1. Start calling yourself a leader
There is one leader in every neighborhood in every town. They host the neighborhood Superbowl party, and when they make a quick run to the grocery store, they might spend 45 minutes catching up with people in the deli section. How did these people become so connected?
They started calling themselves a connector.
It works the same way in our industry. By honing your ability to bring people together, you will establish yourself as the one person who other vendors and non-wedding industry people mention in conversa- tion. Transforming yourself into a connector is great for business, such as when a local magazine wants to do a wedding feature and needs a contact person, or when a PR person for a local business wants to talk to a wedding expert. That’s you!
There are few words that ring as beautifully as, “Have you talked to Tom yet? He’s the person to ask about weddings.” You will be the regional expert who creates value for your business. This expertise, along with skill and professionalism, can help grow your business and allow you to charge prices that reflect your real worth.
2. Get people together in the same room
You don’t need to throw a fancy soiree to be the person who brings the network together. If you’re planning a coffee date with an established vendor, invite another wedding pro along for the ride. You’ll begin to be seen as the middle man, the one who others thank for introducing you to so-and-so.
3. Stop being intimidated by “the competition”
Some people see all other vendors in a 50 mile radius as “the competition.” They refuse to “like” their status updates on Facebook and see their success as a personal loss. But competition in our industry is an illusion. There are 2 kinds of businesses in your category: ones that are similar to you (in price and style) and ones that are different than you. They are both vital to your referral growth. We hope that you’ve chosen a very specific business niche and identified your ideal client. This is especially important when it comes to referrals.
Other professionals that share your niche and ideal client may seem like competition, but when a qualified lead inquired about a weekend for which they are booked, you will be the one they recommend in their place. For businesses that are very different, when another vendor in your area has a lead that doesn’t match their price point or style, your business will be at the top of their recommendation list.