What to do During the Show
Here are some ideas to help you find the success that you are working towards at the same time overcoming those common roadblocks. By following these ideas, you will stand out and not end up as another brochure in her bag that gets put in the corner of her room, not to be looked at again.
1. Show up early- Prepared Mentally and Physically
When I produced Bridal shows, one of the biggest problems I had was the vendors who would show up with 30 minutes to go. The show would start and they would have multiple problems; they were inconsiderate of their neighbors, they were not prepared for the Brides walking by, and they left a lot to be desired with their presentation.
I had vendors who would roll out of bed, load their cars in a hurry and scramble to get to the show. They didn’t have time for Breakfast and were always sweaty and unprepared when the show started.
By showing up early, you have not only the ability to overcome all of these problems, but the ability to network with your friends at the show, fine tune things to better present your product/service as well as get your mind in the game prior to the onslaught of Brides.
2. Have a special offer that requires action after the show
Many vendors feel that they need to give away stuff at shows (not a bad idea, let’s just tune up the delivery). You probably have seen People bring the little candy dish, only to see it go to the little hands that show up at the show and take it by the bags full when Mom is busy speaking to that vendor. A special offer that requires action after the show may be as simple as printing up a card that gives away whatever you were going to give away at the show, only they have to come to you at your place of business where you can speak to them away from the glamour and the busyness of the show.
3. Get appointments to meet after the show
If you are having meaningful conversations at the show, you don’t always have to give them something to get them to set an appointment. They will be more than glad to do so. You can simply say “It looks like we should continue this conversation, but I don’t want to take you away from seeing other people. Does it make sense to set an appointment for sometime next week?” Never lose control of the sale, but on the other side, if this is not phrased in a manner that it can then be the idea of the Bride to make the appointment, you have a better chance of it being a good appointment. She will never argue with her own ideas (unless she is schizophrenic). By having the appointment after the show, you then have a better chance of getting all of the right decision makers to the appointment.
4. Politely ignore your competition
Most Bridal Shows have more than one vendor in any given category. This being the case, I have seen at times up to 20+ of any given category. It is under that situation that I suggest that you politely ignore your competition. Too many times, I have seen where one company will play a “one-ups-manship” with their competition. They offer “x” so in retaliation, the competitor will offer “x” + 1 or “x” times 2. This tinkling contest only pushes each other into what may or may not be working, but it trains the Bride to look for a deal from everyone.
5. Rule of First glance
The rules of first glance state that you should be able to tell what the person does at first glance without trying hard. In other words, if you are a caterer, the Bride should be able to stand back and look at the (sometimes) hundreds of booths and determine what you are, what the person next to you is and so on. It doesn’t mean that you should not look pretty or use some marketing principles like Pattern Interrupt in your design (i.e. DON’T HIRE A DJ posted on an obvious DJ booth-they then explain that you need an entertainer instead of just a guy who spins records.) I have seen booths that put a Bridal Dress on a Mannequin and filled the booth with Flowers when they did Invitations. Let me say this, you are at a Bridal show. The Brides coming know they are at a Bridal show.
6. Look the part-Active, attractive and energetic.
Everyone loves someone who is full of enthusiasm. Imagine going down the aisles of the show and people are just standing there. Does that sound like someone who you want to do business with? I remember one show where the one vendor set up her booth, put her table up at the front of the booth ( a big no-no by the way-sends out a signal that you don’t want them in your space) and proceeded to work on her needlepoint for the entire show. How would you receive a person like that? Would you be anxious to do business with them?
Work the show for all it’s worth- don’t, and I repeat don’t be tempted to tear down early and try to beat a path home to “beat the crowd”. Take your time and work every last Bride-it will pay off.

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