How to Get a Never-Ending Stream of Referrals for Your Wedding Planning Business
Marketing experts claim that one referral-generated call is equal to 12 cold calls.
Think about that for a moment.
Someone who is referred to your wedding planning business is the equivalent of you taking the time and energy to get 12 potential clients to even look your way!
Follow these tips to dramatically increase referrals or word-of-mouth marketing for your wedding planning business:
A common misunderstanding is assuming that doing a great job automatically gets you referrals. Not so! Those around you–clients, vendors, friends–can't possibly know you WANT referrals unless you tell them.
The truth is that a lot of the people you know think your business is exactly where you want it…unless you communicate otherwise.
Explain to family and friends why their referrals are so valuable to you and the ultimate success of your wedding business. Whatever you do, don't beg or pressure anyone to refer clients to you. Try something like: “I get most of my business by referrals. It's the best way I know to spread the word about what I do, so your recommendations are important to me.”
Take Advantage of your ‘WOW' Moments.
When your client communicates just how fantastic your wedding creation skills are and how grateful she is to you for making her wedding spectacular; or the groom is blown away about how much money you shaved off the wedding budget, that's the perfect opportunity for you to talk about wanting (actually, needing) referrals.
Many times your client will actually say something like: “So-and-so could probably use your help”. Don't let these signals slip away by assuming that a referral is going to follow. Offer to help by saying something like, “I'd love to invite her to my free introductory session,” and get the contact information right then and there.
Make it Easy For People to Send you Referrals.
Get into the habit of sending out a short survey to your clients after the wedding and include an area for them to write down the names and contact information of their engaged friends/relatives.
Another option is to use gift certificates or special offer coupons that clients and advocates can fill out for you to send to others who may need your professional wedding planning services.
Know your Ideal Client and Tell your Advocates about Her in Detail.
Your advocates–those who proactively tell the world about your wedding business–may not always recognize when people need you or your services. They may even unknowingly send the wrong kind of client your way.
If, for example, your wedding business is targeted to the professional woman who works 50+ hours a week, who is planning a modern-style, high-end wedding, then describe her to your advocates. (And if you can't describe who your ideal client is, how on earth do you expect others to refer the right person to you?!)
**TRY THIS: Create a “When to Refer” or “When Someone Needs Me” information sheet that spells out how to recognize when a potential bride needs your professional wedding services and include it with your client's Welcome Kit.
Create Materials to Give your Advocates to Distribute.
Your advocates likely move in different circles, and as a result have access to different people than you do. Make sure they have the necessary materials to pass your information on to potential clients right away (rather than having to ask you to send stuff to the person they wanted to refer to you).
Generously share your business cards and provide marketing materials (that prominently include your website address), so that advocates can do what they do best for you–tell others about your wedding business.
Thank your Advocates.
Thanking someone for a referral with a personal hand-written note is fantastic and should be done immediately. But why not go a step further and add a gift? It doesn't have to be expensive. A Starbucks gift card, or an online Amazon gift certificate–whatever you can readily get your hands on.
Be a Promoter for Others.
One of the easiest ways to have someone become an advocate for you is to be an advocate for them. Because after all, what goes around, comes around!