With the holiday season underway, I am once again in a constant state of stress. No, I’m not worried about the big family get together or the holiday budget. And no, the constant mob that surrounds the mall isn’t getting to me. There is one thing that weighs on me during the holiday season: what do I buy my wife for Christmas?
It seems that every year, despite her constant hint dropping and a numbered list of things to get her (ranked by how happy she’ll be upon reception) I still end up missing the mark. I get the wrong brand, wrong color, wrong size; you name it, I do it. This year, I am determined to succeed, but this got me thinking…if I am so worried about a single gift, how do my potential clients feel while making a decision that could affect their business for months?
With that thought in mind, I set out to create a list of things to consider when hiring an entertainment agency. Hopefully, this will help you more than my wife’s list helps me. Happy hunting!
What kind of entertainment do they offer?
A quick way to shorten your list of potential agencies down is to look at what kind of entertainment they offer and for what type of events? Do they have entertainment specifically geared towards fundraisers, corporate holiday parties, company picnics? If the agency you are considering doesn’t cater to the event you are planning, you might want to look somewhere else because this probably means they do not specialize in the type of event you are planning.
You might also want to look elsewhere if the agency does not have the type of entertainment you are considering. A good agency should have a plethora of entertainment options from hypnotists to comedians. If they can’t offer a variety of options they might not be the agency for you.
What entertainers are they in touch with?
A sign of prestige in the entertainment agency business is what entertainers an agency can get in touch with. Can an agency get you Louis C. K.? Seth Meyers? Jim Gaffigan? If they can, then they probably have a good network of industry connections. They shouldn’t have a problem putting you in touch with the right people and getting you plenty of options if they can get high brow stars.
What is their experience level?
Another way to make your decision is by looking at how long the agency has been around. It is not a sure fire way to ensure that they are experienced, but you don’t stay open for 25+ years without doing something right. Dig into the agency’s history a little bit and see what you can find. When did they open and how have they grown? Once you know a little bit about the agency and what they have done, you should be able to tell if they have the experience needed to handle your event entertainment.
Are they pursuing you?
You can tell a lot about an agency from the way they treat you when you are first showing signs of interest. If they won’t give you the time of day now the odds are they won’t when they have your money. Reach out to the agencies you are considering and see how they treat you. Are they willing to help you despite the fact that you might choose to go with someone else? Does an agent check in with you to see how your decision process is going? Are they genuinely excited about the prospect of working with you?
You want an agency that loves what they do; if they aren’t willing to go the extra mile for you then find an agency that will.
What is their process like?
Another good thing to take a look at while making your decision is an agency’s process. What are the steps that you have to go through to hire them and to book an entertainer? How quickly will entertainment options be put in front of you? Will you have to jump through any hoops?
Surprises generally aren’t fun in the event planning business, so ask what you can expect from the agency you are considering. Find out what you will have to do and what they are willing to take care of. You might find that a specific agency needs to get you on ten different calls before they have an entertainer for you and you might find an agency that puts an option in front of you before they know what you are actually looking for (both situations aren’t great). Look into an agency’s process and you can be (somewhat) sure of what you are getting into.
How much do they charge?
Budget is always a concern. You know you have the budget for entertainment, but how much room does your budget allow for hiring an entertainment agency? A simple inquiry on cost can help you narrow down your agency options without much work. Of course, you will want to make sure you are getting the most bang for your buck. Spending an extra thousand dollars might see you with the agency and entertainer of your dreams .
What are people saying about them?
We all know that before buying any product, reading a few reviews is a must. Before making your final decision on an entertainment agency, make sure to bury yourself in reviews on the agency and its agents. Nothing deters or reassures faster than a review. Find any testimonials or case studies you can, and see if your perception of the agency matches up with what past buyers have experienced. If it doesn’t, you have a red flag on your hands.
I am almost certainly going to fail again this year in my Christmas shopping (it is just in my nature) but with these tips, you should be in the clear. Research every agency you’re interested, get a feel for who they are, what they have done, and what they can do, and pay attention to what others are saying. You’ll be on your way to hiring the perfect agency for your company.
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