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Three Keys to Winter Home Show Success

As soon as we think the busy summer building season is behind us and it’s time to slow down just a bit, the winter home shows are upon us. I have found that winter home shows can either be a huge success or a major waste of time and resources. Below are three keys to making this year’s home show tour a big success for you and your team.

Keep in mind that a good show experience can take months to prepare. By now, you should have already considered your literature for your booth. Make sure it is clearly marked with your company’s name and logo.

You should also make sure that your company’s name and what your company does appears very clearly on the trade show booth itself. Don’t assume that just because the show organizers leave a small sign above your booth, that visitors will know who you are. As a deck dealer, in my case, I want that booth to scream, “I sell decks.”

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Also prepare yourself and your coworkers for the trade show. Make sure you’re all properly groomed, approachable, and in the right attitude to greet potential customers. Make sure that all of your shirts identify both your personal names and business names and logos. Everyone attending the show should know the product information inside and out. No one should ever have to say, “I’ll look that up and get back to you.”

Perhaps the most important thing you can do in preparation for any home show is to figure out how much it costs you to be there. Here’s what you need to do: Take all the costs for booth rental, literature printing, travel, parking fees, food expenses—every last cost—and add them together. Then add up how many hours you’ll be at the show. Then break it down by how many minutes. Now, divide the total costs by the expense. Shocked? You should be. Suddenly it’s clear exactly how important your time is at the show. With that figure in mind, you’ll see how valuable a qualified lead really is.

Here’s something a lot of exhibitors at trade shows miss: It’s not how many contacts you get that matters. What is important is how qualified the leads are that you bring back to your office.

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Too many folks at these shows make sure they show up with some kind of popular giveaway so that they can show their boss how many names they collected. But if you’re giving away tickets to a baseball game to get everyone at the show to visit your booth, all you’re coming home with is a list of people who like baseball. How does that help your business?

I like to visit with as many people as possible at our booth, and quickly determine which ones are in our target market and then focus on those for more in-depth conversations. Don’t spend too much time talking to unqualified leads while other, more qualified leads walk right by.

For every qualified lead I identify, I ask them to fill out a small card that asks for their name and address. We collect this information so that we can send them an envelope, and we tell them this. “We’re going to send you a large white envelope full of literature so that after the show you’ll remember who we are.”

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