When you own a wedding business, referrals are worth their weight in gold. Three reasons:
- They hire you quicker, shortening the sales process
- They are more likely to hire you in the first place
- And they spend more
Sounds like a triple crown winner to me! #winning
50% of the business we get at Bloomtastic is from referrals. That’s half. Half the brides we work with we didn’t have to pound the pavement for; that’s thousands of dollars saved in advertising and a lot of saved time.
Why? There’s a HUGE trust factor associated with referrals. Think about it: would you refer a plumber to your friend who screwed up your shower? Nope, didn’t think so. You trust that plumber, and in turn, your friend will too.
But how do you GET referrals?
Lucky you asked, my friend, because I have the answer!! And I even have a swipe file for you to snag, detailing the exact wording you need to use!!
First thing is first: DO OUTSTANDING WORK. I know this sounds like a given, but it’s a necessity. You have to do your best, every stinking time. There’s no room to say, “oh well, this time wasn’t good but next time, I’ll nail it.” Remember–at every wedding there are 2-3 bridesmaids getting married in the next year. And guests who will be hosting parties or weddings of their own and need a strong, reputable wedding pro like you.
Next: Know the two types of referrals: those from brides (your clients) and those from collegues (other professionals). Referrals from brides mean you have done outstanding work for them. Referrals from collegues need to be more desreet, but are just as worthy. This means someone who you worked side-by-side has a business crush on you and thinks you’re pretty awesome. Awesome enough to tell a friend or a client to go to you.
5 Methods for building referrals–CLICK HERE
So what’s the secret sauce? How do you get brides to refer you??
Yep, that’s it–one short, three letter word is the magical key to getting referrals from brides.
So how do you ask? CLICK HERE FOR YOUR SWIPE FILE in our free resource library that has 3 of my BEST scripts for asking brides for referrals!
You can, but you don’t have to, offer an incentive. Some wedding pros I know send a Starbucks gift card for referrals. Others give a free product, such as a free canvas (photographer) or anniversary cake (baker) or thank you notes (stationer). Just this year, we started an internal refrral program: current brides can save $50 for every wedding they refer (and hires us–that’s the key) off their Service Charge, which is delivery and setup (no COGS in here–it’s straight labor coverage), up to the value of their service charge. So in other words, if they have a $150 service charge, they can get it knocked down to zero simply by getting three people to hire us.
You gotta run your numbers to know what you can afford to give away, if you give anything at all. For 12 years, we gave nothing but a “thank you” and brides had no issues continuing to send us referrals!
The other thing is you have to make it as easy as possible for the client to refer you. We all have good intentions, but let’s face it–many times things get filed in the back of our brains and forgotten about. So your bride may be 100% willing to give your name out to five brides-to-be the evening of her wedding…but then her work load doubles when she gets back from her honeymoon and you are not even on the priority list anymore.
One solution, do it for her. Write a template email she can send to her friends! Want mine? It’s already done for you--CLICK HERE TO GET THE SWIPE FILE in our free resource library!
Or you could get the names and email addresses from her and email them yourself. Tell them their dear friend (fill in her name) wanted them to get a special gift from you so you are emailing to share that…then give them something of value. A 30 minute phone consultation for free…a printable wedding planner…a resource list specific to your area…(more ideas to come later this month in another blog post!!) the list goes on and on.
Then stay in touch. The name of the game is not “one and done” it’s “one and keeping going.” Set a reminder on your calendar to email her again in 2-3 months with a gentle reminder to send brides-to-be your way.
A few bonus tips to keep in mind:
- Include links in your email to make it easy for them to send a fellow bride to your website.
- Just launched a new wedding website? Having an open house? Going to display at a bridal show? These are all reasons to reach out to your past brides—let them know so they can share with their friends who are getting married!
- Make it easy for the client to refer you. Give them exactly what to say via a template, or, even better, do it for them. Ask for a list of names and emails and tell the bride you will email for her and offer a special gift (a referral bonus).
- Don’t hound. Don’t email her weekly; that’s a turn-off. You don’t want to sound desperate, either. Keep it casual and conversational.
- Be clear on the type of referral you want. Yes, he/she needs to be getting married, but if you don’t want just Joe Boxer. Reminders, such as “we travel anywhere” or “we shoot editorial style best” are great plugs to add to your messages when asking for referrals.
- Be generously grateful. Thank the client again and again for being a part of their wedding!
- Add a blurb to your email signature saying how much you love referrals or a quick sentence plugging your referral program