Running a business can be a bit isolating, especially if you are a solo entrepreneur with no staff. It is important to build relationships with other wedding professionals, not only to build a network, but also to have other people to reach out to during your career.
Some of the most important professional relationships you can have are with other wedding and event planners. You will not be able to take on every wedding and you need a few people who you are comfortable recommending and who will recommend you as well when they are booked. Another benefit to having these connections is that you have a sounding board for issues that come up with your clients or vendors. It is great to be able to pick up the phone and get another planner’s perspective.
So, how do you build these relationships? Planners can be a bit standoffish with other planners in some markets but not in others. Here are a few ways you can break down those walls and start building some lasting relationships:
Start with an invitation to coffee or lunch. Frame it as just a “getting to know you” meeting. DO NOT just send an introductory email and expect that it is sufficient. I personally get at least 10 of these a month from new planners or other wedding professionals and they just come across as lazy. If I am going to recommend anyone, I need to know him or her. Check out this post on connecting with experienced planners as a new wedding planner.
Find an organization of wedding planners to network with. Whether it is a professional organization or simply a meetup group, these are people who want to network. No organization in your area? Start one! Meetup.com is a great place to organize group events. You can also search Facebook to see if there is a local wedding planner’s group on there. Here is advice on getting the most out of networking as a wedding planner.
Ultimately you want to interact in a way that is genuine and not self-serving. I look at it as building a professional friendship, not what they can do for you immediately.