Investing your time and money in operating a vendor booth at a bridal fair or other event is no small commitment for a photographer. By following a few best practices for exhibiting, you can effectively position your business for success at each show.
Attend the show personally.
Perhaps this seems like a common sense recommendation, but it’s important enough to state—you need to personally be at your booth! You can always bring along an assistant to interact with potential clients, but your presence is crucial.
Why? Because when a bride hires a bakery, they’re most likely basing their decision on the selection of cakes. When a client hires a photographer, they’re considering both the work product and the personality of the photographer. They hire someone with whom they connect, and who will make them feel comfortable in front of the camera.
If clients don’t meet with you at the show, you miss the opportunity to form that connection and demonstrate how well you could work together.
Align your booth to your brand.
Your business’s branding should represent you and your personality. It should be reflected throughout all of your vendor booth signage and décor to maintain consistency and to show passersby your personal style at a glance. Once again, potential clients are looking for someone who fits with their style—putting your brand on display can help them to make their decision.
Display high-quality products.
In addition to showing off your brand, everything you display in your booth should demonstrate the level of quality clients should expect from your work. Every banner, brochure, and gallery wrap should be a high-quality product that you would be happy presenting to your clients.
Qualify visitors early on in the conversation.
If you’re working at a major fair, you’re likely to have hundreds of potential clients roaming the vendor booths—as well as quite a few attendees who would not be a good fit for your business. Perhaps this is because you already have their wedding date booked on your calendar, or because they’re looking for a very particular style that doesn’t mesh well with yours.
It’s perfectly acceptable to politely qualify booth visitors to determine if they’re a good fit from the beginning. Ask a few questions (people love to be asked questions!) before providing all of your information; you can save both you and the other person valuable time in doing so.
Practice your elevator pitch.
If you ask these qualifying questions and determine the person to be a potential client for your business, move on to your pitch! You should be able to tell potential clients what makes your business unique in 30 seconds or less; your displayed work will speak for itself.
Focus on how you make your clients feel and what value you provide to them, particularly what sets you apart from your competitors.
Practice this mini-speech before the day of the show! Feedback from your family and friends can help you to craft the perfect pitch.
Have something physically printed to hand out.
Whether it’s a brochure or an elaborate print product you’ve created just for events, have something on hand to send home with potential clients. Offering something tangible (and high-quality) will help them to remember you after they’ve visited dozens of booths.
Don’t forget the business cards!
If the traditional business card seems a bit stiff for your business, get creative! Create a mobile business card with StickyAlbums with your information and photos of your best work. You can also include a special within the app to entice them to book with you if you don’t anticipate commitments on the day of the show.
Focus on lead generation.
Even if you don’t sign contracts with potential clients at the show itself, you can stay on their radar and schedule consultations with them in the days following. To do this, you need to focus on leads—contact information from those identified as potential clients.
Some vendors choose to host a contest at their booth, with contact info required to enter. If you are giving away something valuable to your target clients—particularly if they don’t have to book with you to take advantage of the giveaway—this can work really well!
With the StickyAlbums Promotions feature, you can collect contact information from within your mobile business card app. This is a wonderful way to engage with potential clients at your booth, as they can download your app and submit their contact info to enter a contest right from their mobile devices.
Don’t stop working when you pack up the booth.
If you’ve laid the groundwork on the day of the show, you have plenty more to do in the days following! You should have a valuable list of leads to follow up with; be sure to take advantage of it.
We would suggest you create a special email thanking booth visitors for stopping by and talking with you, and providing a call to action. You may opt to include a special for booking within the week following the show, or for setting up a consultation with you for further discussion. The important aspect is making that connection post-show; many of the vendors they spoke with won’t take this next step.
We want to hear from you! Have you tried these tips and found them to work well? Are there other ways you’ve interacted with potential clients in your booth that have proven successful? Share your tried-and-true tips (or your questions!) with us on Facebook.