Running a business can be isolating, particularly if you are a sole proprietor with no employees. It is critical to form ties with other wedding professionals in order to not only develop a network, but also to have additional people to contact throughout your career.
Other wedding and event planners are some of the most valuable professional contacts you can have. You won’t be able to take on every wedding, so you’ll need a few people you can trust to recommend and who will also recommend you when they’re booked. Another advantage of having these connections is that you may use them as a sounding board for problems with your clients or providers. It’s fantastic to be able to do this.
So, how do you go about forming these bonds? In some markets, planners can be a little aloof with other planners, but not in others. Here are a few ideas for breaking down such barriers and forming long-term relationships:
Begin with an invitation. Consider it a “getting to know you” session. DO NOT assume that sending an introduction email will suffice. I get at least ten of them per month from new wedding planners or other vendors, and they all come off as slacker. I need to know someone before I can make a recommendation. As a new wedding planner, check out this piece on how to connect with seasoned planners.
Find a wedding planners’ group to join and network with. These are folks who wish to network, whether it’s through a professional organization or a meetup group. You don’t have a local organization? Begin one! Meetup.com is an excellent resource for planning group events. You can also look on Facebook to see if there is a group for wedding planners in your area. Here’s how to make the most of your networking opportunities as a wedding planner.
Finally, you want to interact in a real and non-self-serving manner. I see it as forming a professional friendship rather than seeing what they can do for you right away.