(Editor's Note: Wedding vendor behavior - sometimes it can be as bad as, or worse than, client behavior, and it creates a major impact on colleagues, wedding guests, and the general perception of the wedding industry. Today on the blog, we're continuing our five-part series on problem vendors. Be sure to check back next Monday for our third installment!)
It’s hard to put yourself in front of potential clients. Print ads are expensive, wedding shows require your time and promotional materials, networking is exhausting and search engine optimization has become an ever-changing science. You might be thinking, “Wait, I’m in front of hundreds of potential clients every weekend! What can I do to get their business?”
Well, we’ve all seen some vendors' answer. Filming the dance floor all night, leaving business cards at the DJ or cake table, and inviting mystery guests to wander the ballroom wearing tank tops and flip flops. Yes, each event's crowd is a potential source for future income, but it's important to use a little tact and common sense when marketing yourself at at a client's wedding. Your best selling point is your professionalism and your talent.
Here are a few things to keep in mind at your next event:
It’s not a wedding show. Keep the overt advertising to a minimum. If a guest asks for a card, by all means give them one, but you don’t need to set them out along with your brochures, take-aways and a banner sign. Any branding should be done in a subtle way that fits the event. It should not be a focal point. (Jen's interjection here: DJs, please don't use your power as the emcee to plug your company by name on the microphone all night! You're not the "event host," you're a professional hired to play music and make relevant announcements - and your company name isn't relevant except to your own marketing!)
You are not on reality TV. Bringing your own professional film crew or documenting the event with your phone or camera all night long is unprofessional and distracting. Taking a few photos while setting up or before everyone arrives is obviously fine, but put the cameras down while the event is in full swing. Even if your clients have given their permission, the rest of your vendor team may not be so thrilled to accommodate the extra personnel or to be filmed while working.
Clients come before vendors. Weddings are a great way to showcase your talent and meet other vendors. Chances are, you have worked with someone before or will work at the same venue in the future, so keeping up the good relations is a must. That being said, don’t spend all your time chatting up the staff while you're supposed to be working. There will be plenty of time to catch up over a business lunch or at the next networking event.
It’s not a sales demo. A wedding is a private celebration for the enjoyment of the couples’ family and friends. Do not invite potential clients to drop in to see how 100 guests comfortably fit in the cocktail room or to hear your latest music mix guaranteed to pack the dance floor. It's a violation of your clients' privacy, it's a distraction for you, and it's just tacky, period.
Your clients have hired a team of professionals to provide them with the wedding of their dreams. If you respect their privacy, put their enjoyment above all else and give them your best work, they will sing your praises and refer you to everyone they know. That is the best advertising of all.