Get More Wedding Photography Referrals | Laurence Kim | Skillshare

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Get More Wedding Photography Referrals

teacher avatar Laurence Kim, Online Educator

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

22 Lessons (1h 10m)
    • 1. Course Introduction

    • 2. Why Referrals Are So Powerful

    • 3. The Big 3 Referrals

    • 4. Are You Awesome or Average?

    • 5. Make a Great First Impression

    • 6. Before the Wedding

    • 7. At the Wedding

    • 8. After the Wedding

    • 9. Client Referrals Wrap Up

    • 10. Vendor Referrals Overview

    • 11. Vendors: Before the Wedding

    • 12. Vendors: At the Wedding

    • 13. The blog post

    • 14. Cultivating Vendor Relationships

    • 15. Building a Relationship

    • 16. The Mastermind Group

    • 17. Vendor Referral Wrap Up

    • 18. Photographer Referral Intro

    • 19. Find Other Wedding Photographers

    • 20. Choose a Photographer Partner

    • 21. Setting Up The System

    • 22. Course Wrap Up

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About This Class

Do you want more wedding photography clients but are not sure how to get there?

Are you spending thousands of dollars on advertising with limited effectiveness?

Are you spending hundreds of hours on social media but getting no results?

It doesn't have to be this way.

Within 3 years of launching my wedding photography business, over half of my business came from referrals.

Referrals are the MOST effective way to generate new business. Nothing is more effective than a referral.

Just think about it - what would make you more likely to eat at a new restaurant: an advertisement you see in a newspaper or a glowing testimonial from a friend that ate there?

It's not even close.

In this course you'll learn a step-by-step system for generating referrals from clients, from wedding vendors, and even from other photographers. This won't be a vague collection of platitudes - I'll give you exact instructions: what to say and what to do.

Follow the steps outlined in the course and you'll be on your way to generating a referral generating machine for your wedding photography business.

Meet Your Teacher

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Laurence Kim

Online Educator


For the past decade I've been teaching individuals - both in Fortune 500 companies as well as individual entrepreneurs. I've coached them on sales, marketing, photography and on various software platforms.

My teaching philosophy is simple:  I believe people learn best when they see one new concept at a time, then practice that concept on their own.  You might call this "experiential" learning. I also believe in the 80/20 rule and training economy. Why learn 6 ways to accomplish a task when 1 will do?

If you want to learn a skill, technique, program or concept in the shortest possible amount of time, please check out my courses!

