Tag Archives: bridal shows

Weak excuses for NOT exhibiting in bridal shows

Bride & Groom caketopperAs a wedding vendor for more than two decades, I ALWAYS exhibited in bridal shows… ALWAYS… in good years, bad years, and everything in-between.

A consistent presence with peers, and ongoing visibility to prospects, was a steady, solid approach to bookings.

When wedding businesses voice reasons for choosing not to exhibit, it usually triggers a head-shake from me.

Some of the reasons/excuses I hear often, are:

  1. Not doing the show because I’m getting so much business as a preferred vendor.
  2. Not doing the show because my (business) friends don’t.
  3. No doing the show because I have plenty of business.

Andy’s Answers to these Objections: 

Preferred Vendor Status: When things are going well, being a preferred vendor is a great thing. Unfortunately, one can never predict when that relationship may change.

A new Director of Catering is hired, and suddenly the calls dry up. One of your employees makes one critical mistake, at one wedding, and your company gets dropped like hot rock.

Meeting brides, in-person, at wedding shows, and following up on leads, throughout the year, mitigates ongoing risks. Should something go awry, you are still well positioned to book wedding business, directly.

My friends don’t exhibit: Whether your favorite peers do or don’t exhibit, is not a great reason, either to exhibit, or stay out. Your company should choose to exhibit for your own reasons, consistent with your marketing plans and goals. Want to hang out with your friend? Cool!! Go out for a post-show cocktail! 🙂

I’ve got plenty of business: It’s important to really consider that thought.

  • How many open Saturdays have you had during the last year or two?
  • How many weddings are you servicing, Sunday through Friday?
  • Are you getting the best bookings, available? – And by best, I mean: price, convenience, geography… however you may measure it.

The stronger  your marketing, the greater the opportunity to do more business, and strengthen the quality of clients.

I don’t get enough business from bridal shows: Bridal show producers are reluctant to criticize their exhibitors. Even when they see ways for a business to improve results, they don’t want to risk insulting anyone. Entrepreneurs can be a touchy bunch.

But when show producers look at booth attraction, vendor disposition, and the like, they can tell, almost without exception, who will have a good show. If you want solid feedback, and can handle constructive criticism, your show producer has seen it all, and is happy to offer help.

In upcoming posts, we’ll discuss some of the signs of excellence and weaknesses of bridal show presentation.

Have Good Reasons For Your Decisions

Don’t kid yourself! Have solid reasons for what you do… not justifications. Get on board… All in!

Want some great reasons to exhibit, try these.

Andy Ebon

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Bride Expectations for Bridal Shows

Wedding Professionals have expectations when exhibiting in Bridal Shows. They might come in the form of names-captured, appointments, sales, or any number of other factors.

What are the reasons that brides attend?

While not absolute, recent research by bridal show producers indicates a number of specific set of expectations that many brides have. In planning your strategy and tactics for exhibiting, it’s important to be aware of what brides are looking for, and do your best to find ways to have their outlook intersect with your goals.

From most important to least important:

  • Get help in planning
  • Get ideas
  • Have fun
  • Make many buying decisions in one place
  • Deals
  • Meet vendors face-to-face

This list may not contain any big shocker, but it does help you focus your strategy resonates with brides’ expectations.

One reality is: Brides are predisposed to enjoy the wedding planning process, and a bridal show is a social part of that experience. They want to have fun, assimilate new ideas, and have an opportunity to make multiple decisions.

An experienced wedding professional knows that the decision-making process for brides is often overwhelming.

Ask yourself:

“What can I do to make it easier for a bride to book an appointment or make a buying decision?”

Remember, the bullet-point list is a set of expectations. It is not necessarily going to be precisely what they will experience.

Preparation for the bridal show requires that you refresh your ‘wedding professional – bride’ conversation to ask key probing and bonding questions, and communicate important benefits, of your company, for each bride.

To the degree that you identify and practice the skill of addressing focused points, quickly, you can work toward booking an appointment, quickly.

In the next post: After attending a show, why did brides find important?

