I was invited to attend a Bridal Show yesterday and enjoyed seeing old friends and being in the atmosphere. As usual, I can’t help putting on my consulting hat and simply observe. I try to keep my unsolicited advice to myself, which is a benefit to having a blog where I can share. Maybe you did a bridal show this weekend or maybe you have one coming up, either way, see if you notice some of these observations.
1. Where is the fun? As I walked the showroom floor, I saw about 10% of the vendors there smiling and enjoying themselves. These vendors who were smiling were naturally busy throughout the show and the 90% who did otherwise were, well…not so much. We are in a fun, exciting, industry where our clients are excited and apprehensive at the same time. When we can get the Brides to feed into the excitement they will most times be able form a bond. This excitement does not need to be over the top, over caffeinated bubbleliness, but simply interest in the bride that is genuine and shows a little life. Be present one Bride at a time and remember: Enthusiasm is contagious!
2. An Abundance of pens and candy. 70% of the tables had either pens, candy or both to hand out to the Brides. Were I there as a Bride, I would wonder (among a host of other things picturing myself as a Bride…..) do I look like I like to write a lot or do I look like I am having a low blood sugar episode? Most vendors go with the pens as an old technique of sales reciprocity. You give them something and they will feel obligated to give back. One sales course once stupidly suggested that it was a subliminal suggestion that they “sign” with you. Don’t fool yourself into believing either of those. Further, don’t think that by getting your pen in their bag will help remind them later about what a cool business you have. To prove this, look at your pen jar and see how many pens you have representing businesses or products which you have never bought, but simply picked up a pen. The candy concept is similar and has similar results.
3. Field of Dreams mentality. In the movie “Field of Dreams”, Kevin Costner heard the field say “if you build it , they will come”. Many vendors take a similar approach to their set up of build it big, pretty and interesting, and they will buy. While most of the booths were set up wonderfully to represent what the vendor did and provided, the booths did not sell the Bride. The key is that you need to work your booth, talk to everyone that you can, have a system. Sitting behind a table waiting for the Brides to talk to you will eliminate 90% of your potential from meeting Brides and starting the trust process.
Think about your next step in the buying process and work towards that. If what you are doing does not work towards that next step, fix it. (HINT**** the next step is not the sale…though I recommend you take them if they want to sign that day)