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1. Course Introduction: Welcome to a wedding photography. Build a referral generating machine. Now what do all photographers want? They want pretty much the same thing. And that's MAWR clients. The question is, how exactly are they going to get their traditional methods might include pay per click advertising on Google or Facebook, hundreds of hours spent updating all your social media accounts, thousands of dollars spent on print ads and wedding magazines or online wedding directories and the old standby. The bridal show. Now the problem with these techniques is number one. It could get really expensive paper click advertisements, bridal shows, wedding magazines that could be hundreds or thousands of dollars. Number two. The effectiveness varies. Sometimes a technique will work, sometimes it won't. And lastly, it could be a ton of work. If you've ever prepared for a wedding show, you know what I mean. Now I'm not saying you shouldn't try any and all of those techniques you probably should just to see if it works for you. But in general, you can run into these issues now. The beauty of referrals is that number one referrals are the most effective way at generating new clients. There is nothing more effective than a referral number. Two. It's inexpensive. It costs next to nothing. And number three. Once you build up those referral relationships, the referrals keep coming. It's continual. It's like passive income. So what are we gonna go over in this course? Number one, We're gonna talk about why referrals are so powerful. The Big Three referral sources and that is getting referrals from clients from other wedding vendors and from other winning photographers. And lastly, step by step strategies and techniques to run this entire referral generating machine process. My teaching philosophy is I like to keep my lectures short so most of them are five or six minutes or less. Each lecture will cover a single concept or idea, and each lecture is going to give step by step instructions. I won't leave anything to guesswork, so that's wedding photography. Build a referral generating machine. Thanks again for joining the course, and I'll see you on the first lecture 2. Why Referrals Are So Powerful: Let's talk about why referrals are so powerful. When was the last time you searched for a service provider, say, a plumber or a carpenter? Well, you might have gone online to search for a plumber, but when you do that, there are literally hundreds of plumbers listed here. What's the likelihood that any one of these individual plumbers is actually going to be chosen by you? Not very likely. On the other hand, how likely are you to call the plumber recommended to you by your friend or neighbor? Extremely likely. You're probably gonna call. Here are some reasons why referrals are so powerful. They come from a credible third party with first hand experience of a product or service. Therefore, they are much better than advertising. I mean, think about it. An advertisement is when a company tells you how great they are, isn't it much more powerful when that comes from a friend of yours? Referrals are pre qualified. Birds of a feather flock together. So chances are if someone has used you as a wedding photographer, their friends are going to be in that similar demographic. And lastly, referrals are free. It does not cost a dime to get a referral. So these are some reasons why referrals are so powerful. Referrals are the most powerful marketing your business can have better than advertising and much better than social media. Within three years, more than half of my business came through referrals. And within five years of starting my business, more than 75% of my wedding photography business was through referral. Imagine how great would it be to focus on doing what you love, which is being a photographer and not on generating business. That's why referrals are so powerful. So just buckle up and let's get going. 3. The Big 3 Referrals: What is the referral? Big Three. The Big Three are the three primary components that we're going to use to build your referral generating machine. The Big Three include referrals from past and current clients, referrals from other wedding vendors and finally, referrals from other wedding photographers. When most people think about referrals, they're probably thinking about referrals from their own clients. And that's certainly going to be the case here. This is going to be a major part of our Big Three referral generating machine. We're going to talk about ways to maximize referrals from your current clients, and that's gonna include ways that you probably haven't thought of before. Next come referrals from other wedding vendors. Be the D days. Videographers, florists, caterers. Now, ah, lot of wedding photographers are always complaining about not getting referrals from other vendors. I'm gonna show you a plan, A process, a step by step program for generating mawr of those vendor referrals. Lastly, we're gonna talk about getting more referrals from other wedding photographers. Now, this may seem strange to you because you might be thinking about other wedding photographers as your competition. It doesn't have to be that way. I'm gonna walk you through a step by step plan where you can work with other wedding photographers to build your referral generating machine. And that's the referral. Big Three clients, vendors and photographers. Now let's start with the first of the Big Three, and that is referrals from your clients. 4. Are You Awesome or Average?: before we can expect to get more referrals from our clients, we should ask ourselves this uncomfortable question. Are you awesome or simply average? Now most people think of ourselves probably well above average. The truth is, we're not. And those referrals are Onley truly going to go to those awesome photographers. And I don't just mean your photography skills. I'm talking about everything. Your presentation, your demeanor, your personality, your likability, your customer service. All of that has to be awesome. If you want to expect more referrals, however, human beings as a species are generally pretty delusional. For example, 94% of college professors rate themselves as above average. 1/3 of software engineers said that they are in the top 5%. 93% of drivers ranked themselves in the top half. And, amazingly, 36% of drivers believe that they are better than average. Even while texting and driving. Obviously human beings are a little bit delusional. So when it comes to your photography business, is this you not much contact after the client books you? Maybe an engagement session is when you see them between booking and the wedding, maybe not a quick phone call before the wedding to tidy up the last minute details and then images delivered a couple months after the wedding. Does this describe you? Well, if so, I don't care how good your images are. You are no better than average. And if so, how can you expect to get tons of client referrals? So really, really Look at yourself in the mirror and ask yourself, Are you truly awesome or are you simply average? In order to get those referrals, we're gonna have to turn ourselves into awesome photographers, and that's what we're going to talk about in the remainder of this section. 5. Make a Great First Impression: becoming an awesome photographer in your client's eyes. All begins with your first impression that you make on them, rightly or wrongly, fairly or unfairly. That first impression you make on them is powerful and long lasting, so you have to get it right. Making that positive first impression all begins with your appearance. This is before a single word comes out of your mouth. There are so many photographers that get this wrong, they say to themselves, Oh, it should all be about my work, my photography. That is simply incorrect. How can the client be confident that you're going to deliver stylish images? If you're dressed like a slob yourself? So are you well groomed? That's number one and number two. Are your clothes clean? Well fitting and stylish. I'm not talking about wearing a full suit to the meeting. If you're a man or a fancy dress. If you're a woman, I just mean, Are you clearly put together? Do you know what you're doing? How can the client be competent? You can deliver those stylish images when you're not stylish yourself. Remember that you are a reflection of your client. You represent your client's brand out of all the vendors that are gonna be there on wedding day, you, as the photographer, are going to be the most visible one by far. So with the client, be comfortable having you be seen by their friends, relatives and business associates all day long. That's why you have to make a great first impression with your grooming and your style. The other part of making a great first impression is obviously going to be your personality . Are you positive and enthusiastic? Do you have a good sense of humor? Are you delighted to meet the client and be in their company? Is it clear that you love what you do? And most importantly, do you seem like you'd be fun to