Wedding Photography Referrals + Etiquette

Business

I’ve been thinking about referrals lately, specifically referrals in form of peer endorsements. Nothing feels greater than receiving a referral from a fellow photographer…no, really, a referral from a friend feels the way Nutella-stuffed strawberries taste: amazing. I’ve mentioned this before, but I built my business on word of mouth referrals, and a large amount of these referrals came from fellow photographers my early years of business. I go into depth about how I created a network of photographers to pass referrals to each other in Exposed Magazine, but today I want to chat about referral etiquette.

I love helping photographers build their businesses, so if I can send referrals to brides looking for wedding photographers when I’m booked or unavailable due to budget constraints, I will. In fact, I love pairing up photographers with clients! I feel like I’m fulfilling my lifelong dream of being a matchmaker!

In order for me to find the best match, I request basic wedding information and budget so I can give realistic options for the bride. Now, I’ve assembled a short list of photographers in different price brackets in Southern California and I consult this list when sending referrals. I encourage every photographer to make a list of referrals and hopefully your business is on someone else’s list too! I believe what goes around, comes around…

Here’s a a few tips on business referral etiquette…

WHAT NOT TO DO:
*Avoid asking photographers for referrals…if another photographer wants to send business your way, s/he will. Trust me.
*Do not send a mass email to a group of photographers requesting their overflow business. Not only is this impersonal, it’s tacky.
*Don’t feel entitled to a photographer’s referrals…when a photographer sends a lead your way, it’s an honor and should be treated with humility and respect.

WHAT TO DO:
*After every lead you receive, follow up with a thank you. Email, a hand-written note, a gift…anything to express appreciation. I can’t express how disheartened I am when photographers don’t say thank you. I’ve stopped sending referrals to photographers who habitually refrained from saying thank you…I prefer to endorse those who know how to express thanks.
*If you want to build your referral network, get out and get to know people. Like, really know them. Make friends, become invested in others, and find ways to help. The more you put yourself out there, the more chances you have to showcase who you are in a professional capacity. This means going to mixers/networking events, getting involved with an online forum as an active participant, and/or offering your assistance before expecting anything in return.
*Send referrals. It’s always nice to cc other photographers in the referral email to let them know you’re directing a lead their way…the next time they have a lead to send, you might be in the forefront of their mind because you showed interest in creating a business alliance. Total win/win.

I hope this offers insight into referral etiquette within the wedding industry, but if you have any questions, leave them in the blog comment box and I’ll try to answer them later today!
Happy Monday!