Saturday, December 24, 2011

Small Business Idea #649: Top 10 Secrets of Profitable Wedding Fairs

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Small Business Ideas and OpportunitiesBy Claire Dobinson

Top 10 Secrets to Making Wedding Fairs Work


The good, (or bad thing, depending on how you look at it) about wedding fairs is that they are incredibly unpredictable. You never know how many people are going to show up and of the ones that do you never know how many brides are going to be in that all important buying mood! Because of this element of doubt you need to approach every wedding fair as though it was your very first – pack the car the night before, take care when setting up, get there in plenty of time and stay right to the very end! Not only that but try and approach every person that comes by with the same enthusiasm, after all you never know which person is going to give you a really huge order!!

Body Language

When I walk around wedding fairs I am always horrified at how many people are actually repelling clients with their body language! If you are standing or sitting with your arms and legs crossed you are making a subconscious barrier between you and potential clients, and if you sit behind a table then you are pretty much telling people to walk on past.
So, think about what you’re saying with your body language – don’t play with your phone, don’t eat your sandwiches, stand in front and to the side of your stand with open, welcoming postures.

Engage with people

How do you engage the brides at wedding fairs? Whats your opening line? Do you go for the most common opener of “Have you booked your photographer (insert anything else) yet? The bride answers no and they carry on walking right? Or do you go for the ‘when are you getting married line?” Both are disasters pretty much – you must start with an opening line that makes them say yes and makes them realise what you can do for them. When it comes to marketing you always have to put yourself in the position of the customer and answer the question “whats in it for me” So make sure you get them saying Yes right from the start and don’t just tell them you’re a photographer, tell them what your photography can do to enhance their day and how it can make it even more perfect.

Generate leads

What is the purpose of attending the wedding fair for you? Are you expecting to take bookings on the day, or just give out leaflets? If you don’t think about your goal for the day you will end up achieving nothing at all! Depending on the value of your service you should really be looking for leads only, and the more expensive your service is then this is even more likely. Gather leads of interested brides, and then you can put your conversion strategies in motion and change these into paying customers, this will make your wedding fairs much more profitable and feel much less like a full on day of sell, sell, sell which is always a turn-off for brides.

Registration List

Most wedding fairs require the bride to register on entry and this list is past on to the supplier, until you really have your wedding fair skills well-honed I would avoid spending money on fairs where this doesn’t happen! It always amazes me how many suppliers don’t actually do anything with this registration list, but this really is a very valuable bit of information. If you have addresses then make sure you mail all the brides, don’t just send them your brochure, they probably picked this up anyway, do something different such as send them a hand-written note. If you have email addresses then send a nice, personal email (by personal I’m not expecting you to write each one individually but use their name and make the tone personal) Also, if you have phone numbers use them!!!

Follow up

Following on from what you did with the previous step, you now need to contact people again! Oh no I hear you cry! Well once I tell you that it takes on average seven contacts before someone will do business with you then you’ll see why you have to keep going! The types of contact can be varied, after all you’ve met them at the Wedding fair, (that’s once) you’ve contacted them (that’s twice) so you need to keep the contact up, you can do this by sending newsletters, telling them about blogs etc but keep up the contact.
You will be amazed when I tell you that most people give up after asking for the deal once, and it trails off each time contact is needed to such an extent that by the time you’ve made those 7 contacts you’ll be one of the few people still contacting them, which mean YOU and not your competition will get the business! Keep in mind that only 2% of business is done on the initial meeting!!! 2%!!! So if you are relying on business from initial meetings you are losing out on MASSIVE potential sales!

If you can sell something do…

One way of making your day immediately profitable is to sell something on the day. You may think this difficult if you are a florist or photographer but use a bit of ingenuity and imagination. You are an expert in your field, how bout put your knowledge down on paper? If you are a photographer you could put a nice little book together that tells people how to get the most from their wedding photos – not only will they be able to see that you are an expert but when they come to book, if they’ve bought it then they are most likely to book you! You can self-publish small books very easily online from companies such as

Look professional/appropriate

When at a wedding fair you should treat it as though you are just about to meet your most valuable client, don’t turn up in your scruffiest jeans and t short just because its what you usually wear on a Sunday, make an effort and the people you see will see you as the professional that you are.

Advertise where you’ll be

Make sure you let people know when you are going to be doing a wedding fair. Keep a list of the ones you’ll be attending and if people like your work they will look out for you and come and see you. Also advertise the wedding fair as much as you can using your twitter account, Facebook and any other local marketing you are doing. The more people that see you out and about the more you can gather their information and the more likely you are to convert them into paying customers.


When at wedding fairs there will be the inevitable down-time at the end of the afternoon and whilst fashion shows are going on. Use this time wisely and go round your fellow exhibitors to not only look at their stands to see if you can pick up any tips but also to chat and network with them. Try not to think of your competition as a direct threat but more like people you can swap ideas with, someone you can pass referrals too, and someone you can form alliances and affiliates with. Use the same philosophy as you do with your customers and let them know ‘whats in it for me’ People will be happy to send you referrals and network with you if they think their customers are going to get added value through this relationship.

Claire Dobinson

Boots Farm
Manea Road
PE15 0PE

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