Photography Credit: Tom Jeavons Photography
It’s Wedding Fair Season once again and, yet again, we see the same questions asked of couples by exhibiting wedding vendors. It’s time for a change!
What we see
A Wedding Fair can be so helpful for reaching potential couples who may book your services. They are best used as opportunities for “mini appointments” rather than simply lead generation – think of them like a snap-shot moment to gather information and sell your services.
What we see time, and time, and time again, are wedding vendors who simply stand (or worse, sit) behind a 6ft trestle table, with a white cloth laid over it, with a pull up banner (if we’re lucky) and some flyers somewhat haphazardly strewn across the table, hoping for someone to pass and pick up a leaflet. This is not the way to do a wedding fair.
How to make it better
- Say “no” to the trestle table: Think about new ways to engage your customers’ with visuals. Think height and styling.
- Step up & Step out: Your wedding fair stand is not supposed to be a barrier between you and the couples. Step up from behind your stand and step out to speak with the fair attendees.
- Be present: This is your opportunity to sell your products – get selling!
But what about what this blog post is all about. So, how exactly should you be interacting with the couples you meet?
What not to ask couples
We consistently see the same few questions being asked of couples as they walk past / up to stands at a wedding fair – let’s avoid these like the plague! Couples have heard it all before, they don’t open conversation and they also say something to the attendees – you are not really interested in them – you are only interested if they want to book you.
So, our top questions to avoid if you want to be successful at a wedding fair:
- Have you booked you xxx yet? Now this might seem like a fair question to ask couples, it essentially prequalifies the couple as to whether you should spend time with them or not. But put it this way, would they be looking at your stand, spending time there, if they had already booked a service like yours? They would move on quickly.
- Where are you getting married? / Have you picked your venue? A simple question but the main issue with this is that it is simply not an original question! If you are the last vendor in the route around the fair, they will have heard this question 20 times or more by that time. Frustrating, no?
- When’s your wedding? Again, not a bad question exactly, but it is a boring one. Get creative!
- Who’s the bride? Avoid this question, please, just stop asking it! There are so many reasons why this question is not a good choice but here is the main one – what if there is no bride?! You may have a man and a woman stood opposite you, but that does not mean that the bride is there – you could have a groom and his maid of honour in front of you planning his same-sex marriage ceremony. Think, inclusivity is key.
Photography Credit: Sally Rawlins Photography
What questions to ask the couples you meet
The key thing here is to be original. Think about the ways that you can engage interested parties in quality conversation which can provide you with information. It doesn’t actually matter what you talk about – you simply need to be memorable. So, with that in mind, here are some great opening questions to generate great conversation and allow you to open quality dialogue.
- Tell me about your wedding day. This is not technically a question but instead it is a prompt. We use prompts as they are more difficult to say “no” to and because they are more likely to elicit further information. This is a great opener when you know you have a couple who are somewhat interested in your services and you are sure on who the couple is.
- Who are the lucky couple? Instead of the “Who’s the bride?” question, this is a great alternative. It is inclusive, but best used in a group – don’t ask a couple standing without an entourage, it looks a bit odd!
- Are you here for yourself or for someone else? If you are really not sure, this is a good qualifying question. This does not make assumptions and allows you to adjust your questions according to the response. They say, “I’m here for my mum who’s getting married next year”. You can immediately switch your questioning away from “bride and groom” questions, towards being a family member or wedding party.
- What’s important to you about your day? Find out something key for them, ask them questions which are about their needs not yours.
- How did you get engaged? This is a great question for generating conversation – try and connect with both members of the couple so that you get some connection with both. This will be stronger for you when you come to following up.
- Go left field. This isn’t a question as such, but instead about considering the ways in which you can generate quality conversation. Being memorable. For example, if you are a chauffeur – rather than asking “How are you getting to the ceremony?” etc. to the bride. Why not ask the groom “How do you want to arrive to your ceremony?” It’s likely that he’s never thought about it before, but you can start a quality conversation about your services by redirecting your questions. Another example: A photographer “How do you want to feel on your wedding day?” This question would elicit an emotional response and generate quality connection. This allows you to gather more information and direct your sales pitch towards their needs.
- Don’t address your questions to one person alone. Think about the group, who is there, who can you interest, who wants to buy from you? The bride isn’t always the decision maker.
- Don’t look for who you think are the couple getting married. You might find that you have an older couple getting married with their 20-something aged kids helping them plan. Embarrassing to get that wrong, and likely to turn that couple off your services if you do.
- Have some forms to complete. And ask them to complete them! Just because you have forms available, doesn’t mean they will actually fill in the form. Prompt those couples you spend time chatting with to complete the form.
- Take notes. Once a couple have filled in a form, add a couple of notes from your conversation to help you remember them. Even little things, such as the fact they had their daughter with them, or their dog, or that they were going to have a dog carry the rings down the aisle. It doesn’t matter, just make sure you can write down at least one interesting thing about the couple that you observe or that you spoke about. You can then use this information to help you stand out in your email follow up.
- Run a competition. This is a great way to get lots of leads and quickly. Remember, a competition doesn’t mean giving away completely free services but a good offer can help you clinch some additional leads, and even sales. Those who don’t win, you can follow up with a call/email offering an exclusive discount. Just remember that a phone number is better for follow ups than an email as you are more likely to be able to convert that way.
Think about the ways that you can build discussion and a key exchange between you and the couples, you are better with a small selection of quality leads than lots of cold leads. Follow up promptly and convert those couples!