Today’s Guest Post is written by Debbie Orwat, owner of Planner’s Lounge, a resource site for wedding and event planners. Debbie has been an integral part of the wedding industry since 2004. She owned and operated Save the Date Events (a wedding planning business) and Studio Wed (a wedding planning studio), both in Denver, which she recently sold. She brings insight into what planners are looking for when partnering with other professionals in the industry. Planners can be the BIGGEST source of referrals for photographers, entertainers, stationers, filmmakers, etc. Learn from her about how to get more referrals from planners.
Have you been working hard to build relationships with wedding planners but aren’t receiving the referrals you had hoped for? Wedding planners receive numerous inquiries each week from event professionals who would like to be on their preferred vendor list. Wedding planners can send a lot of business to event professionals, so why aren’t you receiving any leads from the wedding planners in your area?
1. They have not worked with you yet
As wedding planners, our reputation IS our company. We need to have worked with you or have really strong recommendations and references from someone we trust before we can refer your business to one of our clients.
Newer event planners are often more open to recommending event professionals they haven’t worked with yet since they are still building their vendor list. This article on how to get noticed by event planners will help you start building relationships with event planners in your area (link: http://sageweddingpros.com/2012/05/how-to-get-noticed-by-wedding-planners/). Be patient and don’t focus on just one or two event planners. Experienced wedding planners do add new vendors to their lists but now might not be the right time.
2. Your brand doesn’t fit with the planner’s brand
If the planning company has a young, hip, modern vibe and you are a photographer ready to retire who hasn’t updated your wardrobe in 20 years, it doesn’t matter how good your work is. If the planner refers you to their young, hip, modern clients, the clients are going to be so confused and wonder what the planner was thinking, which reflects badly on the planner. Before trying to build a relationship with a wedding planning company, check out their brand, blog, and social media outlets to see if you and your brand are a good fit. Look for those planners who have a brand and ideal client similar to yours.
3. Your work doesn’t fit with what the planner likes
Sometimes it just isn’t a good fit if the planner doesn’t love your work. There are a lot of event planners out there. Find a few who connect with your style and loves your work.
4. Your reputation isn’t the greatest
Wedding planners talk to each other: in person, in private online groups, and at networking events. It is surprising how one negative experience with an event planner in your area can affect your relationship with other local event planners. Keep your reputation squeaky clean and overdeliver on your product or service when you are working with an event planner.
5. You don’t pay attention to our schedules
If you are hard to work with, never read the wedding planner’s timeline, question the planners judgement on the wedding day, don’t share photos with the planner after the event (if you are a photographer), make a mistake for a client and don’t fix it, or you are consistently late, the wedding planner is not going to refer you in the future.
6. You have a unique product or service
We may not have had a chance to refer you yet if you offer a unique service or product. Take time to send occasional email reminders about your business, comment on the social media posts from the wedding planners in your area, and attend networking events so that you are in their mind when the need or opportunity arises when they can refer you.
Reputation is so important for wedding planners. Sometimes we are just so busy that we can’t respond to all event professionals who inquire about working together. A full-time wedding planner can easily receive 5-10 inquiries a week from event professionals who want to be referred by the planner.
What has helped your business earn referrals from wedding planners in your area? Please share your advice in the comments!
This guest post was written by Debbie Orwat. Debbie is the Founder and Chief Inspiration Officer at Planner’s Lounge. Planner’s Lounge empowers wedding and event planners with the tools they need to succeed including classes, coaching, online forums, templates, and business resources.