7 Days of Bridal Show Success: Day 6
I’m sure many of us have done it…we pay all this money for a booth at the bridal show and then forget about it or get so busy with everything else in our business that we don’t really put it together until last minute. I’ve waited until a couple days before even to decide what I’m going to do. I’ve also planned out the show months in advance and believe me, there is a huge difference. Stress level aside, I think planning early actually helps you be more successful and here’s why:
You have the right materials
Planning in advance allows you to gather all of the materials you need to it right. You can print new brochures, get pictures printed on canvas, match your business cards to your decor, and have time to build the props you need.
You don’t have to settle
When you are running out of time, you have to start making concessions from what your vision is and what you can actually pull off. Don’t settle…plan ahead.
You can source better
Not everything you need is locally available. That perfect vase or buffet display may not be able to make it here in a week .
You can budget better
Some things are cheaper when you order them online or early. You are also able to do more shopping around and don’t have to make last minute, impulsive or desperate purchases.
Here’s the order and outline I use to plan and usually try to start this at least 2 months in advance.
- Overall Theme (color or trend)
- Wow Factor/Gimmick
- Decor (linen colors, flowers, props, vases, containers, display pieces)
- Samples (food, cake, photo, swatch, report, guide, etc.)
- Marketing Collateral (business card, brochure, flyer, price sheet, menu, etc.)
- Electricity and Technology Needs
- Door Prize
- Food/Beverages for Staff (this is usually just cash for lunch in the food area)
- Set Up Days and Times (I actually schedule this so I don’t get stuck with a conflict)
- Appointment & Availability Schedules
- Office Supplies (notepad, clipboard, pens, makers, tape, etc.)
- Packing List of all other materials needed
Plan to stay the whole time
So it’s 4:30 and all of the brides are gathered around the big stage to see if they’ve won the “must be present to win” door prizes. No one’s visited your booth for quite a while. Your feet hurt and you’re exhausted. And then, you see other vendors start to break down…resist the temptation to jump off the bridge with them! Not only are we usually bound by contract to stay the whole time but it’s bad business too. What if a bride comes in late, goes straight to the drawing, and then visits vendors afterwards? What if, while hanging around, they have another question and come back to your booth? What if they can’t find you because you’re already gone? What message does that send to them? What other questions can I ask to get you to think about why it’s a bad idea to start breaking down early?
This past year, I was waiting in my booth for that last 30 minutes to be over and, at 5:00, I started putting literature away. At 5:05, a bride and groom come up to me and ask me if it’s too late to talk…of course not. I served them milk and cookies and spent a couple minutes with them answering questions and giving them a brochure. No big deal…until 6 months later when I walk in and see them sitting down for an initial consultation. I didn’t remember them but they remembered me and told me that after the bridal show, they decided that they were going to use me because I was one of the only vendors they needed to see that day that actually gave them the time of day. They thanked me for not breaking down early and for spending extra time with them after such a long day. How cool is that? These brides want to feel special…all it took for me to make them feel that way was to do what I was supposed to do anyway, stay until the end.