Whether you are attending a bridal show as an engaged couple, or staffing a booth as a wedding vendor, bridal shows are work. Couples and business owners are there for the same purpose: they want to make a match and book a wedding date.
Vendors, however, you could be sabotaging your work efforts and not even realizing it.
#1 – Not having enough staff.
Doing bridal shows is nothing new. In fact, you probably do several every year and have a pretty good sense of the crowds each show gets.
I’m sure you pick the most heavily attended shows and are psyched that at every show, you have a line of eager couples waiting to talk to you. Success!
Wrong! Couples hate waiting in line, as I’m sure you do too (at the grocery store, theme parks, whatever). Waiting in line is no fun.
Couples want to talk, process, gather information, and move on. They don’t necessarily want to be at the show, but they have to because it’s their job if they want to get vendors for their wedding day.
Having a long line certainly means you have interest, but it also shows you may not have enough people to answer questions.
Make sure you bring enough staff with you so that two to four couples can have questions answered at the same time. You could lose a potential couple if they have to wait too long.
#2 – Having the wrong staff.
Not only is having enough staff at your table to answer questions important, but having the right staff is also key.
The worst feeling a couple can have is that they are eagerly waiting in line to talk to someone from your business, which can sometimes feel like an eternity, and when their turn comes and they start talking to someone, that person tells them that they would need to speak to you, the owner, to answer specific questions. Ugh, another wait in line!
Make sure the staff you bring is trained to answer the most common questions couples have that go beyond what you do and the services you provide. Make it as easy for a couples to get all the information they need.
Also, while you do want to give out business cards, do not give a couple the owner’s business card and tell them to call. Chances are, they won’t unless they are totally certain they want you, and most likely, they won’t be at that point yet. So another potential customer is lost.
#3 – Not scheduling meetings at the show.
You can tell by the conversation if the couple is genuinely interested. If so, without being pushy or salesy, invite them to schedule a meeting or phone call with you.
Stephanie points out in her article on how to increase bridal show bookings by 25% that scheduling a meeting at the show helps.
Take a cue from venues; they have this down-pat. When you go to a venue booth, what’s they last thing they ask? They pull out a calendar and say that dates are booking up fast, but you can schedule a private site visit and tour the facilities.
A simple, non-committal, extension of a conversation, will not only will show the couple you really value their time and want to take the time to make their day special, but it allows them to build more a personal relationship with you. Potential couple not lost.
However, booking a meeting is one thing. You also need to work hard at making sure they keep that appointment.
Now, if this seems a little too out of your comfort zone, make sure you still follow up with couples after the show. Stephanie gives four ways to follow up after the show for optimal bridal show success.
So, we’d like to know, what are some of the best practices you implement at your bridal show booths?