By Kevin Dennis, WeddingIQ
Having a strong network can bring value to your business in a multitude of ways – from bringing in new referrals to having someone who can help you out in a pinch, there’s no doubt that building strong relationships with creative partners can be a positive asset for your company.
However, it can be tough to make time for relationships when it seems like your schedule is filled up with back to back events. With that said, your network doesn’t belong on the backburner, so here are some of my best practices for developing mutually beneficial relationships within your market. Here are my top tips for being a quality friend or and making an impact in your network that comes back to tenfold.
Nobody likes to wait around for a response to an email, so be sure that you are taking the time to communicate with other vendors. Set a goal to respond to all emails within 24 hours of receipt, so others know that you’re on top of it. In some cases, you may not have an immediate answer, but it’s still better to respond to let them know the issue is being addressed. The more responsive you are, the more professional your company will be so don’t take communications lightly.
Show up to the party
Part of the puzzle is simply showing up – being present is enough for people to start to get to know you and your company. This means attending as many networking meetings as possible, connecting on social media, and traveling to conferences whenever its feasible. The more face-to-face time you get with people, the better impression you’ll make which will expand your network exponentially.
Pay it forward
Referrals and testimonials are always appreciated, so don’t forget to dole them out as well! If you’re finding that your business has increased because of a handful of other vendors sending prospects your way, find a way to thank them – be it through a returned referral or even a thoughtful thank you card.
Take it to the next level
Once you’ve built your network, it’s important to make continuous efforts to stay on top of people’s minds. Get creative and think of ways to surprise and delight your industry peers. One of our favorite ways that we do this is to send popsicle-grams in the thick of summer – people are often exhausted from busy season (and the heat!), so a nice and sweet treat is just the right touch.
While you may think you’re “too busy,” remember that you should always make time for business development and networking is no different. The benefits of strong creative partner relationships can truly transform your company, so don’t push it off to the side!
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and the immediate national president for WIPA.