How Sal closes business at bridal shows
In the beginning, the conversation with brides is very loose; it’s mostly reading people. But the close is pretty structured.
Sal will say, “Ladies, mom, you have a big decision to make and with us, what you see is what you get. So, photographers can either make or break your day. If I’m already driving you nuts, I’m going to drive you nuts on your wedding day, right?” (normally that’s going to get some laughter)
“I’m a very type A personality. My job is to control your day, make sure we’re on schedule, and most importantly create great art like you’re seeing in my booth for your home. If photography’s important you, which it sounds like it is, I’m telling you, I would absolutely love to work with you guys, and I want to see you take advantage of the show special. So, here’s what’s involved. If you lock in today, it’s only a thousand dollar deposit. We don’t have to pick your package today, so that gives you time to go talk to your fiancé, talk to your parents, and we can pick your package later. The key is once you know you want to work with us, let’s secure the date and then we can always meet later to pick your actual album.”
Then shut the fuck up.
And then…shut the fuck up, because it’s in that moment that their body language and everything else is going to tell you what the bride or groom wants to do next.
They’re going to go, “Yeah, okay, that’s perfect. Let me think about it.” If Sal starts getting that response and he knows they’re almost there, he says, “Look, here’s what I want you to do. I want you to go through the rest of the show.” (sorry to any St. Louis photographers reading this) “I want you to go through the rest of this show. There are 30-something photographers here. If you see a photographer that you believe is better than me and speaks to you better than me, I’d go book that photographer because you’re not going to find anything better. This is the place. There’s plenty of photographers here. But if you go through this show and you don’t see anybody that you can imagine spending your entire day with and who’s going to do this for you…I want you to come back here so we can lock this in.” Then, Sal lets them go.
It’s counterintuitive. They don’t know what to do with it because every other vendor who’s there is like, “Book now! Sign now! Do it now.” Sal’s not taking that approach. He’s letting them walk away and if it’s meant to be, they’re going to come back.
It’s not some convoluted sales tactic. It’s just confidence in what he’s offering. It’s a low-pressure tactic, and it allows the potential client to figure out if they want to work with him. 8 out of 10 times they either don’t leave the booth, or if they do, Sal’s had people walk, 20 feet away, huddle up, talk to each other, turn right around and come back and say to him or Alissa, “I don’t know where we’re going, we know we’re going to hire Sal.” This is how Sal closes. You’ve got to ask for the business. That is the key.