Networking is one of the best ways to get awesome, qualified leads for your business. To do this, you need to make an effort to be both thoughtful and visible. Whether you network through an industry group or one-on-one, it’s time to get out from behind your computer and meet people in person. These tips will help you build solid connections—and turn them into new business:
- Start by researching other vendors and industry groups. Pay attention to which vendors have a similar client base, style and approach to yours. These are the vendors you want focus on, because you’ll both be trying to book the same couples.
- Next, contact those vendors that you would like to meet. Remember that you are not selling your services to them—you’re trying to learn about each other. The slow season is a great time to meet or get reacquainted with vendors by grabbing coffee, touring a venue together, or offering them a free mini photo shoot.
- After the meeting, be sure to follow up with an email thanking them for their time. (Or to really stand out, send a handwritten note.)
- Don’t be afraid to network with vendors who provide the same service as you. There will be dates when you are booked or unavailable and need to refer a client to someone else. Plus, if you have an emergency or an assistant who calls in sick, you may need to ask a friend who shares your skill set and style to help you out.
- Finally, the best way to get referrals it to give referrals. Whether you’re networking with new vendors or re-connecting with your favorites, make sure to look for opportunities to refer people to them or work on something together.