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Thread: Wedding Referrals - taking a cut

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    Wedding Referrals - taking a cut

    Hi all. My wife and I have recently started a business which provides a service to weddings, as well as other events (Don't worry, not photography) We have noticed that most wedding related businesses (photogs, venues, florists etc) all refer other related businesses on their websites, and in person.

    I would like to know if these businesses are giving each other some sort of referral fee and if so, how it works? We would be more than happy to pay a comission to any business that refers us, but don't really know how it works,, especially in regard to keeping track of who referred the client and making sure they get what they deserve.

    One idea I had was to offer a business a standard discount with us, say 20% off. They can either decide too book us at the discounted rate and charge their client full price (good for a venue) Or could use it as an incentive for clients to book with them (Book with us in November and get 20% off with companyX) which would be good for someone like a photographer.

    Has anyone had experience with this? How does it work?

    Thanks! Simon
    Last edited by simonw; 14-11-2012 at 2:23pm.

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    I do not know what other business do – I suggest you liaise /negotiate with them (i.e. ask the businesses with whom you want to make a relationship).

    But I do understand you want a ‘feel’ for what goes on: in this regard I can say that some Wedding Photographers, and other Vendors, will be booked directly by “The Venue” and the venue will initially charge the Client directly (at the Vendor's advertised rate).

    Subsequent to that booking, 'The Venue' will take a booking fee which was previously negotiated by (for example) the Photographer.

    One difficultly with this arrangement is the ‘double booking’ – if the Venue does NOT immediately inform (for example) the Photographer, that there is a Wedding which has been booked.

    ***

    Comment on the other part of the idea you have proposed – paying (several) booking fees to various other Vendors, in my experience is not that common: but rather it works on a quid pro quo relationship and within a collegiate of like minded businesses / business people and at a similar level of quality / price point of the businesses: also these (in my experience) tend to be referrals and NOT bookings on behalf of another business.

    ***

    If I refer a Potential Client to another business: I am emphatic in suggesting that the Prospect informs my Colleague that they were referred.

    ***

    The cross promotion idea might be useful to your business and other vendors: I do not discount on price, so it wouldn’t work with me, but you might find you could come up with other cross-promotional ideas.

    ***

    To be frank, over several years in three various businesses, we have been approached by several other (new) businesses with cross promotional ideas and whilst some of the ideas have been very good, all but ONE has never started because the idea holder did NOT follow through effectively in the first inst.

    So my advice is IF you do propose an idea to an existing & productive business, then have all your skittles in a row and be prepared to follow through and drive the idea for at least eight to twelve months and also be prepared to drive the communication with the other business(es) – because bluntly put: it is most likely that they will see there is little in it for them at the beginning; so you have to not only sell the idea, but also make it work.

    WHAT exactly is the BUSINESS you are STARING UP?

    WW

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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Friends of mine who are wedding photographers are often asked by clients about cars, cakes and more. They offer up referrals and do not take any 'kick-backs' for doing so. They tend to name people/businesses they have worked with previously who they have seen as offering a good quality service. For them it is not about making money off a referral, but more about giving their client the information they are asking about.
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    In my experience, the "kick back" has been the referral of clients back to your business - it works in both directions. Know an MUA who is really good? Refer clients to him/her. They in turn will refer clients looking for a great photographer back to you. It's a fantastic way of building a business network without muddying the waters with money matters.

    The idea of getting money for such a 'service' leaves a nasty taste in my mouth.
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    I would never take kick backs or accept them. I want to get booked by my style and I want that my clients can choose their vendors as they like. Of course I recommend vendors or venues - but not based on a kick back - just because they offer an amazing service and I am happy with the quality. Generally I would never discount my prices.

    But I heard of venues which ask for a cut for a referral ... (or get you to pay for advertising or participate at their wedding expos) ... this is not for me. I am not very pushy when it comes to selling ... when the couple loves my style they will book me. There will be different opinions and what suits me might not suit other businesses - there is no right or wrong here ...

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    My understanding was that it worked a bit like an old boys club.

