Have You Looked In Mirror Lately? By Dude Walker

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Wedding show season is just around the corner. When the mass of “I’m gonna be wearin’ white…and that makes me right” unleash their detective skills upon wedding industry….and more importantly, the wedding shows.
Today’s bridal planner is changing at a speed faster than ever before. They are constantly bombarded with expert and non-expert advice in magazines, talk shows, and not so “real”ity TV. The amount of sales pitches and disinformation that wedding planners have to mire through today is staggering. Is there any wonder that some wedding planners jump headlong into the EXACT wrong fit for their wedding and guests?
Entering the spotlight “YOU”…the best solution to their entertainment needs.
Now it’s time to look into a mirror, both physically and metaphorically with one question in mind.
“If I don’t look like I can afford my services…how can I sell it?”
Wedding shows are a package deal. You have only a few seconds of curb appeal to win your client’s trust long enough to gain a further look into what you may have to offer. This encompasses every item, from the essence of your breath…down to very pens that you use in sharing or gathering information.
It doesn’t matter where you start…just build a marketing plan that outlines your goals including the how and what you need to reach those goals.
Step 1: Choose the right wedding show(s): Each wedding show has a tendency to promote itself differently to potential brides & grooms. If you’re offering only high-end services, attending a wedding show filled with $5,000 total budget brides may be a waste of your resources. Know what you bring to the table and don’t assume they can afford it.
Step 2: Evaluate your potential audience: Show promoters have a tendency to engage in “puffery” to increase their attendance numbers. The ONLY ATTENDANCE NUMBERS THAT MATTER are the headcount of brides, grooms, and those brides and grooms that attend together. Demand historical headcounts and how they are promoting to these potential clients right now. If a show promotes itself the same way as it did 10 years ago tell the promoter that you’re not interested. Your company needs to have access to the maximum number of potential clients that fit your current business plan and present-day bridal plans. Shows that have a major grand prize have a tendency of producing prize seekers that are not legitimate brides and grooms.
Step 3: Know how much space you’re renting: A booth space can vary greatly. Are you renting a six-foot table in some remote hallway or do you have a 10×10 booth on the main show floor?
Step 4: Personal Hygiene: (pay close attention to breath and body odor) Watching what you eat can prevent bad breath, hiccups, and reports from the 1-inch woofer.
Step 5: Clothing: It may seem superficial but you are judged by what you wear down to the shine of your shoes. Get bulky keys out of your pockets and ditch the cell phone holster. Rent a Tux or buy a new suit for sales meetings. A uniform represents the person wearing it. Your favorite football jersey could compel a bridal couple to look elsewhere if they support the other team.
Step 6: Review and update your business cards, brochures, related handouts, and backdrops.
Step 7: Design a theme for your booth. If you don’t feel confident hire an artist or consultant for ideas.
Step 8: Decide on ten to twelve pictures that represent you and your company and focus on three. If interest is shown you can always share the remaining pictures.
Step 9: Order premium door prizes well in advance.
Step 10: Get your DJ rig out of your booth. If you plan on playing background music you should have specific equipment designed to fit your booth space, not the entire venue where the wedding show is being held.
Step 11: Watch your language. The only thing professional about profanity is the first three letters.
Step 12: Leave your competitors out of it. The moment you refer to a competitor you’ve compelled the client to investigate them further…and quite possibly yourself out of a sale. Remind yourself that trash always ranks below treasure both in value and position. The client only cares about what YOU can DO for THEM. Know your product inside and out and how your potential client, as a customer, will benefit from hiring your service.
Step 13: Know your objective: Determine whether you intend on closing at the show or whether you plan on scheduling sales consults in the following weeks, then focus on that sales approach. Keep in mind that today’s millennials make purchases differently. Know the total number of leads you expect, the total number of qualified leads you expect, the cost per lead you expect, and the amount of literature you need to not have prospective leaving your booth empty-handed.
Step 14: Promote that you’ll be attending the show to current and potential clients. Having current clients stop by your booth enhances your image when they greet you. Some other great ways to increase foot traffic are to drop a line into your regular ads, place a flyer or sticker in all outgoing mail pieces, direct mail, special ads just for the show or a contest or premium for stopping by your booth.
Step 15: Keep your booth space clean, neat, and attractive. Know your way around your booth and exactly where your literature is stored. Fumbling for information in front of impatient potential clients can make you appear incompetent.
Step 16: Don’t be scared of your price and be willing to talk about costs. If a client asks you why you’re $1,000 dollars more than the $595 wannabe DJ,…YOU…need to know WHY! It’s not just because you’re better…the client needs to understand why you’re better. “What we attain to cheaply, we esteem too lightly” – Thomas Paine
Step 17: Be honest and confident! Being genuine is the quickest and most solid way of gaining the trust and admiration of potential clients. Making the “sale” is much different than finding the right client that fits you and your business plan. There are clients capable of filling your competitor’s calendar at $495. Don’t put yourself into the position of turning down a potential premium client because you’ve encumbered your calendar with low-paying gigs.
Step 18: Know your curb appeal! Potential brides and grooms want you alert, to use fewer sex symbols, to be technically qualified, to use less high pressure, to offer more information and literature detailing features and how they benefit from those features. For a BONUS TIP go to: http://dudewalker.org/bonus-tip-djnews-oct-2009/
Step 19: Be willing to commit for a reasonable price! A marriage takes place because two people have committed that some future date they’ll affirm that commitment in a lifelong verbal contract, generally speaking, with a reception and party attached. It all comes down to the value of the commitment. If a client offers you an absurdly low price, be willing to take their price on ONE condition. They must wait until 7-14 days prior to their event for your confirmation. If they think that your suggestion is preposterous, help them connect the dots of your value and YOUR rate for THEIR date, for your commitment RIGHT NOW!
Step 20: Take a long self-reflective look in the mirror: Decide whether you want to be a success by design or a failure by accident. “Winging it” in today’s wedding show landscape can be a costly venture when you really need to be ready to invest some cold hard cash. Anywhere from a minimum of $500 up to 100-150% of the total cost of your booth space.
Start planning today for success tomorrow. Best motivation…; Your competitors are hoping you procrastinate because it makes their job easier.
You can reach Dude Walker at dudewalker@discjockeynews.com

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