A number of people have emailed, twitter‘ed, facebook‘ed me about bridal shows. All of the messages were about the same.

I don’t want to be another business card or brochure that they’ll never see when they get home. How can I be different? If there was one thing, what would it be? And…I don’t have a big budget.

To be different with no budget is not going to be an easy task. However, there is a way. I’m not going to lie though – I have never done a bridal show. However, I did attend one with a friend before. And I do have some experience in trade shows.

Gate Keeper

The strategy I am going to discuss is “Gate Keeper,” which is the barrier to entry. It’s part of the decision making process for a purchase. And this strategy can be applied in other areas outside of bridal shows.

Example 1 – I first saw this concept in a movie (pity because I don’t remember the name), but it would hit the nail on the head.

The protagonist opened a new club. He wanted it to be the hottest club in town. So he had a lot of club promoters talk about it everywhere. On the opening night, he had a DJ play music like normally. The outside walls of the club were decorated with a string of people.

long lines

Throughout the evening, the decoration grew longer and longer. Celebrities even came by in their flashy cars, but were not granted entry. In fact, no one was granted entry. You can imagine that a lot of people were pissed, but it became the hottest club in town.

Example 2 – Sex and the City – S01E05 – The Power of Female Sex

Similar scenario except that it was with a restaurant.

Example 3 – my trade show booth at WPPI

Considering that I’m not a hot celebrity or that I did not have free bags or money to give away, I think I did pretty well. I judged it based on two things.

  1. The length of my line (which ceased to dwindle)
  2. The number of people I’ve never met before (and vice versa)

The latter was rather valuable in my analysis. People lined up for a minimum of 40 minutes just to talk to me about business strategies and many times never having even heard of me before that day. I did, however, have Nintendo for people to play with just as how Lady Gaga gives pizza and bottled water for her “Little Monsters” while in queue.

Your Bridal Show

So if you’re going to have a bridal show and have little to no budget, get some stanchions and create a line for people to have a consultation. Genuinely be there to help the bride though. And here’s the key – take your time.

I already know that some of you will think, “but Lawrence! What about the people who don’t want to wait in line? We might lose their business.” Well, let’s just assume that they weren’t your business in the first place.

You could do two things.

  1. Spread yourself thin and leave zero impression with 1,000 brides (with pamphlets and business cards).
  2. Leave a super strong impression with the 70 brides that you can talk to in one day. And maybe even book a number of them.

I know that it sounds unorthodox – to expose yourself to a minimal number of people and making it as difficult as possible for people to speak to you. Just remember that you’re worth it.

What I want you to do now…

  • If you found this post useful, share via Retweet or Facebook buttons below!
  • Comment other ways you might stand apart in bridal shows (or in business).

Your buddy,

Lawrence Chan

P.S. Here’s one more tip – treat it as a fun project. Don’t treat it as if you need the business; and bookings just might come your way.

P.P.S. I loathe shoes with laces because there’s a chance for it to touch a public restroom’s floor, but I love Converse shoes. The dilemma.