Notes for the first time exhibitor:
As a long time promoter of over forty-five years I've seen and heard quite a bit. The industry has changed tremendously and each year gets more competitive than the next. While I started out without the knowledge or competition of the computer you learn to work with the various factors.
As a newbie to the show expo industry perhaps I would suggest the following to help you along the way. As you probably have heard somewhere along the way "knowledge is power."
While making calls or searching the internet for your desired show. Know that just the website of a producer should not totally influence you whether to participate or not. My first question would be are you totally prepared for an event. Product wise, product knowledge, passion for what you do, financially and... here's a big one. Are you people friendly?
- Do you find yourself flustered while trying to answer questions or help someone with your product and services?
- Are you easy to talk too and are you approachable?
- Do you make someone feel comfortable enough to have them invite you into their lives to help them?
- Are you tenacious enough to follow through with the leads you have. Not just once or twice but perhaps a few times. Be warned though...some people do not want you follow up with them more than once if they have not invited you too.
- If a couple has invited you to share your business, prices and knowledge don't use the same verbiage you hear over and over again from other vendors. Be unique...stand out!
Next, are you prepared for the show/expo?
- Do you have enough knowledge that you are able to convince your potential client they need your services or products? Either you do and you believe in the or you possibly have lost customers.
- Are you up to date on the current trends and your competition?
- When you present at the show do you have marketing materials branding your service?
a) Current business cards (Cards should be easy to read at a glance. Not squeezing to much information that the print is too light, or distorted.
b) Current flyers or post cards
Next: INTERACTIVE with your potential clients
- Brides and grooms of today are computer savvy and savvy enough to basically have anything they want at their finger tips. There will be however, still those who are really in need of information and truly come to the shows to seek this information and services. So what do you do that would draw your customers in to you space to visit with you and how do you keep their interest without making yourself sound desperate for a sale?
- Do you prepare for the shows?
a) A prepared or seasoned exhibitor generally has the following:
- Portable Table
- Linen to fit and overlay to make it more attractive. Predicated on how decorative you wish to be perhaps a sash and table decor
- Candies or other goodies to give away
- Your display is set at various levels to attract the eye
- You may wish to have lighting
- Creative backdrop or small banner
- Marketing Materials
- Registration Slips
- If you are selling at the event then you should have a means of collecting funds and giving receipts
- Discount certificates useable within a year. Not everyone is going to immediately contact you or purchase items at the show. This may be the very contact that sells your product or services.
While at the show take quality time out to introduce yourself to the venue. This is important as many times the venue is looking for additional services to add to their "preferred list." This is money in the bank to you as they market your business long after the show is gone and it also increases your network of business professionals.
Next, don't by pass the other vendors. Often at shows it is the vendors who purchase items from one another and also refer business to business.
The guests with the bride and groom. They love to attend the events not only to help their friend or family member but to enjoy the festivities themselves. Engage them in conversation and you may be pleasantly surprised that they too are interested in what you have to offer, or may refer to to a friend.
When you are seeking a show also ask yourself:
- Can I afford the event no matter what
- Is the show location and surrounding areas somewhere I am willing to travel
- Does the demographics fit my products and services
- Do I feel the event will benefit me
- Could I advertise for the cost of the event and get any results
- Am I willing to travel and am I available for the duration of the event
My last note on this is to set-up your table at home and look at it objectively. Ask someone to look and tell you the truth if they would visit your table at an event. Reinvent yourself now and then and always stay positive no matter what happens at an event. No one can guarantee you anything. You constantly have to motivate yourself so love what you do. I hope some of the above information gets you to thinking!
Wishing you much success.
Bridal Show Southern California