With all your meetings, appointments and events, networking can seem like the last priority on your to-do list. Especially since it’s so hard to measure the ROI of networking, many Pros may see networking as a less valuable business growth strategy than online strategies like SEO and social media. However, there’s a good reason that the most seasoned wedding professionals will tell you that it’s all about who you know!
Just as SEO or social media marketing are not standalone strategies, networking is an initiative that should be done in addition to your other business growth efforts. Below we explain the importance of networking for wedding professionals and why your wedding business should look for more networking opportunities in 2015.
Get more referrals or opportunities
Referrals are huge in the wedding industry. Wedding professionals in most cities or regions have a lot of choice when it comes to other Pros to work with, so it’s important for you to meet more people in your area to identify opportunities. The connections you make at networking events or even social events can be the reason your business gets the referral over another local business – if you’re equally skilled and rated within your community as another Pro, you’re much more likely to be selected as the preferred Pro if the referrer knows you well. Connections you make through networking are extremely important if your business is interested in making it onto a wedding planner’s or venue’s list of preferred vendors.
Gain credibility in your area
If you’re new to the wedding business or new to the area, this benefit is absolutely necessary. While it’s still important to get consumer reviews to help boost your online reputation, an endorsement from another professional helps potential clients see how credible your business is amongst your peers. You want your peers to have nothing but good things to say about your business! Making connections and accumulating endorsements from other local Wedding Pros will instantly add credibility to your business and show that your professional network recognizes your work. It’s best to be proactive about your business’ reputation by putting yourself out there and networking with other local businesses.
Seek help or advice
One of the most unique aspects of the wedding industry is the breadth of experience and skills each individual professional brings to the table. Some Pros have been in weddings for over thirty years, while some spent years in marketing, accounting, design or a number of other professions. Networking enables you to tap the knowledge of all these individuals and share information. You can share ideas or information informally through a conversation at a social event, or you can share ideas more formally at organized events. Either way, your business can benefit immensely from the knowledge of others, and a great professional network will help you leverage that knowledge. Remember to offer what you can, though, so that your relationships are mutually beneficial. Even if your offering is just to listen and offer advice, take the time to nurture those relationships and help out where you can.
Make friends in your community
At the very least, networking gives you the opportunity to get to know other businesses in your area and make some friends along the way! Even if you don’t see professional value in a connection right out of the gate, you never know when that connection will come in handy. Don’t underestimate the power of a support system that understands you on an emotional level – you may never have the opportunity to work together, but you can support each other in times of need. If you travel a lot for your business, simply knowing someone in a new city can be a huge relief!
What other benefits have you experienced from your professional network? Let us know in the comments!