Home shows done right

by rheselbarth@solagroup.com

Remodelers looking for more business might consider exhibiting at a trade show or event, which can be a good way to generate leads, but only if it’s done properly. Doing a trade show correctly can turn a business around, but it can also sink it. Let’s take a look at the wrong way to exhibit at an event. 

To begin, we take a walk through the average home show and eavesdrop. Sometimes we see booths in which a table is at the very edge of the booth and the exhibitor is sitting behind the table waiting for something to happen. In other booths we  observe two or three people there for the purpose of attracting leads, but not doing so. Some of these people are sitting on bar stools smiling and looking at the crowd making statements to passersby such as, “Are you enjoying the show?”  or  “How are you today?” Sometimes these same people are standing closer to the edge of their booth handing out literature (check out the nearby trash can to see how this tactic works).


As we move further into the show floor we see a booth with two representatives, one of whom is on a cell phone. Further on we see two people in a booth where one is available to talk to passersby, and the other is eating lunch or working on an iPad. One exhibitor is a contractor dressed in jeans and dirty boots. He wears the faded jeans containing several ragged holes. In several cases people are standing in their booths gazing skyward or looking over the crowd, also waiting for something to happen. Scenes like these  are not isolated circumstances; they happen frequently and should be avoided.

A look at the bright side

 Much better experiences happen when we observed booths in which numerous attendees are interacting with booth personnel who are in uniform dress featuring a company theme. These booths are well-lit, contain graphics which attract the eye of passersby, and are structured for and administered by promoters who are trained to get their maximize the money invested in exposure at trade shows.

 The following rules are designed to make marketing at a trade show a profitable experience.

Do this at trade shows

1) Win the battle of the first impression by making sure nothing in the booth looks weathered and worn.

2) Have the right tools inclouding pictures, samples, uniform dress, lead cards, appointment reminders and phrases which capture the interest of passing attendees.

3) Create scripted language for booth personnel and avoid questions or statements to attendees such as asking about the weather, “How are you doing?” or “Are you enjoying the show?”

4) Control the conversation, otherwise promoters will say too much or too little, and possibly  the wrong thing.

5) Teach conversation openers and “follow-through” language using the examples below.

6) Create sensible booth shifts of 4 to 6 hours maximum with breaks. Shifts should  not be 8 to 10 hour in length.

7) Calculate fully-loaded costs, often which are more than you might think.

What not to do at trade shows

1) No chairs, bar stools, food or drinks in the booth.

2) No books, magazines, personal phone calls, texting or Facebook.

3) No ripped blue jeans, wrinkled khakis, soiled or muddy boots.

4) Avoid personal conversations and activity with other vendors.

5) Don’t use sales reps: They will contaminate the lead-gathering process. Instead, train promoters with scripts.

6) Don’t allow promoters to work alone; At least two people must work a shift.

7) Don’t undersize or overfill your booth; Maintain an open, uncluttered look.

Following are examples of conversation openers and follow-throughs your booth personnel should know before the show begins:

“Sir/Ma’am, if you were to improve your kitchen, what would be the first thing you would do?”

 “What one thing do you dislike most about your bathroom?”

 “If you could change one thing about your windows, siding, deck, what would it be?”

 “How long have you been unhappy with or had a problems with…?”

 “What has kept you from making the improvement sooner?”

 “XYZ Home Iimprovement now has more ways to update your… than ever before.”

 “We can have a trained advisor take a look at what you need and want to have done to be sure that it can be done the way you want it.”

 “There’s no cost for the inspection and design ideas.”

 “We are now scheduling appointments. When  would be best for a visit?” 

Joe Talmon is an account executive with Dave Yoho Associates. His background includes 26 years with in-home sales and sales management. Talmon has developed programs for large and smal home improvement companies selling directly to homeowners. He is considered the leading expert on the subject of successful/profitable shows and events (have him at yours). Contact Joe Talmon at admin@daveyoho.com. QR



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