Creating a Referral Circle with Photographers



Double Your Inquiries Using a Referral CircleThis year alone we have had to turn away over a dozen weddings simply because we are already booked on the requested date. You have no idea how much this hurts us to send the “Unfortunately, we’re already booked on your wedding date…” email. Some of these responses were sent to very close friends and couples getting married at a venue we’ve already dreamed about shoot at. I felt by hitting that send button, it was such a disservice to our brides, event though they weren’t clients. Every email from a potential client is an opportunity to provide a positive experience around your brand, regardless of whether or not you’re available. We want every bride to have our wedding experience, even if that means referring them to another photographer.

Rachel and I knew the only way to better serve our clients, was having a referral program with other photographers in our area, but that wasn’t a task we took lightly. We needed to insure the photographers we were referring to fit these categories:

  1. Their style matched ours.
  2. They had a consistent experience level.
  3. Our prices are similar.
  4. They are in the Monterey County area.

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We reached out to a few very trustworthy photographers in the area we consider dear friends with the idea. Now ourselves and two other photographers refer weddings to each other when we’re booked, which is also a great way to ensure our calendars stay full and know we are going over-the-top in customer service for our brides. I’ve been in the shoes of a bride planning her wedding, and this is exactly what we would have wanted. So here’s how we do it…

    • First we created a Google Calendar that is shared between all of us. That way you can check and see who is actually available.
    • When sending the referral email, copy each of the photographers who are free that day. That insures a smooth transition and an easy way for a bride to respond and already feels connected.

Here is an example of the email we send:

Hi (Brides name here),

Thank you so much for contacting us and congratulations on your engagement! It’s a true honor to even be considered to document your wedding and I appreciate your time and considered in advance!

Unfortunately, we’re already booked on your wedding date but we do have a few wonderful photographer friends in the area we would love to refer you to and are available on your date. These photographers are truly amazing people, very close friends of ours, and we know you’ll be taken very well care of.

Photographer #1 Name | Photographers Website
Photographer #2 Name | Photographers Website

Happy Wedding Planning!

Much Love,
Laura & Rachel

It’s really that easy. Even though you already have this agreed upon referral circle, don’t forget to say thank you. The photographer you received the referral from took the time to check the Google calendar, write up the email boosting you up, and sent you work. We always make sure to a gift card and handwritten note to show our appreciation.

Don’t procrastinate! This is something you need to start right away. Seriously, you don’t know how much this will help your business!

We rise by lifting others.

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