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Wedding Pros Reveal Their Tips to Turn Vendors into Referral Sources

wedding photographer vendor referral

As a wedding photographer, one of your main focuses is to book more weddings each year. When you book more weddings, you have the ability to grow your business and increase your overall profit for the year.

In our Secrets to Getting Booked Guide, industry leaders shared what worked best for them to increase the bookings they receive each year. Many of the photographers shared about creating meaningful connections with vendors and fellow photographers. The better relationships you have with them, the more referrals that will come your way. Continue reading to discover 5 wedding pros’ tips to turning vendors into referral sources.

Schedule Time to Connect In-Person

One way Sarah Roshan makes connections with vendors is that she schedules time to connect in-person. There is value in stepping away from your computer and phone and meeting with them face-to-face, and can give vendors more reasons to talk about and refer you.

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Image Compliments of Sarah Roshan

“I make it a goal to have hot chocolate with someone I don’t know at least once a week. Make true connections and make it about what you can do for them, not what they can do for you. In the end, people want to work with real people. Get out of your comfort zone and do the ground work.” – Sarah Roshan

Create Relationships with Vendors

Wedding photography duo, Amy and Jordan Demos, recommend to create relationships as soon as you can. When you enjoy who you work with, you will continue to love what you do, and will increase the chances those vendors will refer you.

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“One of our biggest booking mistakes was not getting in the community early enough in our career and building real relationships with wedding planners, venue coordinators, and fellow photographers – people we’d be friends with even if we weren’t in the same industry. If we could go back and do it again, we’d do that sooner, because even though getting bookings is important, if we don’t like the people we’re working with weekend after weekend, our dream job we love could turn into a day job VERY soon!” – Amy and Jordan Demos

Related: How can you streamline communication with vendors and clients?

Share Images with Vendors

A simple way Jessica Hill Photography builds trust with vendors is to share images with them after the wedding day shoot. The gesture shows them that you care about their work, which will encourage them to refer you to others.

“Once you shoot a wedding at a venue you love, or photograph a bouquet that inspires you, reach out to the vendor to let them know and share a few photos for them to use on their site or social media network with a link back or tag. They will appreciate the kind words and photos and say great things about you to future potential clients.” – Jessica Hill Photography

Related: What are 4 simple ways to share images with vendors?

Meet Vendors in Your Community

As Jacquelynn Buck suggests, attend events or groups where you know vendors and other photographers are. This helps you build relationships and not miss out on opportunities to increase referrals for your business.

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“Whether it’s connecting to a local venue or wedding coordinator, scheduling a booth at a bridal expo (yes those still work), trading business with other photographers (photographers you respect make great referral partners – because we all get inquiries for dates we are already booked, right?) or joining a professional networking group – it’s all about building relationships.” – Jacquelynn Buck

Tip: When you outsource your photos to a wedding photography post production company, you can use the time you get back to meet and connect with vendors.

Start a Group with Leaders

For you to build connections, Zach and Jody Gray recommend starting a group with leaders you admire. Not only will you gain insights into booking more weddings, but you will also create valuable relationships with vendors or other photographers who will refer you to clients.

“I invited 11 other men who I thought were the smartest people I knew to join me in a
‘MasterMind’ group. I asked them to meet every week, show up 80% of the time, sign a 1 year agreement, and we all picked a dozen business books we would cover. I invited these men to a fancy dinner and told them what I admired about them and asked them to join. Every single person said yes. We would tell you to start a ‘MasterMind’ group and make it your goal to be the dumbest one in the group! A ‘MasterMind’ group is essentially a group of the smartest people you can find that meet with you weekly. They inspire you, help you, give you their opinion on business and marketing decisions and learn and grow with you. Just focusing on next year’s bookings alone is great, but will only get you so far. You need to focus on the next 5 years and how you are going to achieve your goals long-term.” – Zach and Jody Gray

When you take the time to connect with vendors and fellow photographers, you build lifelong referral sources. What are additional ways for you to book more weddings this year (and next)? Download our free Guide: Secrets to Getting Booked in 2017 to find out!

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