Im lying

Question: Another wedding pro is bad mouthing us to our brides.  What should we do?

Hi Stephanie!

I noticed that couples we met with weren’t hiring us, which was unusual because we used to have a very high booking rate.
Then I found out that another wedding vendor I’ve been referring has formed a clique with a few other professionals, and she’s bad mouthing my business and sending those brides to the people in her clique instead.
Obviously I’ve stopped referring her, but what else should I do?  Should I warn other wedding professionals?  I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s being hurt by this behavior.

– Gary

Answer: Keep your cool and let your attackers hang themselves.

Yikes!  This is an extremely ugly situation and very tricky to deal with.  I’m so sorry you’re experiencing this.

In reflecting on what to do, here are some things that come to mind.

#1 – When a wedding pro bad mouths someone else, it makes THEM look bad.

Even if what they say is true (which it isn’t happening in your case), criticizing another wedding vendor makes them look even worse than the one they’re bad mouthing.  It creates an “ugly” feeling and makes couples feel uncomfortable and insecure, all of which reflects on them.

There is no doubt that this makeup artist and the other members of her “clique” are already reaping the negative consequences of their actions.  Even now, they’ve destroyed their referral relationship with you and other photographers.

They will get what’s coming to them, sooner or later.

#2 – The more focus you put on the person who is attacking you, the more power and attention you give them.

It’s REALLY hard not to defend yourself when someone talks smack about you, but defending yourself to this jerk is only going to make it worse.

Plus, unless you have absolute PROOF (as in a recorded conversation or email) you can’t be 100% sure that they are saying these bad things.  As long as there is room for doubt, you’re playing the same “He Said, She Said” game of gossip and lowering yourself to their level.

If you warn others about what this clique is doing, it turns you into a gossiper and feeds the negativity they’re spreading.  You become another part of their ugliness.

The best thing to do when couples ask you about this makeup artist is to keep your mouth shut.

#3 – Focus on what YOU can do rather than what your enemies and competitors are doing to stay positive and attract your ideal clients.

Ultimately, you can’t control what this clique does.  Trust that they are reaping the consequences of what they sow right now and will continue to do so.  Everything has a way of coming to light on its own.

Instead, think about what you can do to communicate your value more effectively to your clients.  How can you be a shining example in your local wedding community?

Focus on what you can do to avoid getting dragged down.

When Wedding Pros Attack

It happened to us, too.

Some years ago another wedding professional went on the warpath against us after I published a report for brides that included some money saving ideas.  He called up other local businesses and tried to turn them against us, swearing he would drive us out of business.

As a result, one of the biggest wedding venues in our area stopped referring us.  Yes, it hurt.

Fortunately, we had more than enough good feedback, proof of our excellent reputation and referrals from other sources that it didn’t affect our pocket books.

We kept our mouths shut and stayed out of the gossip, despite weeks of sleepless nights and nausea over the incident.  Eventually, our attacker’s anger burnt out and the gossip died down.  Believe it or not, we even reconciled a few years later!

What To Do If It Happens To You

1. Stop referring this vendor and cut off all connections with him/her.  You’ve already done that.  Withdraw from the situation as much as possible.

2. Keep quiet about what’s going on, especially when it comes to brides and grooms.  

Resist the urge to bad mouth them or say anything negative.  When asked about it, don’t say anything at all–literally.  They’ll figure out exactly what that means.

3. Make improvements to book your meetings faster to shorten the time period when couples can be “poisoned” against you.

Couples typically book their photographer far in advance of the hair and makeup artist, which makes me suspect that you aren’t booking them immediately during or after the meeting.

If that’s the case, add incentives to encourage couples to book you quickly.  For example, offer them a special bonus when they book within 7 days of your meeting, and be sure to let them know that you will only hold the date for 72 hours.

The faster they book you, the less time is available for someone else to talk them out of it.

Having people spread gossip about your wedding business is a horrible situation to be in.  What do you think should be done?

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