Event Planner Jobs: How to Network Like a Pro
Want to find event planner jobs? QC Student Ambassador, Katherine Dionne, is here to help! Katie is currently enrolled in QC’s Event and Wedding Planning, Event Decor, and Luxury Wedding & Event Planning courses. She is also the proud owner and Director of Events at Je T’aime Weddings & Events. Connect with her directly by joining the QC Event School Virtual Classroom on Facebook!
As an event planner, you will be largely in charge of finding vendors for your clients’ celebrations. As you gain more experience, you’ll start to have certain vendors that you’ll be willing to refer directly to your clientele. On the flip side, there will also be times where other vendors and past customers will refer potential clients to you.
But when you’re first starting out in the industry, how do you establish enough of a connection with these people, in order to get these referrals and potential event planner jobs?
You’ve likely heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know.” The people you build professional relationships with will play a major role in your success, especially as a beginner. For a long time, I was a firm believer that working hard and being the best at what you do was the only way to move up. Don’t get me wrong; that does play an integral role in any career. But as an event planner, who you know will also become a game-changer for your business.
This is where the art of networking comes into play! Networking is the interaction with others, in order to exchange information and develop professional and/or social contacts. A large portion of an event planner’s job is to build relationships with vendors, venues, past and current clients, and even other event planners.
I’m sure you are wondering, “Ok, so how does networking actually help me get more event planner jobs?” Well, after more than 7 years of being in the wedding industry, along with my 15 years of corporate experience, I’m here to give you my Top 5 tips to networking like a pro!
5 Ways to Network Like a Pro (and Get Event Planner Jobs as a Result)
1. Find out who your ideal client is and do your research!
Before you launch your business, start with a business plan. As part of this plan, you should establish who your ideal client is.
For example, if you’re looking to break into Luxury Hindu weddings, then you’ll need to start researching vendors who are already established in that market. One way to do this is by looking on social media. If you already know a couple vendors, you can also ask them if they know any vendors who might fit the criteria you’re looking for.
From there, start making a list of vendors you would like to reach out to. Look for professionals that you believe will not only fit the clientele you are looking to connect with, but would also align with what you want your brand to be.
2. Once you’ve established a connection, stay connected!
Okay, now that you’ve decided which vendors you want to create a professional relationship with, you’ll want to actually reach out and make contact with them. Maybe you’ll meet for coffee, or chat over the phone. Either way, once you’ve built a connection, the key then becomes maintaining that connection.
What are some ways you can do this?
The first thing I usually do is follow these vendors on all of their social media accounts. Once I’ve done that, I’ll make it a point to send a ‘thank you’ text after our meeting. It’s important to do this not long after you’ve met with them, as you’ll still be fresh in their mind. Let that person know that you truly appreciate them taking the time to meet with you and get to know you better. I also like to throw in there that I’m looking forward to working with them on an event together sometime soon.
Want to take it an extra step further? Send them a card during the holiday season, on their birthday, etc. Small gestures like this go a long way! They help make your relationship a little more personal, rather than being strictly business. Plus, it also makes vendors feel like you care about them as a person (which you should).
3. Step out of your comfort zone!
This is probably one of the most difficult things to do for most people – even the social butterflies. It can be very daunting to walk into a room, figure out who you’re going to talk to, and then actually go up and talk to that person. It can feel even more nerve-wracking when you’re also trying to stand out and be remembered.
You are not the only one feeling this way, I promise. EVERYONE is in the exact same boat! If there is one thing I’ve learned over the years, it’s that being bold and confident in the person you are, and the business you are building, is what people will notice.
Aside from venues, fellow event planners are also highly likely to refer reliable vendors. Most – if not all – vendors and venues want to network with event planners. So, own that! Go talk to anyone and everyone you can. Sign up for that networking event you’ve been putting off. Go to that three-day wedding conference you’ve been thinking about.
Stepping out of your comfort zone will never hurt you. It will only bring you closer to your goals, and create long-lasting relationships likely to land you even more event planner jobs!
4. Maximize your social media presence!
Another HUGE way to book more event planners jobs is to maximize your social media accounts. By using the right strategies, you’ll be able to network with a bunch of industry experts and prospective clients in a really effective way.
For instance, if you really feel like you’ve made a strong connection with certain vendors, create a social media post about your meeting with them. In doing so, that particular vendor can gain some exposure, while also giving your business exposure as well. In my experience, once you create a post, that other person will likely repost it to their own account, or create their own unique post about you. I also make it a point to go onto their social media pages, like as many photos as possible, and leave some comments.
Engage as much as you can with their content. Like, comment, and even share their posts. This will not only help boost their engagement online; their followers will see your engagement, which will also improve your overall online presence. Some of these new people might wind up being interested in hiring you for their own events – meaning, more event planner jobs for you.
It ends up being a win-win!
5. Create authentic relationships!
This last tip is incredibly important. Creating authentic, long-lasting relationships with people is what will ultimately help you become successful in the industry. People can tell when you’re not being genuine. Nobody wants to feel as though they’re just being used for another’s personal gain. If you’re not being authentic, you will not get any event planner jobs. It’s that simple.
So, express a real interest in whomever you’re interacting with. Learn more about their personal life, as well as their business (if they’re willing to share this kind of information, of course). Make them feel like an actual person – not simply someone that will help put money into your pocket. As is the case with any other relationship, building this connection will take some time. It might even require working together on a couple events first. Just be patient, be kind, and be authentic. So long as you do that, you’ll have success finding clients and plenty of event planner jobs!
Food for Thoughts
When I first started out in the event industry, I was very nervous about meeting with more established vendors. I feared that I would sound or look stupid. But after taking classes through QC Event School, I’ve become way more confident in my abilities as an event planner. This, in turn, has improved my networking skills tremendously!
Whether you’re a new or aspiring event planner, I highly recommend taking QC’s Event & Wedding Planning Course, as well as their Accelerate Your Business Workshop. These programs will teach you everything you need to know about networking and how proper networking will help you book more event planner jobs.
I wish you all the best of luck in 2021!