Maintaining Relationships with Creative Partners

The events industry is built on relationships. Every great celebration is a collaboration between creative professionals – planners, designers, caterers and more. Just forming relationships isn't enough, though. They must be maintained and nurtured over time to yield the kind of results that help businesses grow and expand.  

I know how busy you are, and time spent at networking meetings, and finessing partnerships can seem like a luxury you don't have. Making opportunities to start new associations and keep them active and productive is critical to your business' success, so make it a priority. Here are some of our best practices for developing mutually beneficial relationships within your market.
Be Present
Attending networking meetings, connecting via social media and attending professional conferences doesn't just help you connect with new industry peers, it also keeps you fresh in the minds of the folks you know.  Face-to-face time with your colleagues gives people the impression that you are confident in what you do and that you desire to form and support relationships with colleagues. People are more likely to share your information with clients if they have seen you recently and have the idea that your business is thriving and active.
Be Responsive
Take time to communicate in a timely manner with other creative partners. Try to respond to all emails within 24 hours of receipt, even if just to let your colleague know that you received his or her email and that you will be back in touch asap. Everyone gets so busy that responding to messages can seem like a near-impossible task, but finding a way to make it work will yield results, so make timely communication a high priority.
Be Generous
Give referrals and testimonials whenever the opportunity arises. If you've recently completed a great event, go online and publicly thank the businesses that contributed to the success. Track where your leads come from and thank others when you discover they referred you. A simple thank you card goes a long way to letting others know how much your appreciate their support.
No matter how successful and in-demand your business may become, you will never be too busy to do what is necessary to grow your business. Start with actions that not only promote what you do, but push others towards their goals as well. Paying the goodwill forward will ultimately come back to help you pursue your next business goals.
Kevin Dennis is the editor of WeddingIQ and the owner of Fantasy Sound Event Services, a full-service event company based in Livermore, California. Dennis is the current chapter president for Silicon Valley NACE, and a past national president for WIPA.