New York event planning is driven by cultivating key client relationships. People, businesses, and brands won’t trust you with their events if you don’t have a solid relationship, right? But are you making the most of those partnerships and client connections?
If you’re not building and growing a robust referral network as an event planner, you’re missing valuable opportunities to grow your business and land new clients. Remember, warm leads are easier to close than cold leads. And every soft introduction you can get from a colleague or client already favorably considers your brand. Here are suggestions and tips for harnessing every referral opportunity you can, along with developing the healthiest referral network to keep you growing and scaling ongoing.
1. Make Sure You’re Referable
Event guests and past clients will be more apt to refer your services to others when they’re impressed with you. There’s no question you’re great at what you do, or you wouldn’t be in business. But take a pause to examine what your wow factor is and make sure it’s referable. Make sure the experiences you provide are memorable and engaging in a way that people who participate want to tell others about it. The strongest referral networks in the world won’t help anyone promote mediocre or subpar businesses.
2. Creating and Tracking Referrals
You’ll need to officially define what a great referral is for you. From there, you can then develop a strategy designed to help you bring in those ideal referrals. With a target referral in mind, you can also begin to explore the processes with which you’ll manage those potential leads. Put all the building blocks in place, including processes and systems, to follow that will pave the road for an ongoing flow of referral business.
3. Well-Defined Referral Benefits
They have to know what’s in it for them. Yes, some people who experience your event planning expertise will be dazzled and willing to refer your services without question. But when you’re building a referral network, you’ll want to assume there has to be value and benefit for someone to refer your brand. These might be incentives like swag, shout-outs, or discounts on future event planning services. Whatever your added-value component is, make sure it makes sense to your bottom line and communicates a thank you to anyone referring your services.
4. Find the Right Places to Network
Don’t waste time networking in places where your ideal referral targets don’t spend their time. For a referral network to be effective, you’ll want to position your brand and your inquiry for referrals where it makes sense to do so. This might be social media. It might also be in-person networking groups. Depending on how you define the perfect lead, you could choose several different network platforms or places. Just keep tracking where your referrals are coming from so you know how to target your efforts for the best results.
5. Start with Your Biggest Champions
When you sit back and think about which clients or colleagues are your biggest advocates, you likely have a few that come to mind immediately. These people absolutely love you and believe no other New York event planner can compare. For these contacts, consider developing a different, more personalized referral program. They champion your brand and can be a tremendous resource for ongoing leads and new connections. Make it worthwhile for them and be liberal about any gratitude efforts to thank them for their continued support.
As you continue to explore new ways to grow your New York event planning business, don’t overlook the power of the referral network. Consider these tips and referral network boosting suggestions as you develop yours. Tidbits and advice like this are always available in our ongoing blog series, so check it out! And if you haven’t yet reserved your tickets for The Event Planner Expo 2022, do so now! Limited sponsorship openings and exhibitor spaces are available. Contact us to secure your position as a leader in the industry!