Advice please. What are some general dos and dont's you have learned from presenting at bridal shows?? What works/doesn't work?? Is there any such thing as bridal show etiquette? Thanks.
I don't pounce on every person that walks by my booth. I don't try to shove brochures or other literature into their hands unless they are genuinely interested and are approaching me. I'm a pretty laid-back person at bridal shows. I am there to answer any questions, but I also let people browse and not feel like I'm breathing down their necks with a sales pitch, because I hate being on the other end of that.
For other vendors at the show, I try to introduce myself especially to those that have booths near mine. I like to also get to know what they offer, share what I offer, and swap business cards for networking. I even try to make a point to go introduce myself to other wedding cake decorators (the competition) and establish a friendly rapport with them.
Yeah, make friends w/your neighbors. You'll be around them all day and it's beneficial to get to know them. Share equipment - such as carts and stuff like that.
Definitely network with the other vendors before the show. that's the real benefit of a show. Getting to know brides is just a side benefit!
I would get to know what was in their booth and would refer brides to them. ("Oh you're looking for centerpieces? Try Betty Boop Florists on the next aisle! They have some great displays! Tell her Debi sent you over.") Betty Boop is then thankful for Debi for sending her potential business.
I'm also laid back. Stay behind the table, in the booth. Don't attack them in the aisle.
To pre-screen the real potential clients vs. the looky loos who just want free cake, I would ask, "Are you shopping for cake today?" If they've already made arrangements for their cake, I'd make a positive comment like, "Oh, good! an organized bride who's working her To-Do list!" and then subtley and politely move on to the next one.
I agree with everything already said. I do not push, I allow people to come to me (and they do) I am picky about who I give my freebies to - 1 sample per person, unless they come back later and brag about how good it was... LOL.. then they get more.
Make friends with your neighbors - and I have made genuine friends with a couple of vendors and made my way onto the preferred vendor list of a very busy planner.
Be open, be honest and be real. Oh, and be prepared for your neighbors to lovingly hate you - the cake booth is always very busy and very clustered.
Don't steal carts, and remove your vehicle as soon as your done loading!! Biggest pet peeve!
Definitely introduce yourself to the other wedding cake vendors. Compliment them, etc. Its always great to have others in the industry as cohorts, or at least frenemies...
I try to make the rounds quite a few times during setup, during lulls (the fashion shows) etc to offer samples to other vendors, and take time to look at their products. Lately I've had quite a few brides who didn't even have a photog or florist picked out yet, and they're coming to ME, so its really good to have some people whom I can recommend as well.
I'm pretty generous with my samples- I encourage them to take whatever they want, and I always bring enough for that. Its funny how these brides always seem to know each other, so even if one is already booked, they may know another who isn't. Find a sanitary way of serving them, and don't offer slices that are too big, they will be thrown out and it will look bad, even if the brides were just full. And always have a garbage available, as well as hand sanitizer.
Yeah, and don't go out into the aisle and nab brides- leave that to the chiropractic people and the makeup sales people. (nothing against them, but that's what I've seen them do!) You'll be too busy to do that anyway, cake booths always are!
I agree, network with the other vendors before the show. Place your brochures and other literature in a couple places on your booth. Most shows provide one table per booth, but for a small fee usually $10 you can have a second table. If you have a freestanding photo display use it instead of photo albums which can only be seen by one potential client at a time. Dress appropriately but don't overdress in formal wear and wear comfortable shoes you will be standing for a long time. Offer samples, be polite, and smile. If at all possible have another person or two in the booth with you, preferable not a child but someone who could answer a cake question. But the busy bridal show is not the place to fully discuss what a customer wants. This is something that always happens, a bride will want to ask you dozens of questions and take up a lot of time, the potential clients behind her will get frustrated and walk away. You don't want things to bottleneck at your booth, you won't have time to talk to everyone. Thank her for stopping by and tell her you would love to talk to her more then hand her a card and/or brochure and tell her to call you.
And without fail you will get the lookers who aren't having a wedding, already have someone or folks off the street who just came to eat. Be prepared.
When it is over....change clothes and shoes and break it all down. It is a good idea to have your husband or someone come by and help you load it up.