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Home Show Season Is Almost Here!

Want More Visitors In Your Booth? Use A “Big Bill” Like This One And Stop People In Their Tracks…

Want More Visitors In Your Booth? Use A “Big Bill” Like This One And Stop People In Their Tracks…

Want More Visitors In Your Booth? Use A “Big Bill” Like This One To Stop People In Their Tracks And Get More Home Improvement Leads & Appointments…

Attract More People Into Your Booth. Get More Appointments.
Make Follow-Up A Snap. Read These Tips!

Marketing Quick Tips: Home Shows

By Rich Harshaw

This article is part of Monopolize Your Marketplace’s ongoing “Marketing Quick Tips” series. This information is not meant to be comprehensive; it’s simply meant to give you some quick ideas on the topic..

Home show season is right around the corner… so it’s time to get your home show ducks in a row RIGHT NOW. As you ponder the best ways to maximize home show leads and revenue, consider these tips:

Tip 1: Is It Even Worth Your Time? Remember the good old days when there was one main show that came to town every year that attracted more attendees than you knew what to do with? Now most cities have multiple shows at different times of the year—and fragmented attendance. The last thing you want to do is pay a ton of money, staff up, then sit around twiddling your thumbs for three days.

So do a little bit of intelligence work. It’s pretty simple: contact the show organizer and ask them for references from last year’s show that you can call, then actually do your due diligence. Call at least five companies and ask them how many years they’ve attended, what the attendance patterns have been in recent years (Up? Down? Steady?), how last year’s show was, how responsive the attendees were, and whether or not they’re going back. Those questions should loosen the lips, so to speak, and you should be able to gather a wealth of information.

If the organizer won’t give you information on previous attendees, you can often find them by searching on their website—frequently the information from last year isn’t updated until just before this year’s show. Of course, if they won’t give you the info, that’s just weird—and a really bad sign.

Tip 2: Location, Location, Location: If you do show up, booth location can make or break your show. Try to get a booth as close to the front as possible, and as close to the center as possible. This can get a bit tricky, because home show attendees will frequently come in and automatically turn to the left or the right and start on one of the sides, grocery store style. This makes booths on the side a gamble—if you end up on the side where somebody STARTS walking, you’ll grab them while they’re still fresh. But if you’re on the other side, they may never make it to you. Middle is better—some people plow right down the middle anyway, and even if they start on one side, most people won’t give up before making it back to the middle.

If possible, position your booth close to one of those huge booths from a national company that attracts a lot of attention. Other locations to consider include near food, near beer, and near bathrooms. You want to avoid that row of booths that always seems to be tucked somewhere near the back that is occupied by small-time players who can’t afford real backdrops who collectively scream “Rinky Dink Alley!”

Should you pay extra for premium booth location? In most cases the answer is YES. And generally speaking, you can accurately judge a booth’s value by simply looking at the pricing matrix; trust me, these organizers know which booths are worth the most money, and they’re going to charge accordingly. Just like any other advertising media, position does matter—put some thought (and wallet) into this decision.

Tip 3: Identity Integration: Your booth should give even casual passersby a good indication of your company’s identity—a powerful, precise, and passionate articulation of who you are, why you’re different and better, and what people can expect when doing business with you. Then I strongly recommend professionally designed, high quality tension fabric backdrops and pop-up banners with strong headlines that grab prospects and draw them in. Here are a few examples:


Tip 4: Use A Home Show Giveaway: Notice the giveaway banners in the examples above. Giveaways are a great way to engage and interact with people at the show—and they give you an excuse to follow up with them on the back-end of the show. A few points about this strategy:

  • First of all, it’s a “giveaway,” not a sweepstakes. Sweepstakes sounds like some giant, nebulous contest that no real human will actually win. A giveaway sounds more winnable, especially when you write “Guaranteed Local Winners” right there on the banner.
  • Make the amount big enough that it’s worth the trouble to enter. Nobody’s going to pay attention to a $150 Kitchen Remodeling Giveaway! The giveaway will only cost you about half of the face value (depending on your margins), and can be allocated to your contractor marketing budget.
  • Have pre-printed forms like the one below for people to sign up.


