Networking is imperative in the wedding industry. For most businesses networking stops at the exchange of business cards but for some business relationships that’s not enough. The mutual intention of both parties is to recommend brides on a regular basis. Sometimes offering a financial reward each time they get referrals from vendors is necessary to increase the exchange of recommendations.
The next generation of commitment is when you have access to a vendor’s leads. The most frequent category that distributes leads is venues and caterers. As an early rung on the planning ladder, they are in the best position to recommend brides to their vendors. They have a strong sphere of influence in the planning aspect, which is the biggest financial commitment. Sometimes venues will also share names of customers who did not book; naturally those leads are not as strong for the vendor.
The best practice to use is cross marketing. In this case, I will define that term, as a company that ties in an offer from another vendor for the purpose of using it as an incentive to sell the service they are promoting. This ultimately benefits all parties involved.
The vendor who works with the bride presents something of value to make their offering seem stronger when it’s at no cost to them. The marketed vendor has a chance to gain the business of brides while the bride receives additional value.
The mindset that a vendor uses in determining what to give away would be something that is not devastating to the profit of the booking but substantial enough for it to be a meaningful inducement with purchase. Such tie-in offers include discount certificates, gift certificates or a free product or service:
- Invitation Business – Discount or 25 free invitations
- Florist – Free throwaway bouquet.
- Limousine – Free transportation at the end of the reception to their wedding night destination.
- DJ – Free handouts.
- Photographer – Free engagement photo.
- Videographer – Free extra edited copies for parents.
Most importantly, having tie-in offers fortifies the relationship with the vendors you recommend while generating additional sales. Another idea is to use tie-in offers as a way to generate BrideLive meetings with prospects. In this case it is used as a cost-free method to create the appointment rather than close the sale.