10 Steps to an Amazing bridal Show – Bridal shows are designed to showcase the newest trends in wedding planning and styles for fashion. It is the ultimate paradise for the bride-to-be as she is able to visit and meet with vendors. The excitement at an exclusive event is hard to contain. I wanted to share some tips on how to plan a successful experience as a vendor.
1. Scout a bridal show before participating in one.
It’s good to know how much marketing collateral, samples, and other resources to bring to an event without running out or having too much. The best way to know exactly what to expect for traffic is to be a part of the traffic. Before doing any bridal show we have found that it’s most effective to visit first. Bridal shows generally get the same traffic each show once they are established. When you scout beforehand, you will know exactly what to expect.
2. Be selective when choosing the right bridal show.
Once you have scouted a few bridal shows, you’ll have a better feel of the layout. You may want to call and speak with a show coordinator and ask more questions. It’s good to be able to determine the best fit for your company. If you value traffic, choose shows that have heavy volume. If you value being one of the few vendors in your category, choose shows that limit the amount of vendors per category. For me, I prefer bridal shows with a lot of traffic. It was essential to more brides visiting our booth as I felt that the most important thing was having brides see our work. We are in growth mode, so our goal is to spread the word at lightning speed.
3. Script a pitch that makes people feel valuable.
It is not easy to be a salesman. Especially, when you’re not a salesman at heart. The easiest way to approach a bride that is approaching your vending area or booth is to know what you want to say in advance. Create a script that is catchy and will get someone’s attention quickly. We have always used, “Congratulations, we know you are excited, who’s capturing that excitement for you?” The goal is to keep it simple and get right to the point while making a potential customer feel that you are engaged. Relationship selling goes a long way, so you want to ask questions and listen. The more attentive you are, the easier it is to sell. Another tip, you may want to practice in the mirror a few times to make sure you get this right.
4. Bring a team.
In the beginning I was working my vendor booth all by myself. That was a HUGE mistake. It’s nearly impossible to do this job by yourself. You want to appear professional. Remember, I said that I prefer bridal shows with a lot of traffic. My suggestion is to build an experienced team of people. Whether they are paid or volunteers, assign them with specific tasks so that everyone knows exactly what to do. Some of these tasks would be to greet brides, ask questions and provide a quick presentation. The more one-on-one attention you give to each person is giving them an awesome experience they can expect from your company.
5. Have a way to collect information.
Most of the high-end bridal shows do not distribute lists to the vendors. When they do, be sure to take advantage of it and give a list. We offer a free engagement session, which is very popular and gets the best return. For one, the sign up form is the perfect method to collect client information. From there, the potential client is already added to our e-mailing system in advance. This tool has served well for our referral business too. If you want to use an automated email service that is free, we use Mailchimp to buildout our templates and schedule emails to send out in in advance. This will help you immensely.
6. Always show your best work.
This sounds so simple right? Not as common as you might think. Showing your best work means that you will need to update your sample albums and prints for every bridal show. You are constantly getting better as your skills improve. As a photographer, it’s all about the visual presentation. Therefore, it’s essential that you highlight your expertise as the best in the industry. It might cost you a little extra to update new albums, prints and flyers. The amount of new business that you generate at each show will be totally worth it.
7. Don’t worry about the competition.
Brides will want to work with you based on the way you make them feel. Take the time to ask questions, so they feel important and valued. This is why you want to be engaging and provide that awesome presentation experience from the very beginning. There can be 10 other vendors in your category at the same event. However, this will not stop you from booking weddings. Focus on what you do best. It’s great to have options, and there is enough room for everyone. Plus, traffic alone does not guarantee bookings.
8. It’s okay to be yourself.
The biggest thing you can do is to be yourself at a bridal show. Dress they way you would on a wedding day, so a bride-to-be can get a glimpse of your level of professionalism. Also, this showcases your style and allows couples to have an idea of what to expect from you. By nature. I’m a quiet person. That is perfectly fine. I built my team with the most outgoing and social butterflies. This allows me to be myself and be authentic. This ensures that we are attracting a great deal of potential clients to our booth.
9. Your giveaway should be meaningful.
Who doesn’t love chocolate? We set a big bowl of Hershey kisses on the table. As a giveaway, we offer 1 free engagement session. We find that offering something substantial will attract more of the right people to our booth. When you read the online opinions, some don’t recommend it. The criticism is that offering a giveaway will only bring people to your booth who want something for free. That is simply not the case for my business. I can’t count how many of those “free type” brides we’ve actually converted to paying clients. Let’s just say, we’re booked! Having a meaningful giveaway is a good way to attract traffic. The rest is up to you. Use this opportunity to get more eyes to see your work. This will empower people to decide if your services are exactly what they need.
Get to the site early, set your booth up as early as possible to allow yourself time to network with other vendors. Introduce yourself and speak briefly on the services you provide. In the past, we have fostered a great working relationship with a vendor that referred us for 50 weddings in the course of 3 ½ years. This is all because we took a few minutes out of the busy schedule to talk with them. It’s not always what you know and what you can do. Sometimes, it’s who you know. Take the time to network with others. You’re an invaluable resource when you have a go-to for your future brides, when they are looking for a particular vendor.