On the weekend, I was an exhibitor at a Wedding Expo, it was an enjoyable experience because I like talking to couples about their wedding plans. I also found it an interesting opportunity to observe people looking at the exhibits and interacting with the exhibitors. From these observations, I am sure that some people got a great deal more benefit from the expo than others. So…..what did they do to get the benefits?
Firstly, they took their time. They looked at the exhibits, talked to the exhibitors and asked questions. By doing this they could judge the value of a product rather than just the price, they got an insight into what it would be like to deal with the supplier and may have collected useful tips about the product. That is so much more than you can find by picking up a brochure.
Secondly, they looked at ALL of the exhibits. At any expo I always get people who walk straight past our exhibit and if approached will quickly reply “I’ve already booked my photographer”. Others will stop and look even though they have already booked, and they will often pick up ideas about a location, flowers, cakes, venues or other parts of the wedding from the photos in the display. So, view the displays as a source of inspiration as well as a prospective supplier.
Thirdly, they make notes. Especially at a large expo, you will see lots of exhibitors, you will collect lots of brochures and you will probably receive lots of follow up information and contacts. Take a notebook, record your ideas and thoughts, even take a photo of some things, this will make it a lot easier to sort through the information and remember which supplier was the one you liked.
The last tip that I gained from my observations is don’t take anyone who doesn’t want to be there (if you can avoid it). Having someone with you to use as a second pair of eyes and a sounding post is great, but dragging children, friends or relatives around the expo if they don’t want to be there will not help you at all.