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With the Summer/Fall round of Bridal Shows quickly approaching, again comes the time for vendors to start thinking about where they would like to showcase their work.

I am interested to know what you, as a Vendor, find to be the most successful way begin an interaction with a potential client.

Do you prefer/have more success at large Covention Center shows, or smaller shows held at places like Golf Courses or local Banquet Halls?

Also, I am interested to know what, as a show attendee, would make you stop and chat with a Vendor.

I look forward to hearing all of your opinions!

Tags: bridal, shows, trade

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Having a booth that is interactive and eye-catching is the first moment of impression. Getting attendees attention is important; then you have about 5 seconds to engage them before they pass you by and move onto the next booth. Providing them incentives for utilizing your services and showing them that you can deliver the products/services they need with paramount customer service is how you will get their attention.

As an attendee to a trade show, I expect vendors to be courteous, friendly, and knowledgable about the products/services they are selling. An attractive, eyecatching booth, excellent products that the salespersons endorse, is what makes me take a second look.
I have had a mixed experiences with bridal shows. Many shows are helpful in attracting clients to The Capriccio Ensemble/to our music as when we participate we are performing our music live just as we would for "invitation" for example or at a cocktail hour at a wedding or private event. We are not "showcasing" as the band/DJ and we perform generally in a lobby area as the brides, grooms, their parents and friends enter to register for the bridal show.
One of the ways I have found it helpful to be a participant is that we can invite our potential clients to come to hear us/sample our music live. This is always a plus and what I generally do is to create a playlist/music book for the showcase which reflects all of the many different styles of music we perform and gives the listener a fair sense of our versatility.
We have booked on the average of our total business per year, I believe about 18% from the bridal showcases we have been a part of. Our most succesful show to date occurred at a large trade show space in the winter time/late January of 2009.

I do enjoy the direct contact with our listeners/brides/grooms/mother or father of the bride/sisters/friends of the bride or groom, and I am almost always there at each showcase, as the Artistic Director of Capriccio Ensemble to talk to people and to answer all questions that are posed to us.
The shows can be fun however the downside is that for some shows, the people attending the bridal shows may not be interested at all in the type of music or instrumental ensembles we present and may be much more interested in finding a DJ or hairstylist of other type of vendor.
It has nothing to do with how well we perform on any one given evening at a bridal showcase and also, we frequently receive phone calls or e-mails many weeks or even months and in some cases years later that the caller or person writing to us had met us at a bridal show and would like more information or is contacting us to definitely book our ensemble.
On the other hand the direct experience we have had at some shows as been highly postiive. It really hinges on who is attending and what they may truly be interested in however for us it is always a positive experience just to introduce people to the idea of live beautiful music and to meet new people.
We host an annual Bridal Event in the fall and the reason why we started it was because of the simple fact that my brides were asking for it. I've attended the large expo shows and they are a must do at least once and by the time my brides have left they are DONE. Most state that they like a setting where they get a chance to speak to a vendor, not just be handed a card and not really connect. Another thing we have had with large expos are how much they cost and there are so many vendors from different states.

I think both types are great and have a purpose and each vendor needs to find the show that will work for them. You need to be outside your booth, talking to people, and remember to smile no matter what. You need to seem friendly so people want to speak to you.
Attachments:
I've had mixed reviews from attending bridal fairs/shows. It's a great way to meet a lot of women who are interested in your business and are looking for your services. The down side is contacting those women after the show is over. I've not had good success with that. They either wrote down a wrong number or have totally lost interest and forgotten our conversation.
What techniques have you used or what advice do you have about increasing the return on investment? How do you keep new contacts excited and interested in you?
Dear Lori-Ann,

I too experienced what you wrote. I tried to contact brides afterwards and their phone numbers were wrong, never contacted me, nothing - even those who won the doorprizes. I enjoy the shows but have never had a successful bridal show to reflect sales afterwards.
For follow up 1) I have a giveaway with no strings attached at my booth, to get into the drawing the brides/attendee must completely fill out the questionaire I have. Which includes, brides name; grooms name; address with zip; contact phone; bride's b-day (to send out b-day cards); groom's b-day; wedding date. My granddaughter uses my lap top during slow periods and fills in a spread sheet with the information. 2) When I get home at that night or in the morning, I send them a e-mail thank you for stopping by for a chat. 3) When I a chat with the attendee and tell them I am going to do something, like send them a picture of a cake, I write what I have told them I plan on doing on the back of two of my cards, one for them and one for me. I follow up on those within 2 days and contact them 10 to 14 days later to see if they had additional questions. 4) I put them on my e-mail list for my monthly news letter. 5) I find uniqe ways to keep my name in from of them over the next month or so. 6) 2 weeks prior to the wedding I mail them a fancy wedding card and a birthday card on their birthdays, hey the will have kids someday or family/friends with birthdays. Hope this helps you a little, it does me.
I am currently in the same dilemma...to DO or not to DO the wedding shows. As an event planner I think we have a particular challenge in coming up with a booth design that is distinct from a florist, photographer or rental company. I would love any creative ideas you event planners have come up with. I am toying with a couple of ideas, but haven't decided you far too push the envelope yet!
Yes I too would love ideas. I sell wedding & shower favors. I need some creative ways to display my items.
Although you want to keep your design distinct from that of a florist or rental company, I don't think there is anything wrong with utlizing their product to create a great display.
As an event planner, it can be harder to display your services because in many ways they aren't tangible, so I feel that this is where your creativity and design skills should shine, and utilizing products from vendors you work with can be very beneficial.
We just did a small bridal show where we were only allowed a 2 1/2' round table to display our business, so we decided to create a sweetheart table with 2 place settings.
We contacted a close vendor who provides decor rentals to borrow some items, and along with a few of our personal touches, we had a great table. By utilizing products from another vendor we were able to showcase an eye catching table, and it also shows potential clients the high quality of vendors we have relationships with - which is a big reason why people higher event planners: to gain access to well recomended and trustworthy vendors.
I agree to this. and to add on this particular statement.as an event planner we should emphasize the best service we can offer which separates from other services of an event planner.
Hi,

I have attended the Bridal Show as a florist and across my booth was a wedding planner. She had color coordinated space, some flowers but she has stopped the traffic by offering the jars full of ... different (again matching colors), ... candies. People would stop, put it a box so she had a chance to talk to them.

Margaret Woroszylo
MW Flower Design
I have not done a vendor show yet, but absolutely would chat with as many vendors as possible.

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