be around? All of this goes into making a great first impression. There are a lot of photographers that when they're first getting to know their client, it's all about. Here are my rules. Here's what I will do and I won't do. Why does that have to be part of the discussion? At least in the beginning? Remember, you're trying to make a great first impression. Remember that you only have one chance to make a great first impression. If you want to be an awesome photographer in your client's eyes, get this right 6. Before the Wedding: Congratulations. You got the gig. Now. What are some things that you can do before the wedding? To firmly place yourself in that awesome category worthy of a client referral? Well, the very first thing I do after I get hired is I send a gift to the client with a hand written note. The gift is not photography related. You know, it's not a credit for another album spread. It could be anything. It could be something like a corkscrew, a cocktail shaker, Starbucks card, barbecue sauce. It's just the thought that counts. You were sending them this gift to tell them that you value your business. You're thankful for their business. You can't wait to get started, and you really value having them as a client. How many other vendors are going to do this? None. Is the dressmaker going to do this? The cake maker, the caterer, the deejay know you're going to be the only one that does this. You are really going to stand out right from the very beginning. People love to receive gifts and they really like to know that you care and that you value their business. The client will most likely contact you too. Thank you. Either in a phone call, email or text, use this as an opportunity to suggest meeting soon for the engagement session as soon as possible. The engagement session is very powerful because this will be your first true opportunity to demonstrate your excellence. So you want to take the engagement session very seriously A lot more seriously than most wedding photographers. Take it. You want to be totally prepared. You want to have the locations planned out. You wanna have poses and concepts planned out and ready to go. So you're not just standing around wondering what to do when the session begins? Don't fiddle with your gear immediately. Begin to give them direction in a calm, positive, competent matter. So the engagement session will display your excellence right from the beginning of the relationship. Immediately after the e session, I make a framed print and I send it to them along with a hand written note. Something really shortened. Simple. Wow. You guys look great on camera. Can't wait for the big day. Now. This is not an expensive item. We're talking about a five by seven or eight by 10 print cost about a dollar $2 to print inside of a 10 to $12 frame. So the whole thing is gonna be less than $20 but it is going to make a huge impact. Frame prints are really impressive items again, they are not gonna believe it. They're going to be like, Wow, I can't believe our photographer sent us this. They're going to show this print toe everyone that comes in the house and already it's going to be giving you some implied referrals like, Wow, your photographer did what? So this is a great opportunity. So after the e session, send them a framed print with a hand written note. What if your client has not purchased an engagement session or there's no engagement session is part of the package that they bought? Well, in that case, call and meet up for coffee or a drink anyway, Just say, Hey, I'm so glad that I'm gonna be a wedding photographer. Wanted to get together for a drink and for coffee. And, you know, start planning out your day while you're there at the meeting. Snap a picture. It could be in the cafe, in the bar or just step outside, bring your camera and just take one really nice picture of them. And then you're going to send that image as a framed print gift to your client. So either way, if there's an engagement session or not, you're gonna have that beautiful frame print to send them. They're going to be absolutely stunned by this about maybe three or four months before the wedding. I make sure I have a planning meeting with the client. Include their wedding planner if they have one. But if not, you know, just with you and the couple create a detailed timeline. This is your chance to make sure the wedding runs smoothly. Make sure you include plenty of buffer time in the timeline. When I see things go wrong, it's mainly due to a lack of time. Let me give you a perfect example, so you may see a timeline that says, Okay. Ah, 15 minute drive from the hotel to the park for the wedding party pictures. Well, it may be 15 minute drive to the park, but it's probably gonna take 15 to 20 minutes just to get everyone from the hotel room into the limo. Right? That's time that most people getting but married don't think about. So that's your opportunity to make sure things go very smoothly on the wedding day. The smoother things go on the wedding day, the more great pictures you'll have and the more relaxed your clients will be, the happier they'll be and the more likely they are to put you in that awesome category a couple weeks before the wedding. You want to have that final prep call. It could be a phone call. Or maybe you even want to get together again. You're going to review the timeline in detail. Make sure there's no misunderstandings. Assume nothing. Your goal is to make sure things go as smoothly as possible on the wedding day so everyone can relax and have a slow, a stress level as possible and enjoy the day. The last thing I do is send a final hand written note to the client two weeks, 2 10 days before the wedding. It's just a really simple just saying Hey, relax. Everything's gonna be great. You guys are doing great. You look great on camera and can't wait for the wedding, so just give them some final words of encouragement. This just simply shows that you care again. One last chance to display how awesome you are. Is the florist going to do this? Is the deejay going to do this? Is the videographer going to do this? No. You're gonna be the Onley one that does this. It shows that you care. All right, so that is before the wedding. This is probably the most important part of getting great client referrals is to getting clients to really like you even before you've taken the first wedding day photo. So that's what you should be doing before the wedding. 7. At the Wedding: you've done a great job on your pre wedding interactions with your client. Now let's seal the deal at the wedding itself. Let's put yourself in that awesome category worthy of more referrals. Remember, you are on stage at the wedding from the moment you arrive until the moment you pack up and leave now is going to be your chance to shine. The strange thing is, at nearly every single wedding I've ever shot, I've had at least one guest come to me by the end of the wedding and say you're a great photographer. Now think about that. They have not seen a single picture. And yet they've called me a great photographer just based on what they've observed throughout the day. And like any actor on stage, it all begins with your wardrobe. In other words, what to wear Now you want to dress comfortably, but you still want to look sharp. You want to elevate yourself beyond what the typical wedding photographer does in everything they do, right? And that includes what you wear at the wedding. So dress more like a guest and less like a ninja. As far as how you wanna act at the wedding. Well, always be. Come ABC always become, Never act flustered. Even if things go wrong, give polite but firm directions. You want to be seen as being competent, so you still have to be in control. But be polite about it and have fun and enjoy the day. That's it. Be relaxed, become, have fun and be competent. Now you never want toe worry about enforcing your rights. I hear about this all the time wedding photographers throwing a fit at the wedding because one of their rights has been violated. Don't do this. It just makes you seem like a jerk. So, for example, the deejay in violation to your photography exclusivity clause starts taking pictures at the dance floor, maybe for their Facebook page. Should you march up to the D. J. Make a scene than march up to your bride and tell her how the deejay is violating your contract? Absolutely not. Why do you even care if the deejay does this for their Facebook page? Just ignore it, right? You get a box dinner instead of a hot meal, and your contract said you would get a hot meal. Who cares? Eat the sandwich and then get on with your day. How about this one? Uncle Bob is being a nuisance. Should you yell it, Uncle Bob, and then go to the bride and complain about him? No. All right, Here's how you haven't handle Uncle Bob. Go up to Uncle Bob, who is a photo enthusiast, and just chat with him. Have a three minute conversation. Say something like, Hey, I see you've got that Fuji X T one. How do you like it? Well, Uncle Bob is going to be extremely flattered that the professional photographer is chatting with him asking his opinion about something, and immediately he is going to come on your side. And so then, when it comes time to take some of that wedding party, you could just say to Uncle Bob. Hey, um, for this next shot, could you just stand aside for just 10 seconds while I get it? And then you can come in and get your shot? He's gonna love you for it, right? And then when he sees the block post to your images, he's probably gonna ford those around with his recommendation. Right? So that's how you end about handle Uncle Bob so don't let these minor irritations or intrusions upon your rights affect you in any way. Whatever you do, always, always remember that if people like you, they'll like your photography. If they don't like you, they won't like your photography. Do this mental experiment. Ask yourself who is a better photographer, the talented jerk in the ninja suit or the slightly above photographer? That's happy, fun, confident and stylish. People are gonna prefer that second photographer every single time. And remember most of the wedding party, and many of the guests are potential clients of yours, right? They're gonna observe you. So that's how do you behave at the wedding? Be fun. Be happy, be confident and be stylish, and you'll be well on your way to putting yourself in that awesome category worthy of more referrals. 