A Note to Vendors

Warning...rant ahead...

I was just on Twitter and one of the brilliant planners I follow, Saundra Hadley from Planning Forever, was tweeting about constantly getting calls from vendors asking for referrals.  Saundra hit the nail on the head in her tweets:

  • @planningforever LOVE working with prof vendors that you have a relationship with. Verifying setup times is more like a social call, instead of business.
  • @planningforever Vendors: The best thing that you can do for wedplanners that send you biz; is refer them to UR brides. Ask 'em who is your wedding planner?
  • @planningforever We don't want kickbacks, dinner, starbuck gift cards .... just professional, reciprocal referrals.
  • @planningforever Are other planner's phones ringing from vendors who are looking for referrals & business? Why is this one-sided? We need some love too.
I am so down with what Saundra had to say.  Because my business is built around my professional niche (gay weddings), I get called all the time by "gay-friendly" vendors who are introducing their business and asking for my referral.  You name it, the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker - they literally all call me.  So many photographers who think that because they have a digital camera, a snazzy flash website and a Craigslist ad, they are a professional.  Read the first question on my FAQ.

This is the same reason I scarcely attend professional networking events or bridal industry functions.  Once vendors (even realtors, insurance agents and mortgage brokers) learn that I'm a planner and hear about my niche, their ears perk up and I can see the dollar signs in their eyes.  Sending me candles or chocolates in the mail will not get my attention.  My clients are not commodities.

Saundra is right.  If you want my business, then please, kindly pass my information along to your clients as well.  We'll look out for each other but most importantly, take amazing care of our clients.  We become a team and the result is outstanding.  But if you have another agenda, please don't bother me - especially in the middle of wedding season.  And if you think I can't tell the difference, you have me all wrong.

I suppose the question becomes: how do you get my attention?  Pure kindness/sincerity; a product, service or venue that is unique/completely blows me away; and genuine empathy for the experience of engaged gay and lesbian couples will make me pause.  When I was on a panel discussion for the Boston Wedding Group, lots of people handed me their cards after I was finished, and it felt very slimy to me.  One person that stood out told me a story about her lesbian sister's wedding.

And for those vendors that are already on my team, I adore you - and will see some of you at my own wedding.  Thank you very much for five amazing years.

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