    You refer the businesses that refer you and nothing formal needs to be done. You say "tell them that I sent you" and you ask your clients "where did you here about us".

    From a business point you end up with an informal scratching of backs. Photog X constantly points people to you, so does Caterer Y and you I turn refer people to them.

    From a business view it has benefits. The only thing I don't like, as a client, is that the referrer has obvious motives which makes them less trustworthy.
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    Administrator ricktas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alsocass View Post
    My understanding was that it worked a bit like an old boys club.
    Funny thing isn't it. What is often referred to as an old boys club, which has an undertone of something sinister about it, can also be called networking, which everyone is encouraged to do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by alsocass View Post
    The only thing I don't like, as a client, is that the referrer has obvious motives which makes them less trustworthy.
    If motives are obvious, or disclosed, then that makes a transaction MORE trustworthy not less so.

    WW

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    Quote Originally Posted by ricktas View Post
    Funny thing isn't it. What is often referred to as an old boys club, which has an undertone of something sinister about it, can also be called networking, which everyone is encouraged to do.
    Ha. I would offer that that is because networking is something that anybody can do with their peers, but the old boys club is very exclusive and requires inheriting the right connections from your parents.

    (I did a few years in a firm in a small city full of private schools, I was gobsmacked by the importance placed on having been to the right high school, I still shudder at the behaviours I observed towards people who attended public or catholic schools).

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by William W View Post
    If motives are obvious, or disclosed, then that makes a transaction MORE trustworthy not less so.

    WW
    I supposed that would depend upon the wording that the business used. "I will refer you to Caterer Y because they give us lots of business" is upfront and trustworthy but "Try Caterer Y they will do a good job" is not, but I suspect I am hijacking this thread a bit and I am only new to this forum so I am not sure whether that is frown upon (some forums go stupid off track and some are very much about being on topic).

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    Quote Originally Posted by alsocass View Post
    I supposed that would depend upon the wording that the business used. "I will refer you to Caterer Y because they give us lots of business" is upfront and trustworthy but "Try Caterer Y they will do a good job" is not, but I suspect I am hijacking this thread a bit and I am only new to this forum so I am not sure whether that is frown upon (some forums go stupid off track and some are very much about being on topic).
    The thread is a bit old and I don’t see that the OP has responded, certainly the OP has not answered my questions; so I don’t think that we are deviating too much from the original: and we shall be told if we are . . .

    I was only commenting what you wrote and therefore, what I thought you meant
    – i.e. IF the motives are “obvious” then the transaction is transparent.
    If the motives are not “obvious” - then the motives are hidden and not “obvious”.

    Now that you have responded: it appears you just made a poor choice of words, and I now understand what you meant.

    In any case, the Prospect could always ask “why are you referring this person to me and please disclose what relationship you have with them?” – I ask that question, often.


    ***

    Also – second guessing has similar outcomes as assuming.

    Take your second possibility:
    You wrote -
    ‘ "Try Caterer Y they will do a good job" - is not [upfront and trustworthy]. ‘

    That comment could very well be: ‘upfront and trustworthy’.

    The caterer might be excellent and that is why that particular caterer gets many referrals. . . even if both the caterer and the referrer went to the same private school!

    Just 'assuming' that any comment apropos referral, is not bona fide: is applying exactly the same bias which you detested in the company for which you worked.


    WW
    Last edited by William W; 13-01-2013 at 11:46am. Reason: added all below ***

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    Funnily enough, as I was interviewing photographers for my wedding I was more impressed by those who were able to offer some referrals......as the conversation comes around we talk about cars, make-up etc and if the 'tog is able to see that we're still working things out and can offer some advice then that's just additional professionalism, and it adds to the whole package (particularly when we're looking at photographers around the $4-6k mark.

    It all sounded just like networking, people and services they've come across in the past, and they never said 'make sure they know I've sent you', which would suggest to me that it probably isn't commission/kickback based.

    On the other hand, when my mum's car hire people saw who we hired for her 'tog they rolled their eyes....and after the misfortune of experiencing a day with her and the disgusting images, we know why. So 'anti-referrals' can happen too (they would've warned us if we had mentioned her earlier..)

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