An Article by Kristen Bayliss
Nail your Expo Experience!
If you’ve booked yourself in to participate in a Wedding Expo – High-Five, Man!! Congrats on investing in an awesome way to get your business in front of your target market. Now what?!
It can be an anxiety-ridden journey preparing for and participating in a Wedding Expo, so I want to take all that worry and stress away from you by giving you my biggest tips on what you need to do to get the most out of your Expo experience.
TIP: Remember – selling Weddings is all about Creating Experiences & Creating Connections with people. So make sure to always have these things top of mind when preparing for, participating in and wrapping up your Expo Experience.
How do you make sure you get the most of your Expo Experience
#1. Prep Before The Event
Along with the post-expo follow up this is the most overlooked part of expo participation. You MUST have a plan going into the event. You’ve invested money to be at the event – so don’t waste your experience. Know your objectives and how you’re going to achieve them. Be clear on the following:
- What is your stand going to look like? And, what do you need to achieve this?
- What are you selling? Know your products!
- How much do you need to sell?
- How are you selling it? (Do you have a rough sales script?)
- Know your availability and be able to give answers to questions on the spot
My Tip: Sit down and envisage what you want your stand to look like, how this tells a story about what services you are promoting and understand how you are going to stand out against your competition. There’s nothing more cringe-worthy than being that one supplier who clearly didn’t put any thought or effort into their booth set up or marketing materials. Don’t be that person!
#2. Create an Experience
Remember – Selling Weddings is all about selling experiences. Attending a Wedding Expo is an exciting experience for a couple and you want to be able to add to that by taking your couples on a journey of what they will experience when they work with you. You know when you see something that you want – you can imagine it and feel it – and you’ll make it happen.
My Tip: Don’t sell WHAT you do. Sell the EXPERIENCE you create for your couples. Transform your booth into space that draws your customers in, excites them and leaves them wanting to know more. Need help with that? Collaborate. You’re attending an expo with a tonne of other wonderful suppliers, so work together to create beautiful spaces that are going to surprise and delight visitors. Don’t be afraid to contact and collaborate with other suppliers, such a stylists & florists, to help create your vision. It’s an opportunity for all of you to market your business and showcase your work.
#3. Get up, Stand up!
Personally, I think chairs should be banned at expos!! Never, ever sit behind a table. It’s your job to welcome visitors in, be approachable and engaging. You only have a few hours to connect with your customers, so make the most of it!
My Tip: Think of expo visitors as people you want to get to know. They are the celebrity and you want to know everything about them. I also suggest bringing someone along with you – either another person that works in your business or a trusted friend or family member that can give you support, encouragement and also talk to interested couples when you are busy engaged in other conversations. And remember: Everyone is watching! Other vendors will notice you if you’re friendly, engaging and busy talking to people and they will want to get to know you too.
#4. Sell without Selling
This can be a really awkward experience for those people who hate selling. But you don’t need to be ‘salesy’ to sell. In fact, making sure you’re not ‘salesy’ is the key. If you’re a shy or nervous person who doesn’t like talking to people – it will show! So, I suggest practicing before the big day, or again, bringing someone along with you for support. Every expo you attend is going to help develop your skills in this area, so keep practicing and it will eventually come naturally.
My Tip: Break the ice. When a couple walk near you, ask them an open question (and not the obvious one that everyone else is asking!). Be creative. Get them talking and show huge interest in them and their story. Start the conversation, keep them talking, show your passion for your service or product, let them fall in love with you then wrap it up by getting their contact details so you can follow them up!
#5. Have something to give
Once visitors have engaged with you, they need to walk away with something. You’re likely going to be one of a few suppliers in your category, so you need a way of making sure visitors remember YOU after they have gone home. What are you going to give them that makes them go back and want to contact you?
My Tip: Have a giveaway that is different and makes you stand out. Something that will allow them to remember you above everyone else. Hint – It’s not a business card! Maybe it’s a small gift with your contact details attached, something edible or something useful that they won’t just throw in the bin when they get home. Get creative! I also suggest that businesses have a promotion or giveaway at their stand to allow you to collect contact details so that you can follow up your interested couples. BUT (and it’s a big but) Don’t just give away something on the day that means you’ll never hear from that couple again (we all know about those people who just come for the freebies!). So, make sure it’s something that will lead to a sale, or an upgrade/add on. That way, you know you are gathering details of people who want your product or service….not just your freebies!
#6. Gather Information
Why? YOU NEED TO FOLLOW UP!! Again, think Quality over Quantity. Getting 100 cold leads is not as useful as getting 20 hot leads. So, make sure you’re taking down contact details AND tidbits of information about couples – what they like, what they don’t like, what their children’s names are, do they have a dog? You can use these little bits of info when you’re crafting your personal follow up to them. On this note – be careful of ‘bridal databases’ that are often available to exhibitors after an expo. It may seem like you’ve hit gold getting hundreds of email addresses, but be aware that the majority of these people will be cold leads for your business and they are likely being contacted by many other exhibitors as well. It can cause frustration for expo visitors as they feel bombarded by messages after the event. So, stick to the list of hot leads you’ve gathered on your stand and concentrate on looking after them!
My Tip: It’s 2018, people! There are so many digital solutions out there to make this task easy for everyone involved, so get onto it. My simple solution is to take along an iPad and get your interested couples to fill out an enquiry form that sends their information directly to your email or captures it into a database. Promise them you will get back to them in the next day or so with a quote, or further information, or a time for a catch up…..then do it!
#7. Follow up
If you’re not following up your leads, you’re literally pouring money down the drain. Get onto it in the few days after the expo while you are still fresh in their minds. Wait a week or so and, do one more follow up. If people aren’t contacting you back, leave them with the offer to help with anything if you can. Some bookings can take months to trickle in from an Expo so be helpful, be useful, and leave the door open for them to get back in contact with you down the track.
My Tip: If you’re sending an email – make it personal! Include specific details about the couple that you noted down. Take away their stress, solve their problems, and build a picture in their minds of what the experience will be for them when they work with you. Build on the relationship that you started on Expo day.
And lastly, tell the world what you did! Another great way to stay in the minds of potential customers and other suppliers is to share your experience on Social Media. Remind them of the awesome day they had at the Expo and your stunning booth and any offers you had advertised. Bring it back into the minds of the couples that saw you, and invite them to come back to you.