Yep, I said it.
My recent post on why we’ve opted out of wedding venues’ marketing brochures generated a ton of traffic (thanks, readers!) and quite a few interesting comments. Some of these mentioned things like “finder’s fees” being a legitimate business practice. I think that’s shady as all get-out. It’s all rotten fruit from the same ugly tree.
My own views on finder’s fees, referral fees, kickbacks, and anything else resembling pay-for-play is this:
When it comes to referring other businesses, the second that money enters the equation, that referral is worthless. Not only that, but both companies have actively done harm to the wedding industry.
Referrals should be earned through merit, period. Finder’s fees are a joke — just what has the referring business “found?” They’re giving a name and a website or phone number to a client! Wedding planners, venues, caterers, and other wedding businesses are not headhunters. By recommending quality vendors to their clients, they’re not only doing their job, but are also making that job easier by surrounding themselves with other great vendors.
“It’s just business!” some may cry, and to that, I say how many sleazy tactics have been justified with that statement? Just because something is done, doesn’t mean it should be done.
Refer another business because its people are talented. Refer another business because its people are easy to work with and respectful of your business. Refer another business because it’s run by good human beings. Refer another business because every wedding is made better when it’s served by a good, cohesive team.
But refer another business because they’re putting cash in your hand for each client you send, or giving you expensive gifts, and I’m sure as hell going to give you the side-eye. Our clients, and the small businesses who serve them, deserve better.