8. After the Wedding: okay. You've done all the right things before the wedding. You did a great job at the wedding. You're 2/3 of the way there to putting yourself in that awesome category worthy of many referrals. The last part of the process is what you're going to do after the wedding. So after the wedding, you're going to do three things. Number one, you're going to move fast. You're going to get those images in your client's hands as quickly as possible. Number two, you are going to send your third and final gift and number three, you're going to run a challenge. Okay, So what do I mean by these three? Well, first of all, let's talk about moving fast. Your clients will never be more eager, ready? Willing to buy them. They are immediately after the wedding. It's just simple psychology. Right after the wedding, they are pumped. They're still high in the experience. They're ready to buy bigger albums. More products from you. If you just wait six months, 78 months, eight months. The clients enthusiasm level drops. They're not gonna buy as much on who knows. Even in the worst case scenario, they might have split up by then. Do you think you're going to sell extra album pages to a client that has split up? OK, so that's one of the reasons why you should be moving fast. Number two faster equals better. Customer service equals more referrals. Is there anyone out there that wishes that they got slower service? And finally, if you're slow, that means you're gonna have a growing backlog if it takes you four months to get a wedding out the door. But then the following week, you have another wedding. The week after that, you have another wedding. The week after that, you have another wedding. Your backlog is just growing horrifically. I mean, it is incredibly stressful. Why would you ever want to put yourself through that? So these are three reasons why you should move fast. Well, how fast should you be moving here on my guidelines? Number one, That sneak peek image should be emailed to the client within 24 hours of the wedding. So right after the wedding, the next day you've downloaded the images. You've backed up your images. You've just taken a quick look and you found an image that looks really great. Just email it to the client and say, Hey, just a sneak peek. Here's a nice image. Have a fun honeymoon. And don't worry. When you get back, I'll have your image is ready for you. The block post should be up within one week of the wedding. So this is the major blogged post where you talk about the day you're putting up the images links to the other vendors. That major block post should be up within one week of the wedding, and then everything else pretty much done within the 1st 2 weeks. So the images should be in the mail. Maybe you put them on a thumb drive. And the first draft album designed email to the client come all complete within two weeks of the wedding. So that is my recommendation for how fast you should be moving. Now what if you can't move that fast for whatever reason? Well, you got two choices. Number one get faster. You take a course on light room, take a course on wedding photography workflow. Just get faster at processing those images, and if you still can't do it will then outsource. If you can't get the wedding done within two weeks. Hire someone that could do it. It really does not cost that much in the grand scheme of things. In fact, it'll probably make you money because if you outsource and get it done quicker, that client will probably buy mawr and you'll get more of falls. So imagine this. How satisfied will the client be If it takes you five months to produce their images, they're not gonna be satisfied. They're gonna be irritated. They're going to be impatient. So the first tenet toe what you should be doing after the wedding is to move fast. Also, within that 1st 2 weeks, you're gonna be sending your third and final gift. And that gift is going to be another framed print with a hand written note. So this could be just a signature image that you think is fabulous. Just make a five by 78 by 10 print. Put it in a nice plain frame that cost you 10 12 box and mail it to the client. Probably when you mail that thumb, drive with their images and make sure you include a very nice hand written note. So, again, this is a very inexpensive item. We're talking maybe $15.20 dollars tops, but it will make a huge impact on the client. And they're going to display that print and the their guests are going to ask them about it . And they're going to say you won't believe it. My photographer just sent it to me as a gift. Ah, so this is going to really elevate yourself in your client's eyes. So this is your third and final gift. The last thing that you're going to be doing is to run a challenge. So what am I talking about here? So the client gets a prize if they're blogged. Post gets more than 100 unique comments. So after the wedding and you send that block posted to clients in your email to the link to the bog post, you can say that you're running a challenge, and the objective is to get 100 or more unique comments on that post. Ah, good prizes, maybe like a 16 by 20 canvas gallery wrap or something like that. So why do you want to run a challenge like that? Well, first of all, it insures more than 100 unique visitors will see the block post will see your beautiful images. Many of those visitors are going to be in your perfect wedding demographic if they are friends, siblings, cousins of the couple that's getting married. Chances are they're also in that marriage age, and many of them will be single. And finally, when the client forwards the link to your block post to her friends and relatives, that is an implied referral. She would not be sending that link if she didn't love the images, right? So when she sends that link not Sheas, saying, I'm proud of these images, I hired a great photographer. So even if she doesn't specifically say so in her email, so it is still an implied referral. So right away you've got ah, 100 referrals. Okay, so that's what you do after the wedding. Move fast, because faster means more kind satisfaction, which means more referrals. Send a gift again, client satisfaction, and it makes you stand out and lastly, run the challenge. So you get mawr implied client referrals, and that's what you do after the wedding 9. Client Referrals Wrap Up: all wedding photographers want more client referrals, yet so few of them are actually doing anything to earn those referrals. In order to earn those referrals, you have to be awesome, not one step above the typical wedding vendor, not two steps above. But I'm talking three or more steps above the typical wedding vendor. Will the average wedding photographer be stylish and personable? Will the average wedding photographer provide impeccable and truly fast customer service? Will the average waiting for dogger forgive three or more gifts with hand written notes during the course of that relationship? Will the average wedding photographer half clients promote their blogged posts? No, the average wedding photographer does none of these things. And about those gifts, remember, we're talking about less than $100 spent total on the three gifts. And if you're charging 2345 $6000 for that wedding, it's really nothing. Yet. It will make a huge impact. It will truly make you stand out, and the hand written notes are gonna be Justus important as the gift itself. It's going to show that you care that's client referrals. Be awesome, and then you'll get more of those client referrals that you truly deserve 10. Vendor Referrals Overview: in this section, we're going to be discussing how to get more referrals from other wedding vendors. All photographers want more wedding referrals from other vendors, but so few of them are doing anything to actually earn those referrals. Now, to be clear, we're talking about referrals from the florist from the videographer from the deejay from the caterer. What is your process for getting these vendor referrals? Well, do you link to the vendor in your wedding block post? Do you email that block post or a link to that block post to the vendor? If you do this, you are probably ahead of 95% of all the other wedding photographers out there. But this is on Lee the beginning. This is the bare minimum matter. Fact, I don't even think this is the minimum. This is less than the minimum of what you need to do. So if you want more of those vendor referrals, we're going to discuss what to do before the wedding, what to do at the wedding and what to do after the wedding. But this is only the beginning. We're going to talk about developing ongoing relationships with these vendors and actually formalizing the referral process. So what happens continuously? All right, so that's vendor referrals. Get ready because there's going to be a lot of information in this section. 