that you get an accurate quote and it isn’t rushed. They say Rome wasn’t built in a day, so same with AV quotes. They sometimes take a little bit longer than a day. So be clear about those deadlines from the beginning. So there you go.
- Meetings over email
- Come prepared for your first meeting with a bunch of information.
- Create a detailed schedule of your event
- Have a Vision for Content
- Envision room layouts
- When doing price shopping, be transparent with other companies’ quotes. Know how to compare them.
- Reply quickly to your AV companies questions.
- Be open to the idea of quote walkthroughs.
- Be clear about deadlines.
With that, you should see that a much improvement in the time it takes for you to get quotes and you should see an extremely fast turn around and on top of that, your AV company will love you because you’re getting them the information they need to do their job. So, I hope this was super, super successful.
If you’re watching this right now on YouTube, click that subscribe and like button down below. We really appreciate it. And leave us a comment. We wanna know, what tips do you have for getting quotes from vendors faster? Do you have a certain tip? Leave it down in the comments below, we wanna hear it below. If you like this a lot, again, smash that like button. We really appreciate it. And if you have any questions just feel free to ask don’t hesitate, especially if you have any ideas for future Whiteboard Wednesday videos, we’d love to see ’em. I hope this was super successful and helpful for you guys. I hope you have a fantastic Wednesday, and we will see you all very, very soon. Adios.
How do you get your AV quote faster? Comment below and let us know your best tips!