Over the years I can't count how often people have reached out to me and wanted me to recommend them. Some have requested a meeting, some have just sent an email, and some just DM or left me a message.
Can you take a guess how many I ended up recommending? If you said Zero, you are right. Look at it from my perspective. I have been in business for a long time. I have my favorites in different categories from quality to budget savers. So, what would it take for me to take a chance on someone I don't even know. I honestly can not think of any circumstance I would be comfortable recommending someone I don't even know.
It wouldn't matter how great their website, Instagram, or business card is. I really don't know if I can count on them, if they provide a good service, or if they are good to work with.
But, I have a little secret that could help you not only get in the door but you just might get some business from it too.
You may know that I am not a fan of the phrase fake it till you make it. Especially when you are around seasoned professionals, trust me they will see right through it. Instead, approach them with humbleness and gratitude that they are spending their time to allow you to meet with them. Make sure you make it worth their time too.
I want to ensure that you not only get in front of them but also start building a healthy relationship. So grab a pencil, I am going to tell you exactly how to do it.
If you are a Coordinator or a Planner, make a list of all the Venues you want to work with.
If you are any other type of business, you may want to reach out to photographers because they are the ones that can provide you with photos and can refer you as well.
Once you get ahold of the person you want to meet with, introduce yourself and let them know you are new to the industry, and appreciate their work or would love to do weddings with their Venue. Let them know you would be grateful if they could just meet with you for 15-30 minutes. You would like to ask them some questions that would help you get started. Let them know that you want to know what you can do to make things easier for them on the day of the event.
When you meet with them, bring them a thank you gift. It can be a coffee mug and gift card, a box of desserts, or anything else that you feel fits your personality. Make sure you also leave them with something that has your business information on it that they can look at later.
Take a list of questions and keep very good notes. I have attached a sample of interview questions you can customize or use just as is. Ask the person for their name, how to spell it if you don't know, their position, and how long they have worked there/owned it. Every person has pet peeves about different services and it will be your goal to understand those grievances and work hard to avoid them.
When you get home/back to the office, go on their social media and follow them and comment on their post about how much you appreciate them and all the insight you learned from them. This does a few things, it gives them a reminder of your social media, they will see that you follow through, and you were not just there to take from them.
The following week send them an email thanking them and a reminder of your website and packages. Ask them if they have a moment to look them over and let you know if they have any suggestions for improvement and comments of any kind. Let them know you would love to offer their clients a discount and you will follow up in a week or so with a special offer just for their clients. -To learn more about structuring this join one of our Workshops on Marketing and Sales.
If you want to really stand out, keep in mind very few people approach others to network with an open and honest heart. Many approach them with fake confidence that seems like arrogance.
Keep in mind you need something from them. In the future when you have proven yourself, the roles may be reversed, but for now, you need the helping hand.
We would love to hear how this process worked for you. Leave a comment below once you have tried this.
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