Who you know as a local florist affects how you grow as a local business.
And even though there is an art to networking, it’s actually a perfectly natural process.
In this post, Lovingly offers tips and advice on how to optimize your floral business networking capabilities across the widest possible spectrum, with the reassurance that those you network with will be glad you did.
The term networking often creates an image of ambitious people “hustling” for business.
Here, we’ll demonstrate that great networking is really about being willing to help others and inspiring them to return the favor. It’s simply about building relationships.
It really is straightforward and it always works wonders for local businesses.
When you look beyond your own wedding flowers business and consider all the related local businesses involved, it can seem quite daunting.
Most wedding lists include:
Rather than feeling intimidated by the prospect of contacting all those local businesses, you should remind yourself that as a wedding florist, you are a vitally important part of their big picture.
And, hey, if you’re good, you’re good!
The value for any of these people is that you are willing to recommend them to your clients, and that they now have a really great florist to recommend to theirs.
This proves that you’re both connected and in the know!
That’s very reassuring for any client — and it’s great for business.
So make sure any related business you contact understands that you are willing to recommend them to your clients.
Once they understand this, they’ll be only too happy to do the same for your business.
And that’s a big win.
So it’s just a case of you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours?
Well, no. Reciprocity actually runs much deeper than that.
And, ironically enough, it’s the feelings that inspire reciprocity that run so deep.
And just to show we practise what we preach, Lovingly Weddings offers lots of free resource materials designed to help both our florists and the new clients we bring them.
Actually, in over ten years of success, Lovingly has added many included-in-the-price services and endless amounts of free materials, involving countless hours of teamwork and dedication.
Isn’t that a terrible business move?
Absolutely not. The opposite, in fact.
Just as Lovingly long ago turned to behavioral psychology when optimizing our partner websites, we used the same approach for our marketing.
And what we discovered amazed us.
Doing favors for others through marketing — becoming thought of as leaders who provide additional services and free content — was one of the best moves we ever made.
And this is due to the reciprocity rule.
Which means no need at all to confront anybody with a cynical You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours business proposition.
Let’s say, as an example, that you connect with related businesses on social media, enjoy their stuff, make positive comments, then contact them in other ways, letting them know you will recommend them to your clients.
Imagine waking up one morning to find a local business doing that for you.
The rule of reciprocity dictates that these businesses will start to feel that they ought to pay attention to your business, check it out, and will ultimately feel that they should recommend your floral business to their clients in return.
It seems simple but — in the cynical world of business — reciprocity is often overlooked, at huge cost to the cynical.
Happily, we’re in the hearts and flowers business, so we’re good to go!
Smart ways to go about finding networking opportunities can be found in our related post: How to Promote Your Floral Wedding Business.
Social media, Bridal Shows, etc., are all great opportunities to network with fellow professionals.
You can also contact any local business in person.
And as shown in the above blog, we should always support reciprocal promotions with branded materials:
But let’s not forget networking with potential clients.
Checking your local newspapers, schools, and any other potential outlets for upcoming events is always a great idea — any or all may be open to making their event more attractive with floral arrangements — especially if approached by a florist!
Giving discounts would add to your reciprocal and word of mouth value.
And don’t forget those corporate accounts! Letting local businesses know you are there can win you steady, loyal clients within your local business community.
So make a list of local talent related to your floral business.
Then make a point of contacting them and following up on that contact.
They need you as much as you need them — so start making those relationships blossom!