Referrals are the most cost effective way to build a sustainable business. They don’t require spending money on advertising or attending bridal shows. They’re the reward you get from treating your clients right. Here are 2 ways you can do to build a referral business:
1. Build relationships with venues: Brides generally choose their venue before they choose their photographer. Get to know the managers at the venue and the people booking their events. Find out if they refer photographers and offer to make them a sample wedding album from a recent job you shot at their venue (at your expense). They will be thrilled to have an album that shows an entire event at their venue. Make sure to include lots of photos of the food, the tables, the room and all of the displays so that their venue looks amazing. To support your efforts, Zookbinders offers a 50% discount on ALL samples, whether they’re for you or your vendor. One of our clients schedules 2 lunch dates every week with venue managers to ensure that his company gets recommended first – if you’ve never done this, give it a try – you may be pleasantly surprised by the results.
2. Keep in touch with past clients. Make it a point to call on your past clients right after they receive their album. Ask for feedback as to how satisfied they were with your service and product. If you get a good review, tell them: “It was so great to work with you – if you know of anyone that might be interested in our services, please let me know as my business is built on referrals from happy clients like you”. On slow days, call clients from last year and the year before to say hi and see if they have a need for your service.
Starbucks built an empire from referrals via “word of mouth”. I’ve never seen a Starbucks advertisement, yet they consistently have customers waiting in line for their product. So go out and fine tune your referral engine – it sure beats waiting for brides to walk your booth at a bridal show.