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, and is a method that leads to ways to make money.
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!
Valuable info. Thanks
Glad you found it helpful, Bre! 🙂
I will use all of the tips to promote my
business and want to thank you for
your great advice Debbie.
This is very helpful, since I plan to expand/promote more for the next year =)
knowledge is power
Debbie, Great Article! Your very first line is SO true… “A common misunderstanding is assuming that doing a great job automatically gets you referrals. Not so!”
I like your article so much that I’m sharing it on my twitter and facebook accounts on Sat Mar 17th so other wedding businesses can learn from it. Feel free to join me http://twitter.com/weddingloveknot and http://www.facebook.com/weddingloveknot. Would love to connect with you.
Thank you so much for your feedback and support. (Not sure why, but I’m not getting notification of comments, anymore. So sorry for not replying sooner.)
Thanks Debbie!! Just reading your tips and i must they are so valuable!!
Great advise Debbie, thank you!
I think yo for your informative article. I am a wedding planner and use a wedding referral directories to help increase my referral base. I find that http://www.idomadeeasy.com actually provides free referrals and only charges me for sales that I can close, so it cost me nothing but gives me lots of exposure.
Have been reading over all your articles and commend you for sharing all this valuable info. I’ve planned for 6 years but never really made a professional go at this business. This fall that all changes, when I get all my ducks in a row!
Good for you! In 6 years I’m sure you’ve gathered tons of information. Now it’s time to make it work for you. Keep going!! 🙂
I am delighted to have stubbled upon all of this information. I will refer to this often. I decided in February to plunge into event planning (weddings)and I
have been moving ahead. I am a little nervous why I dont
know. My photographer for my wedding almost a year ago, watched how I planned my own wedding and immediately said
” You should do this, you are perfect for it”, and I sighed and said I KNOW……… Cause for me it is effortless. Wish me prosperity as I endeavor to move forward in business,
First let me just thank you for sharing all of this information with us. I am kind of new to all this. Here’s my story. Every since I can remember (during my adulthood) I have always had a passion for decorating. I got married 3 years ago and during the whole planning process I loved every minute of it. I had a wedding coordinator but I was involved in all the details of my wedding. It was like I just couldn’t get enough, and then it was all over. Just like that a year worth of planning all wrapped into one day that just flies by. So I then decided that this is something I want to continue to do. My wedding coordinator really enjoyed working with me and has offered to help me in any way. Oh yeah she is a family member. So this is my biggest issue. It just seems like every time I think I’m gonna get the chance to do a family member or friends wedding it always falls through. This has been very discouraging to me, but my husband trys to keep me pushing for what I really want to do. I’m just not sure where to start as far as getting my first client. I know that this is something that I can do. I don’t question my talent at all. And by the way I do live in a small town. Just any advice or tips you could give would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
Let me be the first to tell you that it is not uncommon to struggle with family. I have been told (and experienced personally) family is the most challenging to work with. Try changing your target. Try people at church or at work. Make a portfolio of your work and have it ready to show during a consultation. You will likely find that those who know you, yet don’t really know you are a little easier to work with. Lastly, don’t give up. It takes some time to get going in this business…especially if you live in a small town. But it can be done.
Great Article! it’s so much value in your words, that I almost want to pay you just for me reading this… and I think I will.
Joshua Haggerty – Business Development Director
I love the details this comes with. I had an idea about referrals but this is more. Thank you
Wedding planning is serious business. Word of mouth is the best way to market, provided you are good in your business. Impressing the bride and groom will definitely send more business in future. Also create your social medial pages and publish some quick tips that is what the bride wants for that perfect wedding.
Excellent feedback. Thanks so much for sharing.