Beginning wedding planners face the primary dilemma of acquiring clients to jumpstart their business. The only way to get clients to notice you is to first let them know your business exists. They have to know you enough to trust you to plan and organize their wedding. How do you start this? It simply can begin with business networking.
Why do you need to network? Knowing the people in the business puts you in the right position in the wedding industry. It lets your name be passed along from one vendor to another, hoping this will reach the ears of a newly engaged couple. Simply put, business networking is all about building relationships that sell for you.
Get more leads for your wedding planning business
1. Make a list of potential vendors
To be a player in the wedding industry, you have to first know all the other vendors playing with and against you. Check online vendor listings or phone directories for lists of the wedding vendors in your area. Note their business name and contact details for each category and organize it on a spreadsheet.
2. Make friends in the wedding business
Now that you have a list of the local wedding vendors, it’s time you get to work. In your spare time, get in touch with each vendor on your list through a phone call or email. Introduce yourself as a wedding planner and briefly give them a background of your business. Is it possible for you to meet sometime to discuss business opportunities? Also make it a point to attend bridal shows where you will have your chance to meet with the major players in all fields of the wedding industry. Arrive early to avoid the crowd of brides and grooms, and get acquainted with each vendor. Bring a stack of your business cards that you can distribute to each vendor you speak with.
3. Become a preferred vendor
Asking for referrals from other wedding vendors is ideally done face to face initially. At your meeting, make sure you discuss your proposal for a business tie-up Mobdro properly and professionally. Do they have a list of preferred vendors they endorse to their clients? If yes, can they add you to their list? You can offer them a discounted rate and in return, tell them you will also add them to your roster of favored vendors. Not all vendors will be warm and accommodating; don’t take this personally. Maybe they are just cold with all vendors, or you may have caught them at the wrong time. Say thank you for their time and move on to the next opportunity.
4. Introduce yourself to wedding consultants and fellow wedding planners
Fellow wedding planners are your direct competitors in this industry because you offer the same services and target the same market. But with the proper attitude and approach, they will not be your competitors all the time. Wedding consultants and other wedding planners can serve as your mentors in this industry. They can introduce you to great photographers, venues, florists, etc. and give you some professional tips regarding wedding planning. Most importantly, they can provide you with some referrals. Most of them, especially those who have limited manpower, can only handle one to two events per day. It is important you know how to build a good relationship with them, because they can be generous with referrals when they become unavailable. Your goal now should be to become the first wedding planner on their list for referrals.
5. Turn your inexperience to a strength
When you meet with other wedding vendors or fellow wedding planners, they will most likely ask “how long have you been planning weddings?” You know you are new and still a bit inexperienced. Don’t let this discourage you; instead turn this around and make your inexperience a strength. Being a newbie makes you more eager to personalize and work harder for the client’s wedding. You can even afford to offer a discounted rate since you are still new. Make sure it is not so low though they will doubt your skill.
6. Earn their trust
Once a vendor refers you to any of their clients, make sure you return the favor by showing excellence and pride on making the wedding a success. Vendors who worked with you in the past and genuinely liked your solid service and professionalism are more likely to refer you again. This is the kind of relationship you want to achieve in this business.
Your referral system program
1. Discounted rate or upgrades
Most vendors are ethically inclined to become guarded when you offer them a monetary reward for each referral. So instead, why not offer a discounted rate that they can pass on to their client? For example a $50 discount will be given if the bride informs you that they learned about you through a specific vendor. Or a special upgrade on their service can also be offered as a promotional option.
2. Special treats
There are rewards you can give back to your fellow wedding vendors for every referral apart from cash. Offer to organize their company party or their favorite charity event for free. Mobdro App for PC Or treat them for dinner or a drink or two for a successful event together. This is a perfect way to cap off your recent wedding event and great for building a sustainable working relationship.. After every event, why not send them a thank you note along with a Starbucks gift card? This will also be appreciated and remembered.
3. Discounted/ free advertisement and referral back
Any form of advertisement is always welcomed by all wedding vendors. Do you have a website? Tell them if they agree to your referral proposal, you will advertise their name/business on your website at a discounted rate or even for free! Do you have social media accounts? You can have the vendors featured weekly or monthly on all your accounts for free. Do you have your own office or wedding store? Tell them their business cards and brochures can be placed in a designated area of your office where drop-in clients can have their free pick.
4. List of preferred wedding partners
Create your own list of preferred wedding partners which you can offer to clients. This listing will assist clients in knowing where they can shop and in selecting vendors they want to be part of their wedding. Inform the wedding vendors that this list will appear on your website and portfolio, giving them ample exposure to all your clients.
You can also create your own comprehensive wedding package deal which consists of all the needed vendors for a wedding. Inform the vendor they will be automatically hired once the client accepts this package. Vendor availability will have to be considered of course.
6. Start a blog
Create a blog where you can write feature articles regarding previous weddings you have handled. On each post, cite all partner wedding vendors you have worked with on that particular event with links to their websites. You can also write a feature about the vendor themselves, a brief summary of their background and your experience working with them.
7. Offer to be a guest blogger on their website
If the wedding vendor has their own website, offer to write as a guest blogger for them. You can write a testimonial how you witnessed first-hand their exemplary service. Be honest and don’t exaggerate your words. Make it more realistic by citing a technical difficulty and how the vendor managed to save the situation.
Avoid bluntly giving monetary kickbacks to vendors
Referral fees, commissions, kickbacks and mark ups are a trend among wedding planners, but others contend it to be unethical and in many cases illegal. It appears to be behind your client’s back and speaks about your character as a business person. It also makes your business seem as if you are not as good as other planners because why will you settle for lesser pay anyway? And what if the bride decides to call the vendor and realizes the actual rate? You might end up losing the trust and contract of a booked client.
New wedding planners often fall prey in this kind of system. Keep in mind it is always better for wedding vendors to refer you not because of the incentive, but for the quality of your work, talent and experience as a wedding planner.
Be a relationship builder and not a kickback giver.
Other reasons which will discourage wedding vendors from referring you
1. They will most likely stop referring your business if they don’t get any referrals in return. What’s worse is if they notice you keep having the same vendors on your list, while they go unnoticed. Make your partners feel that the relationship you build with them is of mutual benefit..
2. Some wedding vendors will be turned off if you ask for a referral fee to promote their service.
3. If they are not satisfied with the way you handled a previous event.