Tip 5: Use A Big Bill: One of the biggest problems you’ll have at a contractor home show is just getting people to pay attention to you. Lots of companies use lame handouts like candy, pens, rulers, and the like to “entice” people into the booth. The best tool I know is what I call the “Big Bill.” Simply put, it’s an oversized dollar bill that’s Photoshopped into a denomination that’s consistent with your giveaway amount. So if you have a $10,000 giveaway, create a $10,000 bill. The opposite side should have your company’s Identity information and an offer consistent with the giveaway.

The Big Bill gives you a huge tactical advantage at the show; all you have to do is extend it into somebody’s field of vision and say, “Hey, I’d like to give you $10,000!” Their urge to grab it and look at it is practically overwhelming… and when they grab it, you’ve got them like a fish on a lure. You will be SHOCKED at how effective this seemingly silly little tool is at landing prospects. Once you get them engaged, use qualification questions to test them for interest and urgency:

Tip 6: Ask Qualification Questions: These are just a simple progression of six to ten questions you ask the prospect to check for interest and urgency. Or in other words, if you ask them two or three questions and give short, rushed answers as they start edging away from you like they want to leave, that’s a pretty good indicator that they’re not interested. On the other hand, if they become engaged in the conversation, that tells you something as well. The questions should always start general, and work toward more specific; they should also be asked in non-committal language so you don’t put the prospect on the defensive (example: How long have you been thinking about replacing your windows… vs. When are you going to replace your windows?).

Here’s an example of some qualification questions you could ask if you sold windows:

  • How old is you home?
  • Are the windows original to the home?
  • Is there anything, specifically, that bothers you about your windows?
  • Do you think your energy bills are too high?
  • Do you get drafts?
  • Have you here at the show actively looking for windows, or are you just browsing?
  • Do you have any idea how to tell good windows from bad ones?
  • How long have you been thinking about a project like this?
  • Have you ever gotten a bid?

Like that.

Tip 7: Set Appointments On The Spot: If you find interested people, you should attempt to set appointments on the spot. This might sound like “no duh” advice, but you might be surprised how many contractors settle for home show “leads” and don’t ask for appointments. You may want to offer “show specials” or incentives to people who set on the spot… after all, if they do commit to an appointment, you’ve effectively taken that prospect off the market, so to speak, to a certain extent. With easy access to online scheduling software, there’s no excuse for not doing this.

Tip 8: Follow Up! Last tip is to actually follow up with the home improvement leads you get from the show. Most companies are pretty good at following up with hot leads, but fail miserably when it comes to the “shoebox full” of other leads. But if you were paying attention above, you now have an easy way to follow up—the giveaway. Here’s how it works:

  • Sort out all the hottest home improvement (or construction or roofing…) leads that either set appointments or indicated that they wanted to set appointments.
  • For the rest, call them on the phone and say something like, “We haven’t drawn our grand prize winner yet, but we have drawn several first prize winners, and I’m calling to let you know that you’ve won!”
  • The prize should be a gift card for your company that’s worth some fraction of the Grand Prize—maybe $200 to $500.
  • When you tell them they’re a winner, they’ll quit trying to focus on ways to get you off their phone and start focusing on the fact that they just won something! (See, Local Winners WERE actually guaranteed!)
  • Once you confirm their address and tell them you’ll be sending the gift card, say, “I noticed here on the form that you said if you win the Grand Prize, you’d use it for Windows.”
  • Ask them qualification questions about that service. You’re testing for interest and urgency; if detected, offer to double the First Prize gift card amount if they set an appointments right then.
  • Go to their house and close like crazy.

I’ve seen companies using these strategies double, triple, and even more their number of leads, appointments and sales from home shows. All it takes is a bit of focus, a little preparation, and a determination to follow through and make it work. Happy Home Showing!

Offer: $1,000 Off Monopolize Your Marketplace’s Home Show Package: We can create all of the home show items listed in this article—and more—for you with our Home Show Package. It includes the design and creation (but not the production) of:

  • 8’ x 10’ Identity-Based Backdrop
  • 1 Giveaway-Based Popup Banner
  • 1 Identity-Based Popup Banner
  • Big Bill (with Identity on Back)
  • Sign-Up Sheet
  • Gift Cards
  • Qualification Questions and Show Scripting
  • Follow Up Letter and Phone Scripting

Fill out the form below and we’ll contact you to discuss!

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© 2014 – 2016, Rich Harshaw. All rights reserved.

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