Vendor To-Do List
3-6 months before the Social
- Commit to a vendor spot. Pay fee and submit contract to secure your participation.
- Have a goal. Although there are many benefits of attending a social, you need a primary goal. A goal helps you make the decisions below.
- Collaborate with one other vendor
- Create one "trend-setting" idea you wish you could sell to brides and/or grooms
- Ask potential clients 3 specific things (market research)
- Decide on your main message. Just like your home page, you get 3 seconds to convince someone to stop at your booth. You’ll need this message elsewhere (e.g. marketing materials) so you need to decide what it is early on. Remember the goal is to get people to stop, not to explain everything about who you are and what you do! Boil it down to a single, short sentence.
- Design your marketing materials. Printing takes longer than you think and you may need to make corrections to the printing if the colors are off or you notice a spelling errors etc.
- Consider bringing a partner. You may need two people at the booth to allow for busy times, to restock items, and to take breaks.
- Decide how your booth will be different. Attendees will see many booths, all essentially identical. You have to do something different - your participation in the show will help make you stand out. It doesn’t have to be amazingly unique, just different and representative of you.
- Buy swag. With customization (i.e. your logo on a shirt), it can sometimes take a while, so get this done early.
- Promote the show. You want people showing up. Add a line to everyone’s email signature with the social informoation. If you have a giveaway or something else interesting, say that too.
- Box of everything. I can’t tell you how many times we’ve been saved by a box of stuff. A small, cheap plastic box from Walmart is fine. You won’t use all the stuff every time, but I guarantee you will use an unpredictable subset every time. The box should contain:
- pens (multiple, different colors)
- Scotch tape
- masking tape
- extension cord
- electric plug bar
- post-it notes
- rubber bands
- tiny stapler
- paper clips
- all-in-one tool (screwdriver, can opener)
- medicine (Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, DayQuil)
- Generic business cards (in case anyone runs out)
- Comfortable shoes. You’ll be standing for much longer than you’re used to; comfortable shoes are a must.
- Ask questions instead of pitching. Everyone else “pitches at” people; be different and actually have a conversation. Good conversationalists are genuinely interested in the other person — what do they do, what are they interested in, when is their wedding date. If you start chatting they will actually ask you for a pitch as a form of reciprocation. Then you’ve got permission to “sell,” and they’re truly listening.
- Don’t ask how they’re doing. Your opening line should engage them with something you specifically have to offer. “Hello, how’s it going” is not interesting or unique. Even just a simple “Are you interested in [thing you do]” is better, although still weak.
- Ask questions, don’t just transmit. Sure you want to pitch your stuff, but this is a fantastic opportunity for direct market research on your potential customers! Come up with 3-5 questions that you’re going to ask of people who walk by the booth, then ask away. No need to carefully record the results — the big trends will be obvious and the rest is noise.
- Stand, don’t sit. Sitting looks like you don’t want to be there. It’s uninviting. The head-height differential is psychologically off-putting. I know your feet hurt; stand.
- Get into the aisle. Just because there’s a table there doesn’t mean you have to stand behind it.
- Make notes. You’ll talk to lots of people; they will all start to look the same. Jot down some notes to jog your memory if you really want to follow up with someone.
- Don’t depend on the Internet. Internet is spotty at best and not guaranteed for the social. Your demos and note-taking must operate without being online.
- Talk to everyone. Vendors, attendees, looky-lous -- everyone
- Free food. Works better than almost any other free thing. The more “real” the food is (i.e. not just candy) the better. Cookies are good. Put it at the center of your booth so it’s harder for someone to take without talking.
- Quality not quantity. It’s cliché, but it’s better to have six solid conversations with people who will buy your product or service than to give away 200 pieces of branded swag to people who can’t remember who you are.
- Follow up! Attendees are saturated with presentations and vendor pitches, so there’s a 99% chance they’ve forgotten about you. Yes, even if they took your oh-so-memorable swag or your fabulously-designed brochure. It’s up to you to follow up and remind them who you were.
- Apply what you learned about selling. You talked to lots of people, pitching a hundred different ways, with mixed results. What did you learn? Some questions to get you started:
- Which one-liners got people’s attention, and what did people not relate to?
- How can you incorporate the successful one-liners in your home page?
- What were people saying about your competition? What were your best retorts?
- Apply what you learned about your product or service.
- What products or services did people ask about which you already have, but it wasn’t obvious?
- What products or services did people keep asking for which you don’t have?
- What terminology made no sense to newbies?
- What did people hate about your competitors, and how can you maintain that advantage?
- What did people love about your competitors, and how can you close that gap?
Day of the Show: What to Bring
(other than the product and/or service you will be providing for the show)
To showcase your product, service or venue
___TV or Computer (for slideshow)
___large sign with name & logo (No banners.)
___business cards & holder
Other booth décor possibilities:
___theme specific or business specific decor
If not provided by the event, you'll also need:
___possibly a table covering
If you're new to the world of wedding shows, here's what to expect:
some people LOVE to talk, and some people won't talk to you at all :)
wear comfy shoes, it will be a long day
get ready to be really friendly!
Some of the attendees are brides and grooms but there are also a LOT of their family, their friends, wannabe engaged girls, aspiring wedding vendors and random looky lous.... so don't assume that you have to sell yourself to everyone who wanders by your booth. Just remember to be yourself and get to know the brides & grooms first to see if you're a good fit.