by Frank Calister
Thursday 2:15 PM
If you are a wedding professional and not getting lots of bookings it’s NOT your fault… and IS your fault both at the same time. Hmm, how could that be?
It’s Not Your Fault… Or Is It?
Look – It’s not your fault that it wasn’t a home run because most bridal show promoters don’t teach you how to really follow-up from a show. They don’t teach a step by step formula to turn that face to face contact into an appointment.
… they don’t teach you how to follow-up because they don’t know how to themselves.
And, yes, show success is your fault at the same time because as a wedding pro we must all take responsibility for not just learning our craft, but mastering the marketing side of the wedding business. I meet wedding pros that are fantastic at the service they offer but are clueless when it comes to marketing, email follow-up and what to say on the phone. Then they complain that bridal shows don’t work or that they are not making ends meet.
By the way…
… I have always had great success at bridal shows (the ones that had a good turnout of brides of course, but that’s a whole other topic). Having a sales and marketing background (and passion) before I started is what I believe made the difference between doing a show once and doing and producing shows for the past 11 years.
In fact, with every company that I’ve been in or owned, aggressive, quick, steady and friendly follow-up has always turned meeting brides into appointments and the sales.
7 Step Bridal Blueprint for Show Success
So, what to do. Let’s keep it simple. Here is the basic outline that I use for my businesses and teach to wedding pros that display at shows that I have produced.
1. Meet and Greet at the show only
I will let you in on a secret. The brides are not coming to the show to see you or to book with you. The brides are there for free prizes, fashion shows, food and a day out with their friends.
So stand out in front of your table, schmooze, make friends and be interested in them while they sign-up for your prize. If she asks for prices tell her you’ll get in touch after the show. Enough said, do not sell or tell her how great you are at the show – she doesn’t care.
2. Send An Email the Day After the Event
Act fast! Upload your names and emails into your email program (we use Constant Constant and IContact) and send her a friendly “It was great meeting you at the show – here are some bride tips on our website” email.
3. Also Call Her the Day After
After you send out your Friendly bride tips email pick up the phone… (yes, the phone).
Listen – you will get mostly voice mails but that’s OK. Leave her a message telling her that it was great meeting her at the show and that you just sent her an email with some free bride tips. Don’t be like your competition and try to force a sale, you will turn her off.
Show that you are there for her and that you are the expert in your category by giving some valuable info.
4. Send a Second Email 2 Days After the Show
Don’t give up now. And, no, you are not being too pushy if you are being friendly and giving advice that she is interested in.
For this email you can send her to some new pictures on your Blog, your gallery page or your “Bride Reviews” page. Keep it friendly, give another tip and put your offer in the PS.
5. Email 3 – 4 Days After the Show
Yes, it’s the third email this week… and you have permission – she signed up with you and met you at the show.
Now that you have given to her first and showed interest in her at the show, it’s time for the blatant “Here’s the Fantastic, limited time, limited date, contact me now for an appointment” email. Be sure to include a great offer, link to your contact page, phone number and limited time expiration date.
6. End of Week 1 – Send a direct mail piece to all of the brides that did not respond during the week.
Yes, snail mail. And don’t cheap it out now being that you have already invested into the show.
You can send a brochure with a personalized letter with your offer. Do not address her letter with “Dear Bride to Be”. Use a mail merge and put her first name in the letter.
7. Week 2 Onward – Send a Weekly Specials or Tips Email
Just because she attended a show does not mean she is ready to book your category. Brides are waiting longer and longer before booking services. She will often book with that wedding pro that is in front of her when she is ready, not when you are ready.
If you do not keep in touch every week she will forget about you within a few weeks after the show. So for all of the brides that you did not book the first week, repeat the process with 1 or 2 friendly tip emails every week and phone calls every month. Put all of your brides from all of the shows after the first into a master list so that none fall through the cracks.
And for how many weeks do you send emails and make calls? Keep with the friendly, tips giving follow-up until she tells you that she already has your service or until she is married.