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One of the largest mistakes a lot of vendors make when attending tradeshows or bridal shows is not following up with leads. I have done almost 2 dozen shows, and what I see all around me is people spending anywhere from $500 to $2400 and then not following up with leads that they get from the event. Yes, you have to be prepared, but in most cases the people who are at these events are doing research, or have not made up their minds. So you go there to inform and educate. And then once the show is done you have to be in contact with your potential purchasers.
Shows these days have leads sheets. Ask if you don’t get yours, and go to shows where they give you these leads without your having to purchase into them. The Lead Sheet is usually an Excel file with the contact information of people who register to be there. So even if your booth was too busy and the perfect client could not stop by to see you it’s your obligation to see if they would like to do business with you by your contacting them with the information they provided.
Don’t be disappointed if people don’t remember you after the event even if they are so glad your product is being presented and they stood in front of you for over half an hour. Most likely your marketing material has been thrown into a bag with 50 other vendors, and they have not gotten the courage to open that bag. Re explain yourself when you contact them, be patient as you go through your product pitch over the phone. A lot of people who come to these are highly intelligent, interested, but very busy people. The honest ones tell you right away that they are not interested in your service. The really enthusiastic ones schedule appointments with you.
Don’t forget to take a few bottles of your favorite non caffeinated, non alcoholic beverage with you. I like Gatorade or just plain water. Talking to over 400 people in the course of 3 hours will get your voice very tired. And you need to hydrate to keep yourself focused and alert.
The price for being at the tradeshow or bridal event is not a waste of money if you have a strong desire to market your service. Think of it as creating awareness for your product. Speak to your competition and make friends with people around your booth. If you are at a Bridal Show, there will probably be downtime when the fashion show starts. During this time review your contacts and stay focused for that last rush of people as they begin to leave.
Lastly, put yourself on the email lists for the show as if you are an attendee bride. You will be surprised at how few people market to these Lead Lists. If you actually do market and keep in constant contact, you may land a friend who could not make it or be there when all of your competition is thinking of not attending one of these because they can’t see the benefits.
Ask for the total attendee average, and take about 15% of that amount of marketing material with you. For a thousand person show you will give out on the average about 150 pieces of your material. I am a web developer selling online video, and I don’t rely strictly on black and white matte paper. I use glossy double sided postcards, these are less than $100 for 5 thousand online at ebay. I also give out miniDVDs which can be viewed on a DVD player, Mac, and PC. You have to stand out from your competition in order to be recalled later.