The Bridal Show:

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2009 bridal show booth The Bridal Show:

by Gavin Seim: This weekend I had a booth at the Wenatchee Bridal Show. The confession I have to make is this. While I was happy with my setup and received great feedback, I ran into my typical problem. I was not a good enough salesman.

Now those of you that listen to Pro Photo Show know that I’m not a shy person. It’s as if like I sit in my booth making weird sounds as I flick my lip with an index finger making that interesting “buh buh buh” sound. Nope, I do fine interacting with people and being professional. Until it’s time to seal the sale that is.

I tend to back off when if comes to asking somone to book, or meet later for a consultation. The nudging them into pulling out the checkbook is where I start to shiver. I hate hard sell, and am always concerned that I’ll come off that way. So instead of finding balance I often end up actually avoiding selling myself as I should. This my friends is not a good thing.

  1. Be energetic
  2. Be interested
  3. Be confident
  4. Ask questions first
  5. Set up a meeting or book em

I do fine until about number three. Then I back off thinking “their going to feel that I’m pushing” Sure my wedding schedule is still filling up, but I look back on how well I sold and realize I got an F, or at best a D. Whatever type of photography we sell we need to remember that while we’re photographers, we’re also salespeople. I don’t want to be the pushy car salesman. I’m saying I need balance.

In retrospect I realize that if a person is looking for a photographer, they want to be sold to. Why should I not try to convince them to buy from me. There’s no good reason. That’s why I’m writing this. I want us all to think about and share how we work with our clients. Are you pushy? Are you too pushy? Are you lacking confidence? We all have oure weakness. Like I said, balance is key. I intend to seek out that balance and do better next time.

Continuing the topic of bridal shows, check out this recent Camera Dojo podcast for some good thoughts on wedding shows. Also here’s a PPS wedding show episode I recorded with DZ in 2007… Gav

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  • Kerry Garrison

    Thanks for the link Gavin. It is absolutely about balance but what David and I have both found is that you will do FAR better at least booking the meeting at the show. They have come there to find you, so book the meeting. I know some people say they book jobs on the spot but I have never seen it happen so we decided to not even try. We have a very high close rate so getting that meeting almost as good as booking the wedding for us. We are 4 for 4 from the last show with 3 more meetings this week. As for the meeting, that’s why you are there.

  • Roxanne Crouse

    I’m with you Gavin. I don’t like to be pushy either. If they walk up I always try to get in the info I think they should know about me and my photography before they leave but I don’t try to push a consult on them. I think it helps to plant a seed that in time will grow and they will be back. Some people are just there to see whats out there and win free stuff and aren’t interested in buying yet. If someone seems really interested and are asking the right questions I will ask if they want to set up a consult and in some rare cases i’ve even booked a wedding at the show. I just booked a couple about a week ago who said they met me at a bridal show 2 years ago so I don’t worry about it if they don’t book right away. I send out helpful planning information every week and postcards every month to the show mailing list to demonstrate that I am an expert and it keeps me in their minds.

  • Mark M Wingert

    I am thinking about hiring someone that is just great at the selling since that is not the part I love. Then I can concentrate on my photos and talking about photography and such.

  • Eugene

    I have one coming up in a week. This helped a lot! :-)
    Will try not to be too pushy, I’m like the opposite of pushy – need to work on that.