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Michael Lenstra
Michael Lenstra
One of the things I like to do after each year is going back and look and see where the business has come. For more years than I can remember, I’ve habitually entered the source for each booking into my customer resource management program. At the end of the year everything is tabulated and it reveals where I am doing well and where I may need to step it up. This past year’s statistics showed that:

Over 40% of my business was split between three venues of which I am on the preferred vendor list.
Roughly 25% came from referrals from past weddings.
20% came from fellow wedding pros including photographers, videographers and bridal shops
Around 10% were repeat events such as company picnics or holiday events
The remainder were split between Google searches or wedding websites

Noticeably absent from the list are any events from bridal shows, print ads or radio commercials.

Happy banquet managers. Happy couples. Happy past clients. It all adds up to a full calendar.

“The best word-of-mouth programs I’ve seen happen by design, not by accident or wishful thinking.” says Business Network International (BNI) founder Ivan Misner.

The way I see it would be helpful for those designs to include:

BE A TEAM PLAYER
For the banquet halls it starts with one rule: It’s their house, it’s their rules. If that means you follow their timeline, refrain from using cold sparks or confetti and end precisely at the scheduled end time so be it – and reaching out to them the week of the event is a must. Some of the closest friends I’ve made in my 30+ years in the business have been the banquet managers, and the stories they tell me about some of the others in our business, well, you can imagine. Just know that if you’re drinking, using profanity on the mic and playing some explicit content music it is being noted.

BUILD THAT RELATIONSHIP
If you’re the person that deposits the retainer in the bank, then waits until the week before the wedding and reaches out to the couple with an email you may have already blown your chance to get them to refer you to any family and friends let alone leave you a glowing review. Stay in touch. Check in with an email now and then. Text a wedding meme or helpful link now and then.

SAY THANK YOU
Not only to your client but also to those who have referred you.

“All too often I have seen business people waiting for business to walk through the door. They think people should be flocking to them because they are good at what they do.” Misner says. “I’m afraid the truth is, it doesn’t work that way! You have to take charge, no matter what business you’re in or how good you are, and bring the business to you.”

Until next time,
Michael