Episode 039: Show Notes
Guys, we are super excited to have on our friend, Josey Stafford from Sixpence Events on the show today. She is a wedding planner and we know there are a lot of you in the wedding industry listening in today. We know nothing about the industry other than the fact that we both have gotten married. So, we are super excited to have someone on who actually knows what she’s talking about with regards to service based industries and wedding industries, and we are kind of getting into some meat and potatoes on all things referrals.
On today’s episode you are going to learn how to ask for a referral without sounding super creepy, and you are going to figure out the best and most organic ways to get clients and vendors to refer you. We are jumping into incentives, giveaways, and prizes and whether or not they work. If you are brand new to the business, we get into exactly how you go about finding these people, and the right and the wrong ways to network. We also talk about how things work for you in your business and even if you are not in the wedding industry, I want you to stay tuned because all of this has super specific takeaways that are applicable to every single one of you.
Asking For Referrals in the Beginning
When it comes to asking for referrals, there are some big “no-nos” to be aware of. First of all, do not be one of those people at networking events with their huge stacks of business cards trying to get others to pass them out. That piece of paper with your name on it is not going to go anywhere; there is no point of reference or content behind it for the person receiving it on the other end. The fact is, you have to make a connection with people for it to mean anything. Making a connection and asking the other person questions about their business will be much more memorable than just shoving a business card in their face. Make it your mission to be memorable and front of mind for everyone you come in contact with, and build your referrals that way instead.
How to Stand Out from the Business Card Crowd
One of the best ways to make your business card more memorable is to use pictures. Photographers often have the best ones because they add a photo that they have taken on the back. This is such a great way to showcase to the potential client exactly what your work looks like right off the bat. Using photography can also be applied to calligraphers, florists, and other creatives. As a calligrapher, having a sample of your work printed on the card is key. This is the same for florist; showing a sample of the types of bouquets you make can leave a lasting impression in the mind of a potential client. Make it memorable, pretty, and definitely Instagram worthy and you are sure to stand out from the business card crowd.
Getting Organic and Genuine Client Referrals
For Josey, one of her best tips for generating organic referrals is to follow up and stay in touch with her past clients. As a wedding planner, your clients are not typically repeat customers. However, they always have friends who will be getting married soon, so staying front of mind is key. To start, Josey leaves a card for the bride and groom to open the next day. She also follows up with an email a week later including her blog post and letting them know that she had a great time working with them. When they respond that they also had a great time working with her, this is a perfect opportunity to then ask them for a review. Finally, she sends out an email on their anniversary to remind them that she is still doing weddings and if they know of anyone getting married, to give them a referral.
To Do or Not to Do: Using Giveaways, Prizes, and Incentives
Using giveaways and prizes as incentives has become really popular in the industry, but sometimes they can leave you feeling a little “icky”. It can sometimes be successful to offer mini sessions around the holiday season. However, for Josey, she believes in focusing on the clients that you already have and giving them a great experience to refer back to. Instead of putting in a lot of time to plan and organize a giveaway, you can then spend the time catering to your existing ideal clients to ensure that their referrals will be organic and genuine. It is a lot more personal and can give you much a much better chance of getting a referral. If you show up for the clients that you already have, that is going to serve you better than constantly just trying get more people every single day.
Creating Memorable Experience for Existing Clients
One of the first ways to ensure an incredible experience is top-notch communication. You should always be in touch with your clients, letting them know what the progress is, what to expect, and any updates that you can give them. If they have to reach out to you first, then you know you have a communication problem. This is where setting clear boundaries comes in. You need to communicate with your clients up front, letting them know when your office hours are, what types of communication they can expect from you, and how best to stay in touch. Another key element is to always try to show up early instead of being late, and delivering more that what you promised.
How to Actually Get Clients in the Door
When you are just starting out in your business and all you want are some clients, Josey recommends doing stuff for free. Getting any type of experience is great for your portfolio, especially if you are a new business owner. It not only gives new clients samples of your work to look at, but it also gives you the confidence to refer to real life experience when potential new clients have questions. It is also a great way to build relationships and get a feel for working with real clients. The more you can talk about your business, the better.
The Do’s and Don’ts of Networking
The first thing to absolutely NOT do when you attend a networking event is to leave because you cannot seem to find anyone to connect with. For Josey, she recommends showing up a little bit later to the event so that you aren’t the first one standing there. When you arrive a little later, there are more people to connect with and a lot more potential conversations to start. If you have already made to effort to go to an event, stay for a long while, even help clean up and help the owner to lock to door on your way out. Don’t see it as a one-hour event; make a day out of it and really try to get more from the event than what it even has to offer. Also, always remember to follow up with everyone that you talked to, which makes it a lot easier for them to remember you later.
- Learn how to ask for referrals while in the beginning stages of your business. [0:02:52.0]
- Find out what it takes to stand out and be different from the business card crowd. [0:08:36.0]
- Understand how to get organic and genuine referrals from clients that don’t seem stuffy and forced. [0:10:18.6]
- Find out whether or not using giveaways, prizes, and incentives to encourage referrals is right for your business. [0:20:17.0]
- Learn how to create memorable experiences for your clients in order to better guarantee referrals. [0:24:09.6]
- Understand how to get clients in the door when you are just starting out in your business. [0:32:07.3]
- Discover the do’s and don’ts of networking and Josey’s tips on where to start. [0:40:53.8]
Give your email, phone number, location, and photograph on your contact page.
Set up a Google account for your business.
Practice your elevator pitch and active listening.
- Schedule a networking event.