11. Vendors: Before the Wedding: just like you set the stage for a great relationship with your client by doing the right things before the wedding. We're going to do the same thing by starting to establish those relationships with the other wedding vendors before the wedding. The most important thing you need to do before the wedding is to change your mindset you want to go from. How can this vendor help me? And you want to change that into How can I help this vendor? You should be totally focused on helping the vendors, almost as if those other vendors were your client. One of my favorite business quotes of all time is from Zig Ziglar, who said You can have everything in life you want. If you help other people get what they want. He knows what he's talking about. And this is exactly what I mean when you want to change your mindset into helping those other vendors and treating them almost as if they were a client. Here's what you're going to be doing before the wedding Number one. You're going to get the contact information for all the important vendors The florist, the caterer, the cake baker, the videographer and you're gonna get their contact information. If the client is using a wedding planner, it's really easy. You'll just get this information from the planner. If they're not using a planner, you'll have to get this information directly from your client. You get a contact every one of those vendors and introduce yourself. Let them know that you're going to be the wedding photographer. You look forward to working with them, and then you're gonna ask them if they need any particular image. Now think about that. How many wedding photographers do you think do this? The answer is not so. For example, the florist might be working with an unusual flower, and they don't have any images of that for their website. It could be something that they could ask you for. They are simply going to be blown away by this. Lastly, you're going to tell them in advance exactly what you're going to be doing. So tell them that you're blogged. Post for this wedding will include at least one image. So, for example, one at least one image of the wedding cake or one image of the winning flower, and you're gonna link to their site in your block post. And then once the block post is up, you're going to email the vendor with a link to the Post. So you're going to tell them exactly what to expect so that when they get your email, they'll know it's coming and they'll know what to do with it. So they're gonna be no other wedding photographer that does this. If you do all of these things before the wedding, it will go a long way towards establishing a trusted relationship. 12. Vendors: At the Wedding: Let's talk about what to do at the wedding. To begin cultivating those vendor relationships, your mission is to say hello and introduce yourself to as many of the vendors as possible. And while you're at it, ask them again. If they need anything or any particular image, take plenty of images of the vendors product as well as the vendors themselves. This is a perfect assignment to delegate to your second shooter. You're gonna be taking plenty of images of the details. This is pretty obvious. The food, the flowers that cake Any possible details. Take plenty of images or have your second shooter take those images. But you also don't want to forget the wedding vendor themselves. Like if you see the videographer, take pictures of the videographer in action, take pictures of the deejay in action. These are the type of images that may be very useful to them for their own websites. Always remember that the other vendors are part of the audience. Make a great impression on the vendors, just like you want to make a great impression on the other guests at the wedding. I mean, think about it when they make a referral their reputation is on the line. You need to make them trust you. Would you make a referral to a wedding vendor who was unreliable late or maybe just simply unfriendly? Is that the type of person that you want to establish a relationship with and then make a referral to know you don't want to do that? So these are the things that you should be doing at the wedding. Get the other wedding vendors to see you in a positive light. Get them to know you and get them to trust you and provide a valuable service for them. That's your mission at the wedding. 13. The blog post: Now we're going to talk about what happens after the wedding primarily what you're going to do in the wedding. Blawg Post Remember toe work fast. Not only is this great for client referrals, but it's also going to impress the other vendors. So get the block post up within a week of the wedding. Are you gonna impress the other vendors if it takes you six months to block the wedding? No, the wedding is long for gotten. So work fast. When you choose your images that you're going to display for that wedding blogged post, you're obviously going to include at least one image. If not mawr for all of the major vendors. For example, the caterer You're gonna shoot plenty of flour shots, the wedding cake. All the key vendors are going to get images in this block post. I use WordPress for my website, including the blawg. If you're not using WordPress, I strongly encourage it. You'll see one of the reasons why I've uploaded the images for this wedding. And now I'm going back to my WordPress Media Library. And I'm finding the image that on up that I uploaded and then hear this image of the wedding cake. I can enter a title caption, alternative text and description. So, for example, I wrote the same thing in every box. I just wrote Wedding Cake by Julian Bakery Seattle and I put that under the title The caption. Alternative text and the description. So why do I want to tag my vendor images like this? It's simply because now when someone goes to Google and they search for wedding cake, Seattle Or maybe they're doing a search for Julian Bakery or Wedding Seattle. This image is likely to come up under the Google Image search, and when they click on the image, they'll have the option to view the page that the image was on and that will take them directly to my block post. So if you tag every one of your vendor images, this will just make it that much easier for someone to find you. Somewhere on that block post, typically at the end of the post, you were going to list every single vendor. So, for example, the wedding planners, Weddings by Joe See the venue was the Gleneagle Country Club, the officiant with Sally Adams, the caterer, a Ristic caterer and so forth. You're going to not only write the name of every vendor, but these air going to be live working links that will take you directly to each vendor's website. So make sure you do that for all the key vendors at the wedding. Finally, you're gonna email each vendor. You're gonna do this individually. So don't send one group email to all the vendors. Do it one at a time. Say something complimentary, for example. Hey, that chicken marsala was absolutely delicious. Include a link to your block post. I included several images of your food in the block post and here's a link to the Post. Make sure you attach several image files to your email. I would size them so that they're most convenient for a block post or Facebook or something like that. So make him about 800 pixels wide And tell the vendor Hey, I'm attaching several images of your food to this email. Feel free to download them and use them any way you'd like on your website on your blogger on your Facebook page on your instagram page, however you want. If you need larger images, just let me know and I'll send you the bigger files. Don't ask for anything in return. Don't ask for a referral at this point or ask for anything. You are just being extremely helpful. Think about this. Will any other wedding vendor help in any way remotely like this? Will any other wedding photographer do this? You have elevated yourself. Not one, not two, but 45 steps above any other wedding photographer that this wedding photographer has ever had an interaction with you have made yourself into that awesome category that's worthy of a referral. So that's what you do in the blogged post. This is what to do after the wedding, and you're already on your way to getting more of those vendor referrals. 