KISS AND TELL
by Shannon Underwood
Rolling into the New Year, we should aspire to get more referrals. According to the New York Times, 65% of all new business comes from referrals. The research firm Nielsen found that referred prospects are 400% more likely to book as compared to non-targeted advertising. Wedding pros send you referrals because they have something to gain. If they refer a nearlywed to you, they hope you will return the favor and send them referrals. Or they can be seen as a valuable source of info in the industry.
Unlike wedding pros, wedding couples don’t have something to gain when sending you a referral.
Your wedding couples rarely tell you the reason they didn’t refer you; sometimes they don’t even understand why themselves.
What are the real reasons wedding couples don’t give referrals?
1. Problem: You’re asking customers to find and sell prospects for you without getting paid. Your customer works full time and enjoys the adventures and responsibilities of being a newlywed. It takes time to nurture new leads and a $25 referral giftcard to Amazon might not feel worth it.
Solution: After her wedding, provide her with a commission sheet that clearly outlines her financial incentives to refer you business.
Or you can offer her a bonus service that would be exciting. E.g. a caterer can offer desserts for a dinner party, a photographer can shoot Christmas card photos, or a venue can offer to host a small anniversary party.
If the couple is still planning their wedding you can offer them a bonus add on item at no extra fee. Refrain from incentivising with a discount; you don’t want to create buyers remorse if the referral doesn’t come through.
2. Problem: It might not be worth the risk. You’re asking your customer jeopardize their own personal relationship if you mess up. There is no real upside for her but the downside risk is great.
Solution: Never give a reason for them to doubt how you will treat them. One ‘off’ text message or email could ruin the opportunity referral for you.
3. Problem: Competitive Wedding Syndrome makes wedding planning a sport that your customer wants to win. Your wedding couples don’t want to admit that they want a grand production that is better than an event anyone in their social circle.
Weddings are a public (and sometimes competitive) announcement of their love. Those that really don’t care often elope. Unless you are a minister, they aren’t your customer anyway.
The customer might not refer you because you are too good at what you do.
If the floral centerpieces, DJ, minister, planner, venue, photographer, caterer are their MVP, they might not want to share you with their friends.
Solution: Let them know that each wedding is customized. Assure them if they refer you to their best friend, it won’t look like the same wedding all over again. Don’t push the highly competitive clients for referrals; instead focus on couples who don’t view the wedding as a competition.
4. Problem: The timing is off. Your wedding couple might not know any engaged friends at the time of their wedding. They might be the first or last to get married in their group. They want to send you a referral, but they don’t have any prospects right now.
Solution: Follow-up and stay in touch. Send small gifts for their anniversary. Text them on their birthdays, holidays, or anniversaries. Post thoughtful comments on their social media posts.
Join the discussion over at our Facebook page, we’d love to know what works for you.
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