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FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM OCTOBER 2009
As I sit waiting for flights destine for the Wedding MBA conference in Las Vegas and back home afterward, a reoccurring word is seen: “Connections.” Time and time again, there are too many DJs that emphasize connecting with the dance floor is the core of their personal mantras. There are many steps involved before we get to the dance floor portion of a customer’s relationship with your service.
Connections are two-way actions. The service you provide needs to connect with the client you intend to book. Likewise, the client needs to connect with your service before they hire you. One-on-one sales are the most essential element of connection. One-on-one sales are that prime moment when you have full control over a phenomenon. It’s a transitional phenomenon. It’s that transition where a prospect/consumer becomes a customer/client. It’s that moment when a faceless target market, anticipated statistic, that anonymous “who” you set your company up to serve becomes the “Karl and Cindy’s,” “Patti and David’s,” “Leigh and Tony’s,” and “Shantel and Kyle’s” that propel your success.
A booth at a bridal show is the very best place to connect with a client. For service providers, a bridal show is the one place we can become a retail outlet. Granted, some of you don’t “do” bridal shows. That’s fine, and that’s too bad at the same time. There is no one place where you have the best footfall of prime, ready-to-buy eyes. One of many great Wedding MBA seminars was put on by Bill Heaton, of Great Bridal Expo. He presented on “Bridal Show Booths – The Good, Bad and VERY Ugly.” Rolling my eyes at that seminar title was very close to a premonition… I would like to thank one of my brethren DJs for becoming the picture used as “the VERY UGLY” booth.
I’ve also heard countless times from DJs that it is the show promoter’s responsibility to create the footfall for the show. In this day and age, there is no reason you cannot use simple, cheap, and effective media sources to create your own pre-show hype to cause folks to come. Get creative with that hype. Enticements are more than discounts. You can do that over the phone. Remember, you are presenting to a Millennial – Gen Y bride. They seek more than Gen X did. Your booth is a place to provide a Millennial that additional information.
An interesting point made in that seminar was “Make Sure the Bride and Groom Know What They Are Seeing.” You’ll have 5 seconds to express what portion of a bride’s wedding day you provide. If you fail to convey that clearly, you have “an ugly booth” (that’s using the bride’s words). Brides are who we serve at a bridal show. Mimicking a gear booth you saw at a DJ trade show is a failed attempt at what worked to motivate you; forgetting totally it is with a bride and her wedding ceremony, or wedding reception environment that you are trying to connect. On the other hand, getting too far away from what we do is an ugly booth as well. I can go to any DJ chat board and see other DJs offering praise for a picture of a small couch and a coffee table as “another DJ’s booth.” If your booth doesn’t say what you do (remember: this is in the bride’s words) you have an ugly booth.
How to avoid the “ugly booth?” Use large (2ft by 3ft) photos to show what you represent. Many one-hour photo labs will have a large photo-quality printer. Let the booth be exciting. Use wedding colors that are current. Wash the booth in light. Be you and be rested. No sitting, no food, no drinks. If you are a multi-op, staff the booth with only your best and coach them on how to act and what to say – they are on stage the whole time. Try not to overstaff your booth. You leave less and less room for brides to get into your booth. Multi-ops: NO COLOGNE! And if you do “need” it, still require none of your DJs wear any at the start. You supply it and you supply one scent.
Connections at a bridal show are beyond just the brides and grooms. Brides and grooms are a large percentage of the people there, but there are other folks who can do more for your business: other businesses (vendors). Cater to them. Ask your neighbor if you are doing anything that is hurting or helping them. Take that feedback they offer and use it. A good impression with your bridal show neighbors and even a businesses booth in the opposite corner of the hall will create stakeholder sales reps for the entire year.
One-on-one sales and the bridal show booth are both instances (both separate and combined) where you can establish a bond of trust and convey a good feeling to today’s millennial bride. And that, my friends… is a connection..
Ken Petersen can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.