14. Cultivating Vendor Relationships: Now, let's do some really deep cultivating of some of those vendor relationships over time. With each wedding, you're gonna build a portfolio of good vendors. Obviously, you're only gonna include the vendors that you respect and you like working with. And you're like their product and you're going to give the best ones the royal treatment. You're gonna offer up the royal treatment to those very best vendors. What do I mean by this? What's the royal treatment? Let's go over it. Step by step. Step one is going to be to contact the vendor and offer to run a profile of them on your blogged. Most likely, they'd be very flattered and excited. But if they simply ask you why, Well, why do you want to do this? What's in it for you? There are a few different things that you can say. Number one. You could say, Hey, I just love you Work. I love your food. I love your cake. I love your flowers. I'd like to feature it Number two. You can say that you're building a destination site to showcase the area's best wedding vendors. I mean, who would not want to be a part of that. You can also say that your website visitors will be interested. Hey, a lot of people getting married. Look at my website and I thought they'd be interested in hearing more about your business. And lastly, you can say this is also an opportunity for you to practice your editorial style writing and photography. So whatever reason you give, there should be plenty of reason for that vendor to be interested. After all, it's not gonna cost them anything. Right? Step two, you're going to go and do a photo shoot of the vendor. You need to take this photo shoot very seriously, treated like a portfolio shoot. So if you want to bring in your off camera lights or your assistant, go ahead. You need to meticulously take some portrait of the vendor as well as of their products. So treat this shoot very seriously. Step Three is to interview the vendor. You can interview them while you're there at the photo shoot or if they prefer, you can do it via email or over the phone. You're gonna ask them, you know, pretty much softball questions. How did you get started in your business? What do you like best about serving wedding clients? You can ask them any other service, specific questions. You know, for example, what's the one dish that after tasting your clients just have tohave or what? Some tricks that you do to get the party started, you know, and really get some energy going on the dance floor. So just specific questions to their business. So you're gonna take a interview? Step four, you're going to write an epic blogged post. So your inspiration is a magazine feature article, for example, most major cities have a magazine, so Boston Might magazine might run a profile of a restaurant or, you know, with photos and an interview that's going to be kind of your inspiration of what you're trying to do here. So that's gonna be your interview, plus lots of photos of the vendor. And of course, you're gonna be linking to the vendors website. Step five, you're gonna be emailing the vendor after the block post comes out. So obviously you're gonna include a link to the block post, and I think it's gonna be very helpful if you share a link to the images in a Dropbox folder. So just create a Dropbox folder and put your images of the vendor and their product in the folder and share it with them so that they can download as many images as they want. And, of course, you can repurpose all of these links and images for all your social media accounts Facebook , instagram, Twitter, etcetera. And then, lastly, after the block post comes out a few weeks later, you can follow up with some statistics so you can say, Hey, married. You realize that 600 people read that block post about your business and, UM, 500 of them click through to your website, so just keep them interested by sending them some follow up statistics. But what if, after all this effort, the vendor doesn't seem interested in developing a relationship with you? They just kind of lukewarm afterwards, and you just don't get the feeling they want to hear from you again. Has this entire thing been a colossal waste of time and effort? No, In my opinion, you still win. Even if a relationship does not develop out of this Number one, you've cut great content for your blogged, and your blog's readers will be interested, and it just shows you're busy and in demand. Number two, this content is great for Seo purposes. It's targeted search engine optimization content. So, for example, when someone does a Google search for Seattle caterer, that article that you wrote with the photo shoot is likely to pop up. And if they click on that article, boom there on your website. So there's a targeted client, so it's great for that purpose. And at the very least, you got possible images for your portfolio, and you've got an opportunity to hone your craft. And lastly, that block post will serve as a great example, which you can show to other vendors. You can say, Hey, look, this is the an article and photo shoot I did for this caterer. I'd love to do the same thing for you and your floral business so you can use it as an example. So, in my opinion, even if nothing really comes of it, you still win. So that is one thing that you can do to cultivate great relationships with your primary vendors. 15. Building a Relationship: Now let's start building that more formalized referral relationship with the other wedding vendors. Remember, at this point, you have not yet asked for any referrals. All you've done is deliver tremendous amount of value. At multiple times Number one, you sent a pre wedding email to the wedding vendor. You introduced yourself at the wedding and then took photos of their products and services . At the wedding, you did a wedding blogged post in which you put up images of the vendors service as well as linked to their website. You sent them an email after the wedding with a link to the block post, as well as with images attached for the vendor to use. You did a huge block profile of that vendor, a magazine style interview and photo shoot. And you've also put the images up on a Dropbox folder so the vendor can use them. And then finally, after the profile went up, you sent the email to the vendor again. So you've had at least six contacts with the vendor. So by now they should know you are at least know who you are, and at this point, you can begin approaching them for a referral. Do you see the difference between having done all this and asking for a referral and then having not done any of this and just out of the blue, asking for a referral, the difference is night and day. So what you gonna do? Asked to meet for coffee to say, Hey, let's meet for coffee. I want to chat about business catch up. Maybe we can find out a way that we can help each other after you spend a few moments catching up and chit chatting. Now is the time that you can suggest a more formal referral relationship. And the best way for this to work is through the use of a gift card exchange. For example, you're gonna have gift cards for your business, and the vendor is gonna have gift cards for their business. And you're gonna be exchanging these gift cards at the meeting. Here's what I would suggest. Give the vendor a small stack of your gift cards, have these pre printed and ready to go and bring them to the meeting with you. As far as the vendors gift cards offer to make them for them. At no charge, you're gonna make this as easy as possible for the vendor toe work with you. They don't not have to worry about making their own gift cards, which is just yet another thing for them to do. And they're already probably too busy as it is. So you're gonna offer to make cards for them. When the cards are done, you're gonna bring them and hand deliver them to the vendor. Yet another touch point. The plan is that you will each hand out the others gift card to every potential wedding client you meet with. Let me say that again. You will each hand out the others gift card to every potential wedding client you meet with . So this is not even a client. They have not yet hired you. That just meeting with you, you can give the other vendors gift cards out as a gift. At that meeting, you were going to repeat this process with the other wedding vendors that are on your short list with other caterers and bakers and videographers and DJs. Now you're gonna have a whole collection of different vendor gift cards, and all of those vendors are also going to have your gift cards. Now let's take it to the next level that will really bring you over the top. You were gonna order gift card boxes. You confined these very inexpensively online. The best place to look is Ford pre made jewelry boxes. Just do a Google search and you'll find many manufacturers for these. You're gonna get these jewelry boxes, make sure you get them imprinted with your logo, which can be done inexpensively. And that's also going to