Although not a necessity, most wedding industry businesses can benefit hugely from a good relationship building plan. One of the first steps in any relationship building plan is meeting people, and one of the best ways to do that is through networking. Having said that, I, like many of you, don’t always love networking, and often hate the stereotypical networking! Yet, when done right, networking can increase awareness of you and your business, establish and/or improve relationships with other wedding pros, and reaffirm your legitimacy in the industry.
Although I really don’t always love doing it, and sometimes dread it, to be honest, from the very beginning of my officiant business, networking helped, and it still continues to help, my business immensely. And, therefore, I keep doing it and encourage others to do the same. So, here are 6 quick tips that can help.
Yes-Yes’s when it comes to networking –
1) Go to multiple styles of networking events offered by multiple different groups. Over time, you will likely reduce down how many and which ones you go to, but by initially checking out many different events put on by many different groups can not only legitimize you and your business, but also help you to figure out which ones are your best fit.
2) Be prepared. Are there specific people you want to meet? Do you have business cards on you? Do you have an elevator pitch for your business? While you don’t need a specific memorized pitch (and I really recommend that you don’t, as it can feel fake), be sure that you are prepared to answer questions about what you do or what your business is, as that first impression of how you answer that question can be powerful.
Oh-No’s when it comes to networking –
1) Don’t just hand out business cards. I wouldn’t think I would have to continuously repeat this one, but at every event I go to, there are at least one or two people just walking around handing out their cards to everyone. A few short conversations are going to be much more beneficial than handing out 50 cards to random people with no connection to that card and who you were.
2) Don’t get drunk. Yes, the alcohol might be free and, yes, you might be the life of the party that everyone is talking about. But they are not talking about your business in a positive way if that is what comes up when someone mentions you.
3) Don’t think that once is enough. If you go to an event and it wasn’t great (or even painful), try another one, but maybe bring a “wingman” with you next time, if you really think that that group or event is likely to still be worth your effort. If you go to an event and it is successful and you see possibility there, go to more. Building relationships through networking is a continuous process that usually requires multiple contacts.
I hope that these tips help! If you would like more in-depth assistance in regards to networking and creating a great relationship plan specific to you and your business, I’m happy to help with that! Just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.