A professionals guide to networking in the wedding industry
Industry Insights from Becca Pountney on how to make the most of Networking opportunities
We asked wedding and networking expert Becca Pountney to share her top tips on how to triple your business by simply saying hello. Becca started her journey as a stylish Wedding Videographer and worked her way through networking to create Engage Weddings – now hosting many supplier events across the UK. Find out how you can also meet with your local suppliers and grab every opportunity that comes your way!
So without further ado, Becca over to you.
‘It’s not about what you know, but who you know.’ This is true in so many areas of life and when you run your own business it’s a fundamental truth. As wedding business owners it’s too easy to spend long periods of time in front of the computer expecting opportunities to come our way. That can be a lonely place. Doors to new opportunities rarely open on their own, yet if you give them a little push there can be huge benefits.
One of the fastest ways to grow your wedding business is to grow your network. Networking online using email or social media can be great tools, but nothing beats getting out there and meeting people face to face. People buy from people they know, like and trust so get out of your comfort zone and start building those relationships.
As wedding suppliers, we are in a unique position to work together and collaborate. A bride and groom will be looking for a variety of different businesses to create their dream wedding. Brides will often look to suppliers as a trusted source, and will ask them for their recommendations. If you build up a network of contacts who are recommending you to their clients, you are going to see some great results.
How do I get started?
Find a local networking group that you can go along to and book a place. If you can, find a group that is specifically for the wedding industry as it will mean you meet very relevant contacts. There are groups like this meeting across the country. If you can’t find one near you, why not set one up yourself? I did just that and that is how Engage Weddings began. Having moved my videography business from Bristol to rural Bedfordshire I realised I needed to make new local wedding connections. Having failed to find an existing network I asked around at a wedding fayre to see if any suppliers would be interested in meeting up for a drink. 25 suppliers attended the first meet up and the events have been growing ever since. If I can do it, you can do it too.
Networking can feel much scarier than it really is. Arrive armed with your business cards and your head held high. Everyone is there for the same reason as you and will be really willing to chat. Find a small group of people and say hello.
Don’t reel off a sales pitch
People are there to meet people, not to be sold to. Ask questions and listen to the people that you are talking to, wait for them to ask what you do before you tell them, if they ask they are genuinely interested in connecting.
Speak with as many people as possible
Try to move around and talk to as many people in the room as you can, you never know who you may be able to collaborate with. Remember you are not only networking with the person in front of you, but their whole network of contacts. They may not have need for your services right now, but they may know somebody who does.
Collaboration not competition
If you meet someone who has a similar business to yours, don’t see it as competition. You may be able to share tips and advice with one another, you may even be able to pass work on to them if you are already fully booked.
Follow up after the event
In the days following the event send out emails to people you have met, perhaps even try and meet them for a coffee. The more people who know about you and your business, the more opportunities will come your way.
Now get out of your comfort zone and get out there and start meeting new people. Be open, honest and approachable and people will be happy to work with you. New opportunities are behind the doors – now just go and give them a push.