Hey lovelies! We have a fab article here by Valerie Pritt, owner of the Engaged Wedding Planner Academy. In this post, she shares why networking is so important in the wedding industry, how to network effectively, and where to focus your networking efforts. Enjoy!
Networking for Wedding Planners
Networking. IT IS A MUST. I cannot stress it enough—and it’s a subject we visit over and over. Why? Because it’s that important. If you’re currently waiting for vendors to pick up the phone to call you with a warm welcome, you’re going to be waiting around for a long time. Sorry. That’s just the way the wedding industry works. There is so much turnover and so many posers entering the market that vendors just don’t have the time to vet them all.
So why am I telling you to get out there and network like your business depends on it? Well, because it does, to a certain degree. The benefits too are bountiful. For example, it’s handy to have vendor partners for your preferred vendor list—this is how you get a branded wedding every time. Another benefit is if you want to do any styled shoots for marketing purposes—not necessarily for publication purposes, but to have photos to share on your website, blog, and social media accounts. And, lastly, vendor referrals. Keep in mind which wedding vendors will be most likely to give you a referral. For instance, your favorite DJ will probably not be passing those leads like a hot potato—not like a florist or photographer would. So be sure you’re spending your precious and limited time on vendors who will give you a good ROT (return on time). Now, I’m not saying you should never network with DJs, bakers, or photobooth people. Just be aware of the amount of time you’re spending on them.
How to Network Effectively
Believe it or not, there is proper etiquette and a right way to network. Please do not use a vendor’s contact form to request a meeting. A vendor will happily open your message, thinking it’s a bride, only to be filled with disappointment, which, in turn, leaves a sour taste for whatever you are requesting. Find an email address and use it. Also, never ask a vendor to refer you right off the bat. They don’t know you and they have no reason to trust you. Instead, invite them to meet with you and offer to buy them coffee for their time. And do your research before requesting a meeting. Are they a good fit for your ideal client? Do they share the same brand vision? Who is the owner of the company? Last tip, never use a bridal show as a opportunity to network. These shows are specifically for brides. These vendors have paid good money to be there. Their number one goal is to meet brides—not newer wedding planners who don’t have brides yet.
Ways to Network
There are many different ways to network, but you’ll have to actively seek them out. You can network in group meetings, one-on-one, in person, via video chat, in online groups, or any combination of these. Start by searching for local wedding industry Facebook groups. Keep in mind that for the admins to accept your request, you will need to have an actual business. Link to your Biz Fan Page in the “About” section of your personal Facebook page. You can also go to local wedding industry networking events to start to build trust.
Having a peer-to-peer relationship with your fellow vendors creates a multitude of opportunity, though; so it’s worth getting out of your comfort zone. Plus, nothing ever grows inside the comfort zone.
Go ahead and download our 5-Day Networking Challenge to start boosting your visibility within your local wedding market. Trust me, if you’re an up-and-coming wedding planner, you need to do this challenge.
Valerie Pritt is a mom, wife, biz owner and wedding planner. She is the dedicated educator behind the Engaged Wedding Planner Academy. She seeks to inspire, empower, and encourage inexperienced wedding planners to take action.