Ask anyone who’s been a part of it for more than a few years and they’ll tell you that in order to be successful in the weddings industry, you have to build really strong relationships with other pros. Not only are you likely to drive more leads, but long-term, building brand ambassadors is one of the keys to creating a sustainable business. But here’s a mind-blowing statistic: 1 in 4 professionals don’t network at all and 41% of networkers want to network more frequently but say they don’t have enough time. Need to get better at this whole networking thing? Here are 5 networking strategies to try.
1. Quality over quantity.
When you’re at a networking event, it’s more important to have fewer conversations that are meaningful than to meet a bunch of people. Having high quality people in your life is how you win at networking. Zone in on conversations with a few people and try to leave the event with three new quality connections. They should remember you enough to be open to a follow-up meeting.
Pro Tip: Figure out how many contacts you have and how many of them are high quality. Also, make sure you have the right people on your list. Determine who you are missing on your list (business category) and set a plan for how you are going to meet them.
2. Keep track of your squad.
Create a database of your contacts and note who they are. You can use an Excel spreadsheet that you will always refer back to. Make sure you know something about them to make a personal connection.
Pro Tip: Chat on social to stay connected. Find out what they like and look for ways to stay in touch throughout the year.
3. Try face-to-face time 3-5 x per week.
We know it’s tough during busy season but in your off time, spend quality time with your crew. Doing so will help your creativity and avoid burning out. It will make the connections in your network stronger and more fulfilling.
Pro Tip: Set up a recurring meet-up. For example, plan a coffee date every Tuesday throughout the month to hold yourself accountable.
4. Look for people who are different than you.
This industry is amazing, but it is important to stretch yourself to get to know people outside of your circle of friends. Tap into the diverse community and welcome all backgrounds, categories, location and years in business. When you get closer with people from all over, it helps to strengthen you and your brand.
Pro Tip: Diversity also means reaching out to different categories outside of your own. So for example, DJs, don’t just make friends with other DJs. Connect with florists, makeup artists and rental companies too. The wider your network, the better!
5. Give a little, get a lot.
Approach your relationships with what you can bring to the table. Pros can tell when you are talking to them just to get something out of them. So make a goal of establishing real friendships and getting to know one another at a deeper level, rather than a purely transactional one.
Pro Tip: Remember that we’re all different, so the way in which you relate to your network should vary depending on the person. Some pros might love a little holiday gift, others might prefer a nice, long phone call every so often.
6. Develop Your Networking Muscle
We know networking can seem awkward at first, but it feels more natural with time.
Pro Tip: Attend lots of different networking events to get comfortable with it. You’ll be a networking pro in no time.
7. Ask Who Else You Should be Following
After you chat with the pros in your circle, ask them for three amazing pros you should be following that you don’t yet know about. Then, reach out to them on social media and start building connections. This networking strategy will help diversify your circle.
Pro Tip: This networking strategy will easily expose you to more connections and help diversify your circle.
Photo by Bryan Sargent Photography