I make it a point to attend as many networking events as I can. I'm also a member of the Wedding & Event Videography Association (WEVA), the Chicago chapter of the Association of Bridal Consultants, and the Illinois Videographers Association. I'm a social butterfly by nature, so I really enjoy these events and love to meet new people. Schmoozing has helped me more in business than acquiring any new piece of equipment.
I recently received a lunch invitation via email from a videographer who is looking to work in my market. I agreed to meet for lunch as I'm always more than willing to help out other videographers. At lunch, this person was nice enough and things were going well until he asked for "my support" in a project he wanted me to help promote. By my support, he meant he wanted me to contact the consultants I work with and invite them to a viewing party promoting his work (as well as the work of other videographers). I asked him why should I promote his work to my consultants when I offer the same type of coverage? If he would have taken the time to read my Web site he would have seen that.
I told him I have worked very hard over the years to make my contacts in the business and I couldn't believe he was asking me to call them on his behalf. I had met him for the first time that day at lunch! He said he felt he would have better luck if I recommended him as opposed to him cold calling the coordinators. He said cold calling doesn't work and it takes years to build relationships and he didn't have that kind of time. Excuse me? He didn't have time to network so he wanted to take advantage of the time I'd spent networking by having me recommend him to my coordinators. I told him cold calling does work because he cold-called me and I'm sitting here. I thought I would be talking with him about the path of wedding videography and perhaps providing him with a few marketing tips. I didn't realize he would ask me to contact my coordinators on his behalf. I would have passed on lunch if I had known his real agenda.
There's no such thing as luck in our business—or at least there's no sense in counting on it, or expecting opportunities to fall into your lap. "Luck" is just a euphemism for "hard work." Those who succeed in business do it the old-fashioned way: by working for it. When it comes to marketing, hard work will involve some cold calling and emailing people you don't know. Hard work is going out in the cold to attend that networking meeting when you would rather be at home sprawled out on the couch watching ESPN (or even Desperate Housewives).
Do you want to start building your own network but are not sure where to begin or even what to say? WEVA can help! WEVA is promoting the "Take a Bridal Consultant To Lunch Week" during the week of January 9, 2006. The promotion is timed to take place right when the wedding industry, including bridal shows and the bridal media, traditionally spotlights new developments in wedding planning. Early January is ideal as that's the time when most wedding videographers want to be ready and available to book new business following the Christmas holidays, which traditionally is the biggest period for engagement announcements.
The goal is for videographers to share with wedding planners information about new and exciting trends shaping professional wedding videography and their own work, and the wonderful results which can be achieved! This initiative is free to WEVA members and will take you step-by-step on how to begin your networking. Included in the materials being arranged for WEVA members by the WEVA Public Relations Committee are contact templates, topic templates, and results from the 2005 WEVA Nationwide Survey of Brides as well as other materials and tips for a successful lunch. The information will be complete when this article goes to press. It takes a village to raise media awareness and those videographers who take action will see the results as opposed to those who sit back and complain that "it won't work" and believe that "WEVA needs to educate the brides." Videographers need to be proactive instead of asking others to do the work for them.
For more information you can visit the WEVA Web site. I would like to hear from those of who have participated in the "Take A Bridal Consultant To Lunch Week." I want to know how it went and if it helped you and your business. Of course, you can still invite a consultant out to lunch at any time, but remember, the early bird gets the worm, so don't wait!
Kris Malandruccolo recently won a MarCom Creative Award for her column, The Reel Deal: FAQs for Videographers.