Question: “How do I pre-qualify brides and create strong partnerships with other wedding businesses?”
I definitely give it [The Price Shopper Email Formula] a thumbs up. I had heard about these principles in my previous career as a mortgage broker and never ocurred to me to apply them to the wedding business. I’m still in the process of starting up the business so I definitely want to make sure I start the right way. You can rest assure these principles will be used on my daily operations.
My questions to you are, how do I pre-qualify brides? What things should I keep in mind when I look for vendors/partners and to maintain a strong relationship with them? And what are the standard referral fees?”
You ask some really good questions.
How do I pre-qualify brides?
Pre-qualifying brides and grooms who contact you can save time and eliminate the frustration of dealing with couples who aren’t the right match for you. The more qualified the lead, the more valuable it is.
Some ways to pre-qualify leads:
1. Get referrals from high quality sources, like other wedding businesses.
A warm lead from another wedding business comes in pre-qualified because they’ve recommended you highly. It’s especially valuable if they also work with your ideal couples; leads from them are likely a good match for you right off the bat.
2. Talk to them on the phone.
Ask them a series of questions about their wedding and discover if they are a good match for you.
Make the goal of your response to get them on the phone, and this makes your job a lot easier.
3. Create a free giveaway informational report or video (something we fondly call a “Bride Bribe”) to give brides when they sign up for your email list.
Create a series of follow up emails that share valuable information and gear it towards your ideal couples.
Warming up your leads with automated email follow up is a great way to create a relationship with them before you meet, demonstrate your expertise and pre-qualify them because the ones who aren’t right for you will naturally fall away.
What things should I keep in mind when I look for vendors/partners and to maintain a strong relationship with them?
Think about who the bride/groom will be booking around the same time that they book you, or just before. These types of vendors are a great source of referrals.
Target five businesses in your local area that:
• Have an excellent reputation and specialize in weddings.
• Do a large quantity of weddings each year so they have lots of referrals to give.
• Attract your ideal couples. Make sure they do weddings with a similar style, budget, etc.
Get to know these vendors and find out their challenges and opportunities. Once you know this, you can find a way to help them. (Find some suggestions in this article.)
Once you make the connection, nurture the relationship with regular follow up every month or so.
What are the standard referral fees?
I’m not aware that there are “standard” referrals fees. We haven’t personally paid anyone a fee for recommending us, although we have advertised in venue books in order to qualify for their referrals.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with paying a referral fee. The bottom line: does it make sense for your business?
It can cost a lot in marketing and advertising to get a real lead, so one warm referral from another vendor who the bride trusts can be worth quite a bit. Figure out what it’s worth to you before venturing into any referral deals.
What do you think?