What a marketing opportunity! Home Builder Association Shows, Home & Garden Shows, Farm Shows… spring and summer shows are perfect places to show John Q. Public just how awesome you are at transforming boring concrete into spectacular surfaces.
Here are 21 tips to help you get the most from your Home Show marketing dollar.
1. Have an attractive backboard. Buy or rent, but get the largest one that fits into your booth size. Jared Huber of Concrete Revival LLC built this attractive stand from 2 x 4 lumber and painted it black. Make your business name and contact info stand out and use poster-size pictures. Your local sign company can help you with this. Check our website for professional quality poster-size decorative concrete pictures.
2. Use real concrete. Pictures are great, but prospects need to see your staining and engraving skills on real concrete. See the article How to Make Sample Slabs to make awesome samples like those pictured below. Be sure to use safe, sturdy stands.
3. Create a Wow! factor. You have only the amount of time it takes an attendee to walk past your booth to catch their attention. Make your display of slabs and backboard really pop with color and design. We don’t suggest using something cheesy like invisible fountains or making balloon animals. Those do attract people, but they fill your booth with bodies that aren’t good prospects for decorative concrete while potential customers may shun the crowd and walk on by.
4. Mock up the space before you go. This gives you a chance to see what looks best and how to make the most of your space. Set-up at the venue is quick and easy when you have a plan.
5. Dolly. Most venues don’t provide a means for you to move your items to your booth. It’s up to you.
6. Adhesive backed Velcro. Allows you to reposition or re-hang display items as needed.
7. Extension cords. Venues don’t provide cords. Bring plenty so you don’t get caught just shy of electrical power.
8. Safety-pins. A lifesaver in case of drooping curtains, etc.
9. NO wastebasket. A wastebasket takes up valuable space in your booth, and you’ll end up collecting trash that should go in the large venue trash cans. A small broom and dust pan may come in handy in case of accidents or when cleaning up for the night. Stow them where they don’t show.
10. Info slips. These days people are often reluctant to add their contact info to a list that’s visible to everyone. We suggest using small slips of paper that the prospect can fill out and drop into a fishbowl. (You should have some slips already filled out and in the bowl so it appears that you have a lot of interest. And you will get lots of interest when people see how you can change their concrete from awful to awesome!)
The jury is still out on whether or not you should use a contest to collect contact info. We have found that it results in you wasting a lot of time chasing down leads from those who signed up simply to win something but have no intention of purchasing your services. If you do decide to use a contest, make the prizes Percent-Off Certificates for your services. For instance, “10% off your next one-color stain job of 400 sq ft or more.” Use care when determining the figures you use.
11. Hard copy planner/calendar. When a prospect expresses interest in a bid, say to them, “When can I pen you in?” Get it? Pen not pencil. Pen is permanent. Pencil isn’t. Neither are cell phones or tablets. The prospect needs to know that you aren’t going to forget them, and that they’ve made a commitment to you to be available at the specified time. Be sure they see you write down the appointment. With a pen, on paper! It makes a difference.
12. Video. Running a loop of Before and After pictures of decorative concrete transformations is an excellent video choice that will stimulate questions and conversation between you and the prospect. Avoid video with a lot of talking or text because it takes away the personal communication factor.
13. Brochures and business cards. Have plenty, but don’t put them all out at once. Having only a few available makes them appear to be special and in high demand.
14. Helpers. It’s good to have at least two people manning a booth at a time, meaning your business makes contact with twice as many people.
15. Don’t use S.A.L.E.S. software. Save it for the job evaluation/bid appointment. If it’s in your booth, you’ll get “hang-arounders” who just want to play with it and not buy a thing.
AND NOW ABOUT YOU
16. Dress the part. NO, not a salesman in a business suit. NO, not a laborer in dirty, worn work clothes. YES, a trustworthy Joe in nice clean jeans, clean shoes and a polo shirt with your company’s logo on it.
17. No chairs. If you sit down, you run the risk of looking (a) lazy, (b) not in good health, (c) indifferent, or (d) all of the above. Not the image you want to project! (You’re right, our pictures show chairs in the booth, but we chucked them before the crowd arrived.)
18. Body language. Avoid negative body language such as crossing your arms at your chest (making you appear unapproachable) or lounging against a table (making you appear careless and unmotivated.) Positive body language, on the other hand, includes a welcoming smile and a firm handshake.
19. No cell phone. Don’t answer, or even look at, your cell phone while a prospect is visiting your booth. It implies that you think the person on the phone is more important than the prospect. Return the call or text later.
20. No food. There’s no bigger turn-off to visitors than your half-eaten cheeseburger. Have a helper man the booth if you need to visit the concessions.
21. Toothbrush, toothpaste and breath mints. You know what we mean.
Now that you’ve made your way through the list, here’s the most important part of securing decorative concrete jobs – FOLLOW UP. You or your staff should contact everyone who left their information within a few days. “Hot” leads get extra attention. If you do everything else on the list well, but blow the follow-up, then you’ve wasted your marketing dollar.