Andy Ebon

Andy Ebon
Wedding Marketing Expert
The Wedding Marketing Blog

Seven Tips For Effective Selling at Your Next Bridal Show

So it’s time for another bridal show and you are still questioning how well you did at the last one……  I have to ask you a couple of questions.  Did you send your best sales people?  Did you hold training classes for them before they went?  Are you your best sales person?  What follows are some basic tips on increasing your success at your next Las Vegas bridal show!

Great Sales Team Dressed For Success

The salesperson is the single most important ingredient in obtaining leads at a bridal show!

Yup, I said it.  Inspite of all the pointers towards having incredible beautiful booths to attract the eye, you can do all that and still blow it if you don’t know how to talk to the brides and keep their interest. The best display in the show will fail if you have ineffective or poorly trained salespeople in your booth. If you are your own best salesperson you should be there, and if you are not STAY AWAY!

Keep these pointers in mind:

Dress for Success:  Dress in a way the bride and groom will visualize you on the wedding day.  That can be different depending on your particular product.  While tuxes are certainly going to make you look good, it may not be what you would be working in and can make them wonder if people will think you are part of the wedding party.  Wear business attire, look sharp and professional.  Wear comfortable shoes as you will be on your feet for a long time.

Arrive Early:  Arrive at least 15 minutes eary, make sure your materials and booth are ready to go.  Even if your booth is completely ready to go, you want to be relaxed when the first bride arrives in front of you.  If you show up as the doors are opening, not only will you get caught up in the traffic of hundreds of brides arriving but you will feel rushed.  Arrive late and some brides will have already passed you by!

Body Language:  While waiting between prospects, what should you do with your hands? Should you be sitting or standing? Here are some helpful hints:

  • Stand and wait for your prospects, sitting in a chair has a tendancy to make you look bored and uninterested.
  • Don’t stand with your hands in your pockets as you will look too casual and not businesslike. 
  • Don’t conceal your hands by standing with arms folded. This sends a strong “leave me alone” message.
  • Don’t clasp your hands in front of you as it will make you look insecure and uncomfortable.
  • Don’t place your hands on your hips.  This will make you look anxious and aggresive which can scare off the brides.
  • The best solution is to lightly clasp your hands behind your back. Not only will it provide lower back support, but allows you to easily reach out to shake their hand when they walk up to your booth.

Winning Openers:  What you say in your opening line can either encourage your prospective bride to stay or send her packing.  What approach will you use?

Start with asking an open ended question that can’t be answered with a simple yes or no. We don’t recommend asking them their wedding date first as too many vendors will do that.  Be creative, get the bride talking about her self and the wedding plans. Rehearse opening lines that encourage the bride to open up to who she is and what they do. Develop a rapport with your brides.

Once you figure out what your opening line is, have all your staff practice it!

Effective Opening Lines Must do the following: 

  1. Break them out of that dazed look!
  2. Focus on them
  3. Create a bond between you and the bride and groom
  4. Must allow your both to have a little fun.  Loosen them up and relieve some stress.

Working a booth at a Bridal Show is NOT a Vacation!

Employees often look at working a bridal show as one big break from work! They treat the whole experience as a vacation. Eating and drinking and talking with fellow staffers and wedding pros, meanwhile, missing all the brides going by.  Networking is important but should never be considered higher priority than talking to the bride. 

It is important that you stress to your sales staff the importance of your participation at the show in bringing in business for the following 2 years!  These brides will be the weddings you will be working over the next two year period and that helps you keep them employed.  Any missed opportunity could spell thousands in losses for your company.

In addition to training your staff to be prepared and focused, remind them they need to remain alert during quiet periods. They shouldn’t sit, smoke, eat, or drink in the booth. Sales staff should avoid conversations with each other. If the bride thinks you are too busy to talk to them, they will pass you by.

Follow Up:

So as you prepare to participate in the next Bridal Spectacular bridal show, focus on your sales team!  What are your goals for them?  What techniques will they use to track the leads they talk to at the show and what follow up will they do after the show?  Come up with a specific set of goals and start implementing them.

See you at the show!  If you are looking for bridal shows to participate in elsewhere in the US, Canada and around the world  visit Bridal Show Producer’s International for a list of professional bridal shows.