One of the 8 legs of Marketing which I regularly teach about and is very effective when done right is the leg of Referrals. Getting referrals from people and setting up to get those referrals is a trick done by the best of the best and can be done by all if they follow the right steps. Word of Mouth is the absolutely best way of marketing and when you can harness its power and control it, you will get more Brides who are easier to work with and will pay more to work with you. Today I will speak about three different ways to get referrals that work. There are three basic places that you can get referrals from and we will go into detail about how to get them.
Getting referrals from other Vendors.
Too many times in the Wedding industry, I see the following scenario:
Random New Vendor gets the clever idea that “Hey- reception venues are where the Brides go first- I’ll go there and give them my cards to hand out and I will be SWIMMING in Brides and events”. They rarely look at the other side of the coin where the reception venue is standing. They ASSUME that the reception venue is sitting in their office thinking out loud, “Boy I wish various vendors would stop by today and give me their cards so I can refer them out to my Brides and get them some business.” The thing that is most important to these venues is to get those Brides in the first place. The next thing on their agenda is protect those Brides from having a bad experience. They are certainly not going to randomly pass out some stranger’s card.
The key to getting them to refer you is to give them a reason to refer you. Many times they are well within their right and reason to say that they need to see you r work. Keep in mind. Their first line item on their agenda is to book brides for their facility/business-that is presumably how most of them make money. The number one reason why they will refer you is because they trust you and/or they like you. Getting them to trust and like you becomes a process, not an event (remember that vendor bringing in the cards and expects the situation to be an immediate response- it rarely if ever works that way). Part of the way you get them to trust and like you is to simply understand how you can help them and what you can add to their business.
Many times Past Brides are thrilled with what you have done for them in their lives, but they remain an untapped resource. When you tap into that resource, the Bride can become a raving fan on your behalf. Imagine having a team of all your past Brides out there as a sales force- trying to find you business. If you have done 50 weddings in the past and each of them found you 1 wedding over the next year, that would be a good thing- no? Here is how you make that happen: Ask. It is that simple. You have to ask at three points 1) when you book the Bride 2) after you have performed your service 3) every three-6 months after. When you set up yourself to come in and ask for the referral, you will get them.
Here is how I suggest you set yourself up to ask for referrals from your satisfied Brides:
When you are signing the paperwork with them (in the beginning to do the gig), make sure you understand what they expect from you. Once you have a clear understanding, (repeat back to her what her expectations are) say, “If I do all that for you, would it be okay if I asked you to refer me to some of your friends who are getting married?”. Almost all the time, they will say “yes”. You then need to ask them for that business and keep asking them for that business.
You can set yourself up for referrals by simply being the person that gives with no expectations of getting in return. There is a saying that goes like this: When you help others get what they want, you will always get what you want. This is as true as it gets and I have found this principle to be one worth living by. What is it that others want? Most times in the wedding industry, they want leads, they want referrals, they want to know that someone is out there and has their back. I spoke at an association last night and I asked f anyone had experienced getting a referral from another vendor lately. One man raised his hand and said he had. I asked him, “did you want to pay them back- did you feel an un-written obligation to that person”. He replied, “yes”. I asked, “did you pay them back?” , he replied, “absolutely”.
One way I have recently found to help your fellow wedding vendors was introduced to me by one of my clients. They hired me to come and speak to a group of vendors who can send them business. It cost them less than $1000, but they ended up getting 4 referrals within the week, 2 of which booked and more than tripled his investment. They have told me that they have a regular stream of referrals now from all the vendors who came to listen to me speak. He has 15 weddings on the books specifically from that event. He simply thought outside the box and brought something to the table that these vendors wanted. Now compare this to the vendor who comes in with the business cards asking for referrals- HUGE difference.
Word of Mouth advertising is the best way to get business. Use these techniques and get more in the coming year.
Until Next Week, Here’s to your success!