Your network is your net worth – that’s a common saying right? No amount of marketing dollars can equal the value of word of mouth. Especially in the wedding industry! Think of all the times someone reached out to you because as a referral from someone else. And since they were already warmed up, they were more than ready to work with you – which is exactly what you want.
Relationships are huge (both in business and in life). Strengthening those relationships now will always return back the favor. Are you ready to foster genuine relationships to grow your business? Keep reading as I walk you through what I’ve used to build a strong network over the years:
Giving Gifts During Special Occasions
Have you ever taken Gary Chapman’s 5 Levels of Love Languages quiz? I know I have and “Receiving Gifts” is the lowest on my list. But deep down we all secretly love receiving gifts – regardless of our love language. The same goes for your network too! Our team has a budget set aside just for vendor gifts because it’s that important.
The thing is – gifts shouldn’t be your average VISA gift card from your local Publix. Think of ways you can be thoughtful, specific, or even practical. It’s so funny that I’m not a huge gift person. However I appreciate a gift so much more when I can actually use it! Intentional gift giving strengthens relationships and leaves a lasting impression.
Keeping Contact During the Holidays or Special Occasions
There’s something about the holidays that makes everyone ten times more social, right? Think about all the messages you receive during the holidays where you’re like “Wow – I haven’t talked to you in like a year!” Granted – some might be family. But sometimes it’s past co-workers, people in your network, or even past clients. So why not use this to your advantage?
I’m sure you know the phrase “stay top of mind” when it comes to marketing. It’s the same concept for real life relationships. Wishing someone a Happy Birthday or holiday is a subtle way of saying “I’m thinking about you and want to stay connected.” Of course the key is being genuine. Don’t reach out to people unless you seriously care about the relationship you have with them. By following up with intention – this builds trust with your network that goes beyond any business transaction.
Sending Referrals to Your Network and or Vendors
“Hey Brandee! I heard about your business from [any one of my one of my vendors] and I’d love to work with you!” These are my favorite kinds of messages and I’m sure they are your favorite too!
Even after thirteen years in the industry almost 100% of our business is referral based. But it’s a two-way street my friend. To get referrals you have to GIVE referrals too. This takes blocking out time in your schedule to send referrals when they come your way. Or better yet – going out of your way to find referrals for your vendors.
Oh my gosh I promise you this will make a huge impact with your relationships. No matter how great your marketing is – people aren’t going to throw dollars at you unless they trust you. Harnessing the power of referrals is the strongest way to build relationships and a strong business foundation.
Get to Know Your Vendors More Outside of Work
No one in the business world knows how to throw a party better than the hospitality industry. I mean hello – we make a living out of this. So when you put us all together it does not disappoint!
Every year with the Blush Team we have a holiday party to kick back and thank our vendors for all they do. We love connecting with them and celebrating the year with a glass of wine or two!
You don’t have to only connect with them through an event though. In fact, connecting with vendors throughout the year (beyond business) makes your relationships that much sweeter. Grabbing a bite to eat, sending a message to check in, or simple acts of kindness add up more than you know! Yes we own businesses. Yes we want to make money. But we are all human at the end of the day. The more you embrace this side of business with your network the more you will flourish.
Start Fostering Relationships Now to Grow Your Business:
Looks like that wraps things up – my four tried and true ways of fostering real relationships with my vendors to grow my business (and theirs!). People are craving more personal connections, more real life connections. Before you spend another dollar on marketing, put emphasis on showing up for the connections you already have. The results will always follow. Now go and share this post with your network so they know you are thinking about them!