look very impressive. So you're gonna have a stack of boxes with your logo on them. You're gonna fill the box with the gift cards from your different vendor partners. It's the only gift card that's not going to be here is the one for your business. You're gonna fill it with the gift cards for all the other vendors, and you're going to give this gift to every potential wedding client you meet with. So they're not yet clients. They've just met with you to see if they want to hire you to be there. Photographer at the conclusion of the meeting, you weak going to give them this gift box and say, Hey, by the way, I know you're probably looking and researching for a lot of other wedding wedding vendors. Right now, here's a list of my recommended vendors that I've worked with. They all do excellent work, and I'm going to give you this gift card box that includes gift cards for all of them. Think about the power of this gift card box. No other wedding photographer is going to be offering their clients this. It is really going to make you stand out. This box is super powerful and super valuable. This already put two in that awesome category. So not only is it going to help get you hired, but once you are hired, it's going to help get you more referrals. And if the client uses any of those gift cards, it reinforces the power of the relationship you have with those other vendors. When that gift card gets used and they hire the florist, they're going to know exactly where that referral came from and thus they're going to be given positive reinforcement and so more referrals will go back to you. It is a virtuous cycle now. Could you see why this is much more effective than simply calling a vendor and asking for a referral. The entire system is designed to lead the other vendor down a path of virtuous path that reinforces and repeats over and over again. So that is how I recommend building an effective referral relationship. 16. The Mastermind Group: I'm gonna call this one optional. But if you are super committed to maximizing those vendor referrals and if you're also looking for new ideas for your business kind of like getting a consulting team in place, you might want to consider setting up a mastermind referral group. It will take a bit of work, effort and coordination, but it will be well worth it. What is a mastermind slash referral group number one It's gonna reinforce those referral partnerships you have with the other vendors is going to give you the opportunity to brainstorm new ideas and work out business issues. And, most importantly, this is going to hold you accountable for results. It can't be. Well, someday I'm gonna work on my marketing that someday is now and your mastermind partners are gonna hold you to it, setting up a mastermind group two main things to look out for. There should be one invent vendor per category, and you need to meet regularly at a coffee shop in a restaurant for breakfast, for lunch, for drinks you need to meet regularly at a minimum once per month, but even more often is better than that. The categories that you should be inviting to join the mastermind Group one per category. Inefficient. Ah, wetter planner, Wedding planner, A deejay venue. So, for example, the sales manager for a hotel, a caterer, a band videographer, florist and a baker. So including yourself, that should be somewhere between 9 10 12 members of this mastermind group. So a typical meeting agenda would be that to vendors for that meeting will be on the hot seat at every single meeting. The hot seat report from last meeting. So the two vendors that were on the hot seat at the last meeting are going to give a brief report. And you're going to do a referral roundtable where in one minute, every member of the group is going to say what referrals they've given that since the last meeting. And lastly, everyone is going to make sure that they bring their own gift cards to the meeting So everyone's supply of cards is topped off as far as the hot seat itself. What happens here? Well, it should be about 15 minutes per vendor. This is where you're going to explain an issue you're working on, for example. Oh, I need to do my re pricing redesigned my packages. Here's what I was trying to do and the group is going to issue their feedback. They're going to say, Well, I don't really like that pricing change because this that and the other thing So the group is going to react to your explanation of what you're working on. You're also going to be accountable for reporting back at the next meeting what you actually did. So this is going to make sure that you take action, so that is a mastermind referral group. It's not for everyone. It will take some effort, but the results will be well worth it. 17. Vendor Referral Wrap Up: All right, let's wrap up this section on getting more referrals from other wedding vendors. The most important thing to remember is to give before you can expect to receive. What I mean by this is you're gonna be giving an outrageous amount of value. You're gonna be contacting the vendors before the wedding. During the wedding. After the wedding, you're gonna be blogging about them. You're gonna have images of their products. You're gonna be emailing links to your block post. You're gonna be emailing them images that they can download and use for free on their websites. You are giving a tremendous amount of value and Onley. Then will you ask for the referral? And even when you're asking for the referral, you're gonna be giving even more value. For example, offering to make gift cards for the vendor for free. All right, So the key concept number one multiple points of contacts before the wedding at the wedding after the wedding, doing that profile blogged post after the profile block post meeting for coffee. So you're gonna meet multiple times and really get to know that Bender so they can trust you. You're always going to be giving value. Whether it's exposure on your blogged links incoming links to their website images that they can use always with no strings attached. You're gonna give over the top value. You're gonna make gift cards for the vendors, and you're going to give that gift box to your client. Remember, Even from your client's perspective, you're going to be giving more over the top value even while you're working to get those vendor referrals. The bottom line is you are unbelievably awesome. You're gonna put yourself 345 10 steps ahead off every other wedding photographer in your area. What you're going to be offering this vendors thes vendors is simply unheard of. You're gonna be in a class all by itself. And that, my friends, is how you're going to get more vendor referrals. 18. Photographer Referral Intro: in this section, we're going to discuss getting referrals from other photographers. By my third year in business, about 1/4 of all my business came via referrals from other wedding photographers. Think about that. I think about how weight it would be if 25% of your calendar got automatically booked up just from the other photographers, you know? Now wait a minute, though. Other wedding photographers are my competition, aren't they? Why would they want to give me a referral? Well, this is a common mis understanding. Other wedding photographers are your competition on Lee for days that they are not booked once they're booked, for example, June 18th they get booked. They ceased to be your competition for that date because remember, unlike portrait photography, which could be booked at any time, ah, wedding must take place on a certain date. And once a photographer's book for that date, they can no longer sell it to anyone else, right? So referrals from weddings are possibly the best referrals that you can get. And yes, that's me in action here. Why are they so powerful? Because a wedding photographers referral is a professional endorsement. Let's face it, the person in the Cube sitting next to you at work might have referred a photographer to you. But how much do they really know about photography? Do they know the difference between a good picture and a mediocre one? All right, so that's why a referral from a professional photographer can be extremely powerful and effective. So get ready. This section is all about how to generate those referrals from other photographers. 