A guest post from Kathy Dalpra, Bride Appeal
According to Splendid Insights, in 2013 the #1 way luxury couples found their wedding vendors was through other vendors; more than referrals from family and friends or wedding blogs.
There is always an opportunity to manifest new referral relationships with local vendors in your area, regardless of the existence of caddy cliques and old boys clubs that have been referring to each other for years. Even these vendors may have a reason to recommend someone new; such as if their usual standby is already booked.
But how do you break into tight circles like this and create rapport out of thin air? My recent run in with Andy might give you a hint.
At this year’s Wedding MBA, Andy Ebon and I had the opportunity to take our online acquaintance offline and finally meet in person. (Seriously super sweet and smart guy. Go see him speak!) We chatted for a while and then I asked him, “So Andy, what is the perfect referral for you?” He paused and said, “Kathy, that’s the best question I’ve heard all day!”
Why did my question strike a cord? Because it wasn’t about me! Many times when we network with peers, we make the mistake of getting anxious and even a little greedy. What can I get out of this relationship? How can I convince this guy to refer me quickly?
But when was relationship building ever one-sided?
If you want to earn the attention of peers that already refer to other providers who do what you do, you’ve got to be willing to give first. The thinking here isn’t to somehow buy your way into their good graces. It’s to show that you can bring value to the relationship and to demonstrate the kind of provider they can expect you to be to the people they refer. After all, how you treat your peers is likely how you treat your customers.
When you give first, without agenda, you break the ice. Before you know it, a new referral relationship has been forged.
But there is a little more to this. You’re not going to win any hearts sending your peers referrals that have no chance of booking them; such as if they don’t have the right budget or simply aren’t a good match.
I didn’t ask Andy who his perfect client is because I was trying to impress him or anything. I sincerely wanted to know the answer! I have a lot of peers who do some type of marketing for businesses in the event industry, myself included. But that doesn’t mean we’re all alike. We all specialize in various aspects of marketing and cater to different business challenges.
The more clearly I understand Andy’s audience, the easier it will be for me to recognize when the right person comes along and the better my referrals will be. Plus, I’ll become a more valuable resource to my clients by giving them options when I can’t help.
The same is true for you. Genuinely caring about the type of prospect that is the perfect fit for your colleagues allows you to become a better scout for them so you’re not irritating them with referrals that aren’t a match. The better your referrals, the happier your vendor friends will be and the more likely they will return the favor in the near future.
Want more and better referrals from your colleagues? Give great referrals first.
About today’s guest writer
Kathy DalPra is a former bridal-preneur who unexpectedly fell in love with web design and SEO. She helps wedding professionals use their website to get more traffic, leads and inquiries so they can create a thriving wedding business in any economy. Learn how to turn curious visitors into paying brides™ on her website.
The Wedding Marketing Authority
W E D D I N G W I R E