If you have ever walked into a local industry networking event and been swarmed by people who want to know how to get on your vendor list, you might be an event planner or work for a venue. In our industry, everyone needs something from someone. It's part of the symbiotic relationships we develop as professionals in this industry. Whether you are looking for referrals, florals for a photo shoot or linen for an open house, we all hope that we have built equity with our colleagues and vendor partners, and remain fresh in their minds.
You've probably come home from a networking event or workshop having met 20 new event professionals. And, sadly, only a few stand out in your mind. There was nothing about their company name, business card or conversation that made them memorable. If we're aware of the impressions other pros are making on us, we should be equally aware of the ones we're leaving ourselves. Consider this example: A Philadelphia formal wear shop offered more than tuxedo rentals. They worked with out of town couples on online sizing, delivery and onsite assistance to make sure sure everything looked and fit properly. This company sent out boxes wrapped in plain brown paper; inside was their branded material featuring their pricing and services. And One. Tuxedo. Shoe. Along with a note that started “now that we have our foot in the door.” GENIUS! You pull all creative stops for your clients. Your business and the impressions you make on its behalf demand the same.
When you are out on the road on appointments, plan ahead and look at key industry players whose offices might be in that general area. Stop by and drop off a small gift of chocolates, a candle or even a small potted plant with a card. No matter the size or value of the gesture, it's an easy way to put your name in front of them in a memorable way.
Do It Write
The only thing we seem to get via snail mail are bills so why not surprise your colleagues on their next trip to the mailbox? Invest in branded note cards and after meeting or working with someone, send them a hand written note. Holiday or cards celebrating the new year get lost in the shuffle. Why not claim another holiday or special occasion, become known for sending cards on that holiday? Social media makes collecting birthdates for wedding professionals really easy. Start a spreadsheet of pros you have built relationships with and those whose list you are trying to get on and send them a birthday card.
One On One
Too many times at networking events you meet, make small talk, exchange cards and move on. Ask for the one on one meeting. Keep it short, be on time, and bring a small treat. Start by asking them to tell you more about their business and what they look for in professionals they work with. Find a need you can fill. Then tell them about you, focusing on the 3 P’s: Personality, Product, and Pricing. They need to know a little bit about each. Then, close with sharing what makes a good referral for you. Be respectful of their time and always follow up with a note. When looking to add professionals to their referral lists or building professional relationships, communication is key. Most businesses want to make sure you are responsive to them. It shows you will be responsive to their clients as well. Being memorable, for all the right reasons; professionalism, quality branded materials and thoughtful touches create confidence that they can share your name with their clients.
Hero photo courtesy Hannah Forsberg Photography