What’s Wrong… By Ken Day

FLASHBACK ARTICLE FROM NOVEMBER 2009

Jon Taffer from Bar Rescue with Ken Day

…with My Wedding Show Booth?
I’m certain if you do or have done wedding shows you’ve asked yourself this question to one degree or another. Most of the time what you are really asking is “Why doesn’t my booth get me more weddings?” I’m going to help you answer that question with a great deal of information that you can put to use right away.
First, let’s look at the purpose of your wedding show booth. Well, in a minute.
Now, we have come up with ideas for our booth to make it look cool with things like a great audio system, be it high tech, compact, a wall of sound, flashing lights, gobos, special backdrops, and you in the “Just Right” attire and a smile on your face. We have designed the most cool-looking handout piece with the perfect details about us and our services. We’ve spent a great deal of time and money to create that “Wow Factor” to draw those brides and grooms to our booth only to hand them that piece of marketing, which is the one item that will get them to contact us. We might even get to say a couple of words to them before they head off to the cake and caterer sampling tables.
Then we wait and wonder why, why didn’t they contact me?
The reality is that every vendor is wondering the same thing. Because, they had a cool booth as well and all the other DJs had, pretty much, the same thing you did with little variation. You blended in with almost every other vendor thereby having a “cool” booth and handing out one piece of information that had everything they (Brides and Grooms) needed to contact you. And, just like everyone else at the show you later get a brides list and send 1 e-mail – right away.
Ok, now we can go back to the purpose you’re your wedding show booth. There is only one, that’s right 1 single purpose for your booth.
To Make You Money – That’s right, deposits in your bank.
Everything else is fluff. So, now let’s examine what will aid you in being a business and money-making machine through your bridal show booth.
The booth itself, only needs to make you identifiable as a DJ. You could put up a sign that says “Wedding DJ” of course, you want it to look professional. But, that is all you really need. Now you say, what about sound and lights? Nice fluff, I say. You are not selling equipment or lights. That’s all stuff you can do show and tell with later at your first or second meeting. Besides, everyone else has that stuff in their booth. The reality is that all DJs pretty much have the same “professional” equipment, lights, and music these days. So, showing it makes you no different than the next guy. After many bride and groom panels and client surveys. The Brides and Grooms just want to know what service each booth is providing and the rest is fluff, especially for DJs. They assume that since you are there that you have the professional equipment, lighting, and music that they want to have for their wedding. As for music the assumption today is that if you don’t have their music you can download it or they can give it to you from their iPod, unlike all the way back in the 80s and 90’s when only the DJs and audiophiles had “all ” the music.
Here’s one idea I’ve used to draw people to my booth. If the show producer allows it, set up a water cooler on the edge of your booth. With all the food samples going on the brides and grooms just want some water to wash it down. They see your water cooler and you pleasantly offer them some water and conversation because you are the person that thinks about the client and attention to the details.
On to Your handout material with all the information that will allow them to contact you. You are handing out 1 piece of information about you and your company with the expectation of the bride and groom being so impressed with your handout that they call you and book right away. This places you at a serious disadvantage and provides you with a wasted opportunity to make more of an impression than the other vendors put together. How is this you ask? Well, you are doing exactly what everyone else is doing by hanging your hope, dreams, and bank account on 1, yes 1 piece of paper, that you call your wedding show marketing material. Innately, people are lazy and if they have to put any effort into contacting you it won’t happen – ever. The first expectation you have is for them to accept your marketing material at the show and then when they get home, with the other hundreds of similarly crafted marketing materials, they will notice and read all the enticing details you have provided in your materials and feel compelled to contact you and you alone. I know this is really a pessimistic view of our marketing materials, but unfortunately is holds true.
Here are a few ways to cause your marketing materials and your company recognition to change by leaps and bounds, thereby placing you ahead of all the other vendors.
Create multiple materials to provide to the Brides and Grooms. Make a couple of them pieces that assist them with their wedding planning. Such as bookmarks that have your company information on one side and the other side is set up for the bride to write down the contact information for her vendors or an entertainment comparison worksheet or a guide to get through all the information they are collecting at the bridal show. I have one that states “Are You Getting Too Much Information” and tells them how to quickly and effectively go through all the material they are collecting at the show. This will offer multiple opportunities to place you and your company in front of the potential client’s eyes. You are also setting yourself up as the authority and the solution to other elements of their wedding beyond being their DJ. Every time I have used these and other materials at a wedding shows the attendees express their gratitude for the assistance and how I am helping them because no other vendors were looking out for them, the brides and groom. It made a difference when I contacted them as well, they were much more receptive. Ask for their contact information at the show. These are warm contacts and will usually go much more smoothly. (If you would like samples of these materials, please e-mail me and I’ll e-mail them back to you.)
A quick note about attire in your booth. Referring back to the Bride and Groom panels, common statements about the DJ attire in the booth were as follows:
Tuxedo – Too Uptight – Dinner Party
Tux Vest & Tux Shirt – Cheesy
Suit & Tie-Not Approachable – To Business like
Suit & No Tie – Right Amount of Professionalism & Fun mix
Polo Shirt & Dress Pants – Partyer – Too Casual
Shirt & Jeans – Low Budget & Not Professional
The follow-up is where most of us really fall on our faces and feel one e-mail was enough. Remember, people are lazy and if they have to work at it to contact you, they won’t. So, take that list and devise a multifaceted campaign to improve your bank deposits. The first step to making your new client’s campaign work is while you are at the show, ask every bride and groom or family member if it’s ok if you contact them and that it won’t be a high-pressure sales follow-up to the show – promise. When you get the show list wait for 2 weeks before you send out your e-mails. The e-mail should have something of value for the potential client, an upgrade at no charge if they set up a meeting in the next 2 weeks. Another e-mail should go out 2 weeks after that asking if they got the other e-mail and tell them you are sorry, they lost the free upgrade opportunity, but you’d still like to meet with them to discuss their wedding with them .
As soon as you get the wedding show list you should send everyone on it a letter that is personalized to them and not a generic one. Yes, it’s a lot of work but you are thinking about your bank account. This letter should tell them that you have a wedding ceremony and reception planning guide that you will give them as a thank you if they make an appointment with you within the next 30 days and provide your contact information to make it easy. The letter should congratulate them down the letter a little bit and should offer some planning advice tidbits from the DJ’s perspective. Make it something for them to consider when talking to other DJs.
Lastly, you should call them 1 time, three weeks out from getting the list to make sure they had gotten the previous e-mail and letter. Ask if they might have any questions for you or any questions about planning in general because you would like to offer your professional assistance to help them make their wedding perfect, even if they hire or have hired another DJ.
If all of the contacts you have made don’t result in a new client, they will remember you and your company because you wanted to help them, not just have them hire you. Often times they will refer you to friends over the DJ they hired.
You can reach Ken Day at kenday@discjockeynews.com.

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