Thursday, June 18, 2009

Getting Clients, Part 2

Yesterday, we talked about how frustrated I was when I started my wedding planning business because I couldn't get clients. A friend of mine told me to make a list of all the people I knew and to indicate on this list, whether or not they knew about my wedding planning business. After that exercise I realized that these were the people that knew me and that would be my biggest cheerleaders when referring my business.

Here are two great ways to get that first paying client using the people you already know:

Send letters of introduction to everyone you know. Send 5-10 letters each week. Hand write a note at the top of each one to make the letter more personal. (Hi Rachel! It's been so long since we've seen each other. Would love to catch up over a cup of coffee. I'll call you this week. Best, Wendy.")

Follow up with each person by phone and ask them to have coffee with you so you can catch up on their lives and what they are doing, talk to them about your new wedding planning business and ask them if they know anyone that may need your services. This is called educating your personal advocates. These are people who know you, like you and trust you so who better to get the word out about you and your business?

Take on a few planning projects for free. Once your circle of friends recommend brides to you, take on 1 or 2 "scholarship" brides and do some planning for them. My first two weddings in Phoenix were friends of mine from my church. I planned and designed both of their weddings at no charge so that I could sharpen my skills and start creating my portfolio.

Find someone you know personally or through a friend or relative, that is engaged and offer to help them plan their wedding for free. Be sure to take pictures of any design work that you do and go above and beyond in your service to them. Don't forget to have the couples give you testimonials in return for your planning work. Be specific about what kind of referral you want from them. Ask them how you made the planning process easier for them and tell them to include that in the testimonial.

Be sure to follow up with them every few months or so to see how things are going and to find out if they know of anyone else that is getting married. I'm sure they will be more than thrilled to send new business your way!

And the referral cycle will grow!

If you want more information about how to get clients this way or other areas of building your business, I now offer one to one coaching calls once a week to aspiring wedding planners. Email me at info {at} aspiretoplan {dot} com for more information. I'll be happy to help!

Until next time...

Aspire to Plan!


Chic Celebrations said...

Hi Wendy,
I love this post and the initial 'Getting Clients' post. Very helpful. I don't have addresses for some of the people I have written down. what are your thoughts on emailing or sending a message through FaceBook? I appreciate any feedback.

Wendy said...

Hi Gianna,

I think sending a message through social media is ok...however it would be more effective if you sent an actual letter. Plus, you can say more in a letter than you can on social media.

An email is ok but the "personal touch" of a letter sent snail mail sends a more professional message.

I'd be happy to look over your letter of intro or update for you. Email me and lets chat!

Gianna SanFilippo said...

Thanks Wendy! I will email you today.
I appreciate your input.

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