Wedding planners are usually the number one source of referrals and leads for many wedding professionals. Because they are helping a couple with all the details of the wedding, they are also the ones that serve as matchmakers between the couple and other wedding pros. So, how do you make more wedding planner friends? Debbie Orwat, owner of Save the Date Events and Creator of Planner’s Lounge, shares with us how to get noticed by a wedding planner…
9 Ways to Get Noticed By A Wedding Planner
1. Take it slow
Building a relationship with an event planner takes time. Start following local event planners on Twitter and “like” their business page on Facebook. Then take time to interact and respond. Comment on their events, reply to their tweets and get to know them.
2. Attend networking events they attend
Are they part of ISES or another local networking group? Are they participating in a bridal show that you are going to be at? If you are connecting with a planner on social media, you can see what upcoming events you could potentially meet at then make sure you show up and introduce yourself.
3. Send an email or note without asking for anything
Here is a script:
“Hi XYZ Planner! I have been following your work and reading your blog for the past few months and am a big fan of your business. Your design talent and experience really shows through in your work. I want to congratulate you on winning a Bride’s Choice award last week. What an accomplishment! I have great respect for you and look forward to meeting in the future. Warm Regards, xxxx.”
The key to this kind of note is that you will be one of the only vendors to send a thoughtful note without expecting anything in return. This will definitely get you noticed even if you don’t receive a response.
4. Be persistent but not a pest
It’s okay to ask for a meeting and follow up but don’t nag or expect to get a meeting right away. Established event planners often receive more than twenty requests per week from photographers and other wedding vendors who want to meet and show us their work. If you don’t get a response, don’t take it personally. Most planners are incredibly busy with clients and may not have time to respond to vendor inquiries and requests.
5. Be creative if you are sending a gift
A gift is definitely not required or expected but event planners tend to receive gifts from vendors. If you choose to send a gift to a planner, use social media to find out her favorite restaurant, whether she likes Starbucks and what her favorite hobby is. Then get creative and figure out a way to include a gift she would like along with your marketing information. For example, if there is an event planner you want to meet and she absolutely loves Starbucks, you could send a $5 Starbucks card along with a coffee mug that has your logo on it. Put a note inside the cup that says “Enjoy a cup of coffee on me while you take a look through our new website.” A planner is much more likely to meet with you if you send a gift or note that shows your creativity.
6. Offer your services complimentary
A photographer can offer a complimentary family photo shoot for the planner and her family. This allows the planner to get to know you and see how you work. A florist can surprise a planner with a birthday delivery of flowers. Any vendor can offer a one-time special offer for a planner to gift to a client such as a photographer offering a complimentary engagement session. This may give you the opportunity to work together.
7. Meet with newer event planners
Instead of trying to meet with established event planners in your area, start building a relationship with planners who have recently started their business. Newer planners are often still looking for the best vendors to work with and are most likely still adding to their recommended vendor list. If you build a relationship from the early stages and do a fantastic job for their clients, they will keep you on their list as their business grows.
8. Be likable
This sounds silly but it’s true. We all want to work with people we connect with and like. Be someone that you would want to meet with – happy, fun, relaxed.
9. Exceed expectations
When you start working with an event planner you like, do whatever you can to exceed her expectations and her client’s expectations. Follow up, respond quickly to emails and over deliver what is expected.
If you keep trying to meet or work with a certain planner but aren’t getting anywhere, it may be best to cut your losses and move on. Maybe he or she just isn’t the best fit for you. They may not be adding to their vendor list at this time or they might contact you at a later time when they need what you have to offer. Above all, don’t get discouraged. Getting referrals from an event planner is great but it’s only one of many ways to build your business.
Head on over to Planner’s Lounge to learn all sorts of wisdom from Debbie!