When I was a wedding planner, one of my top sources of referrals were, of course, past clients. The market has evolved quite a bit already in the past two years since I’ve wound down my business, now that more and more ‘gig’ coordinators and planners are showcasing their services for well below market rate. Securing client referrals is important for any event planner. Here’s some tips for how to encourage and increase these referrals. First:
Why do I need client referrals?
Number one reason: They are qualified referrals! The couple referring you can already vouch that you are what you’re worth (i.e. your price is right), and that you are invaluable to the wedding planning process. They have already convinced the couple that they need you – that they SHOULDN’T DIY their wedding, or rely on their second cousin to run the big day. Half the battle is already fought in convincing them of your worth, because former clients have referred you. This is why client referrals are often the foundation of any quality wedding planning business.
How do I encourage referrals?
Upon closing the event, after you’ve sent your thank you and made a tasteful request for an online review, you can finish your message letting the couple know that you have special incentives and rewards for any referral they send to you that results in closed business. Maybe it’s a $20 Starbucks card, or gift card at a store they featured on their registry.
Should you be friends with your clients?
Another way to connect with clients is to connect with them on social media (I highly recommend AFTER the event, when you truly know you will be comfortable being friends with them on all your social channels). Then, you can post on social media from time to time a call to action (“the holidays are coming up! I’m happy to chat with your newly engaged friends or relatives about their wedding plans!” etc.). I have actually booked closed business this way, and you will too – by gradually adding past clients to your social media network, you stay connected and have that crucial opportunity to advertise to an audience that already knows and trusts you.