Creating systems and organization for all Wedding Creatives.
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My mission is to help creative women spend less time sitting behind the computer and more time doing what you love!
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In the wedding industry, your business relies on its reputation to be successful. When you’re just starting out, it can feel impossible to entice clients without another established wedding professional vouching for you.
This is why so many wedding professionals are vying for a coveted spot on a preferred vendor list. These exclusive lists are curated by wedding venues, planners, or other vendors, and are intended to recommend trusted and reliable wedding professionals to their clients.
From one industry professional to another, this is everything you need to know about securing a position on a preferred vendor list.
As mentioned, a preferred vendor list is a comprehensive list of recommended wedding professionals that’s compiled by wedding venues, planners, or other vendors. These lists serve as a trusted resource for couples that are looking for reliable, high-quality services to assist them on their big day.
Getting your wedding business on a preferred vendor list is a game changer. It lets potential clients know that your work has been vetted and approved by other industry professionals. Even more, it shows that other vendors enjoy working with you.
When your business is featured on a preferred vendor list, it implies that you have built a strong, lasting reputation within the wedding industry and have demonstrated both professionalism and expertise in your field.
It’s not always easy to earn a spot on a preferred vendor list, but it’s worth your time to try. Being on a preferred vendor list offers a number of lucrative benefits for your business, including:
Even considering your current marketing efforts, being recommended by respected vendors or venues exposes your business to a wider audience. Visibility is imperative to your company’s success. Being on a preferred vendor list increases your chances of being seen by potential clients.
Potential clients don’t want to risk their special day by taking a chance on an unproven vendor. When a venue or planner features your business on their preferred vendor list, it acts as a vote of confidence for your services. They are vouching for you, signifying that you are trustworthy, reliable, and offer exceptional services.
If your business is placed on a preferred vendor list, it’s because your services align with the venue’s target demographic… which means that you likely have a similar target market! This increases the likelihood of attracting your ideal clients, ones that will value the recommendations provided and offer opportunities for your skillset to shine.
Once again, securing a spot on a vendor list can be difficult, as many other businesses are competing to be featured. After all, every wedding professional wants a chance to attract their ideal clients and allow their businesses to flourish. Fortunately, there are a few strategies that you can employ in order to increase your chances, such as:
Try building relationships with other owners and vendors through networking, attending industry events, and collaborating on styled shoots or client projects. Establishing strong, genuine connections can lead to recommendations and referrals. As an added bonus, you’ll make some friends along the way!
Your work should speak for itself. Even during the smallest interactions, consistently deliver outstanding service and aim to exceed your client’s expectations every time. Positive reviews and testimonials from clients helps strengthen your reputation in the industry. Thus, making you an attractive choice for preferred vendor lists.
Don’t be too humble! Take time to highlight your expertise, showcasing your unique selling points and services. You can do this through a professional website, business portfolio, or social media page. Whether you’re just starting out or have been in business for decades, showing off your work allows you to demonstrate your specialized skills and creativity, helping you stand out amongst the crowd.
If your business is placed on a preferred vendor list, it implies that the professionals that compiled the list genuinely enjoy working with you. However, they have to work with you to find out that they like working with you! Take every opportunity available to collaborate with other wedding professionals through projects like styled shoots, workshops, or joint marketing campaigns. When you work together and cross-promote each other’s services, you are expanding your reach, increasing visibility, and building lasting relationships in the industry.
Though many of us were taught as children not to ask for things that weren’t freely given, when it comes to preferred vendor lists, I’ve learned that it never hurts to ask. Provided, of course, that you do so with grace and under the right conditions. In my experience, timing is crucial when requesting to be featured on a vendor list. You should ask yourself a few questions before reaching out:
Don’t “cold call” the listmaker. Before requesting to be on a vendor list, ensure that you’ve built a solid rapport with the individual or organization curating the list. Show genuine interest, attend their events, and engage with their content. It’s paramount that you build an authentic relationship, showing that you aren’t simply after their client base.
Preferred vendors are preferred for a reason. They have strong reputations as industry professionals and proven track records of delivering outstanding service. You and your wedding business need to do the same in order to secure a spot on a preferred vendor list.
Your business won’t be a fit for every vendor list, but it’s not because your services aren’t good enough. Instead, you’ll want to research the venue, planner, or vendor compiling the list to ensure your services align with their standards and clientele.
If the answer to all of the previous questions is “yes,” you’re ready to send your request. Write a professional and concise email to request inclusion on the vendor list. Ensure that it is personally tailored to the reader, while emphasizing your qualifications, expertise, and how your services can benefit their clients.
It can be easy to fall down the rabbit hole of scrutinizing your request, worrying about the phrasing and the syntax. While your letter shouldn’t be riddled with typos, try not to overthink it. Instead, be genuine with your intentions.
Finally, if your business isn’t selected to be on a preferred vendor list, don’t be too hard on yourself about it. Get back out there! Keep making industry connections and building relationships with other wedding professionals. There are plenty of venues, planners, and vendors compiling lists of their own—and your business may be the perfect fit.