19. Find Other Wedding Photographers: The first obvious step in getting more referrals from other wedding photographers is getting to know other wedding photographers. You probably want to do this even if you weren't that interested in getting referrals. After all, being a wedding photographer can be a lonely business. When you're not meeting with clients, you could easily get shut in in your own office, just sitting there in front of your computer all day long. So it's great to get out and meet other wedding photographers and talk shop. Find out what they do. So step number one, get to know them. Where are you gonna find other wedding photographers if you don't already know them? Well, they're a couple places you can look. One place you can start out is with meet ups. I'm here on meet up dot com. So right here in the search box, I'm just going to select photography within, say, 25 miles of How about Melbourne, Australia, so you can see a bunch of meet up groups. Some are on photo shops. Some are on photo walks somewhere in street photography. I'm sure there's got to be one here for weddings. Yeah, here it is. Melbourne wedding photographers 87 members. So this is just kind of one quick place where you can look to find some meet ups. Another place where you can find other wedding photographers is going to be wedding photography forums or Facebook groups. Now, Ah, lot of forums have kind of died out. As Facebook has taken over, However, there are a couple ones out there that are still very active. One of the best ones out there is the digital wedding forum, and you can see the form is broken out. Business marketing sales, shooting gear on so forth. So ah, it's a pretty active form and it still is active right here, even in 2000 and 15. So this is one place where you might start and look for meet ups or other photographers to hook up with. Another place to find other photographers is with your local or national industry associations. For example, there's the Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Group WPP. I or maybe your country has its own local group, like in the UK, the Guild of Photographers. So there are plenty of professional associations around the world that you can hook hook up with they might have their own members, area forums and meet ups. However, sometimes the best way to meet with another wedding photographer is the direct approach. The simple cold introduction is where I met most of my photography friends. So what does the cold introduction? Well, it's really simple. Contact another wedding photographer and asked to meet up for coffee. Now, chances are, a surprisingly large percentage of other wedding photographers will be receptive to this. Hey, you know, talking shop is fun, and it gives them a chance to get away from their computer for a while. It's important to remember a couple things, though. Don't be too aggressive about this. This is just a Hey, let's get to Ah, together, let's talk shop. Let's have some fun. And don't be asking for referrals or anything like that. When you're just meeting with someone, it's important that you build the relationship. First, have fun. Talk about your business. Find out what's working for them. You can share what's working with for you. Maybe you can even help each other, whether it's a equipment loan, if they need one. Or maybe you can exchange some second shooting duties. If you're not booked. Just build a relationship first. So that's Step one. Getting to know some other wedding photographers. Whether or not you want to build a referral relationship, you probably want to do this anyway. It'll be fun. It'll be helpful, and it will be a good chance to step away from that computer. 20. Choose a Photographer Partner: hopefully, over time you'll develop relationships with several wedding photographers in your area, and these will probably grow into some pretty nice friendships, and you'll learn a lot from each other. However, when it comes to Step two of the formal referral system, you need to start identifying your ideal photography partner. So what's important when it comes to that? Well, your perfect partner should have three primary characteristics. Number one. They should have a similar style as yourself. Why is that? Well, cross referrals have to work, so whoever is attracted to your style of photography when you're booked and you refer them to your partner, they should also be attracted to your partner's style of photography. So if you have two opposite styles or differing styles, it's obviously not gonna work if you do everything in a photo journalistic style, primarily black and white, and your partner likes to do these elaborately lit, set up portrait's and vibrant color. Obviously there's a mismatch, and whoever's attracted to one of you will not be attracted to the other. So you got to start out by making sure that you have similar styles. You should also have a similar price this one is pretty obvious if you are a $2000 photographer and your partner is a $6000 part of photographer, Obviously those cross referrals are not gonna work, So you want to make sure that you're in a similar price range. Lastly, you want to make sure that they have a similar level of business to you, but ideally, slightly busier. It's not gonna work if there's a total mismatch in the amount of activity you have, because then the referrals will end up being a one way street, and that won't be a satisfactory relationship. So you want to make sure that you have a similarly similar level of style. But ideally, your partner photographer would be slightly busier than you, because after all the more dates they're booked, the more likely they are to be referring dates to you. So you don't want to pick a photography partner that has trouble getting any bookings at all. So these are three characteristics off finding that perfect partner to develop a formal referral relationship with 21. Setting Up The System: now that you've found the perfect photographer to partner up with, let's go over how the referral system is actually going to work. Step number one. You need to set up a shared Google calendar so quickly. Here's how to do it. If you haven't already done so, just create a free Google account and then goto Google Calendar right here on the left, where it says my calendars. Click on the drop down menu and click on. Create a new calendar and you can give this calendar whatever name you want. For example, wedding photography group description. If you want to choose the right time zone, you do not want this to be a public calendar. You want to enter the specific email address of your partner, and you want to give them permission to make changes. And ah, men is sharing and then click. Add that person, and that's how you set up a shared Google calendar. Now that I've created this group calendar that have called wedding photography, you can see it right here. I've just chosen just display on Lee this calendar for the moment, and let's say I get booked. For example Sunday, December 6th I just enter an event. I'll just simply say lk booked. That's it on. I'll click, create event Now they'll be this clear marker that I am booked for this day. So when my partner gets an inquiry that he's booked well, before he gives me a referral, he's gonna want to check the calendar to make sure that I am free. But if I also happen to be booked, then he knows that he can refer to that wedding to somebody else. But the first place he's going to check is to see if I'm booked or not. So both me and my partner are both gonna enter all of our bookings on this calendar. Step two is going to be to craft a referral email template that both you and your partner can use. So you might want to say something like this. Hi, Amy. Thanks for contacting me. And congratulations on your upcoming wedding. Unfortunately, I'm already booked on your date. However, I know that Joe Blow, a fantastic photographer with a similar style and prices myself happens to be available. I'd hire him to shoot my own wedding if I were getting married. If you hurry you might be able to book him. I know he's in great demand. You confined him at www dot joe blow dot com. Thanks again and good luck with your wedding. Make sure you BCC your partner so that they know the referral is coming and they can keep track of it. And so that's basically it. Setting up a referral template. Can you EDM or photographers to your referral group? Sure, go ahead. Add one or two more photographers to the group, but that's about it. You want to keep the group fairly small because remember, the more photographers you add to the group, the more photographers that the referrals have to be spread amongst. So keep it tight, All right, so let's summarize the wedding photographer referral system. First of all, get to know other photographers in your area. It's a good thing to do. They'll give you ideas, and it'll be fine. Once you've developed a solid relationship, you confined an ideal partner and invite them to partner up. You want to create a shared calendar and a referral email template that you both will be using, and that's pretty much it. Stay in close contact with your partner and make sure you keep those referrals coming on. That is how you develop a photographer referral system. 22. Course Wrap Up: Congratulations. You've just completed the course. Wedding photography. Build a referral generating machine. We talked about why referrals are so powerful. In this course, they're the cheapest and best source of new clients. We discussed the Big Three referral sources, which are getting referrals from your clients from other wedding vendors and finally, other wedding photographers. And lastly, we discussed specific strategies and techniques you can use to implement the system. So here's my advice. I want you to start your referral system with your very next wedding. Matter of fact, with your very next appointment, remember, make a good first impression and be awesome. Best of luck to you and have a profitable day.