This one’s for all the Events Marketing Managers entering perhaps the busiest time of year: Homeshow Season. Here's 11 practical tips and hacks to help managers take the pressure off and stay focused on their "why?" this homeshow season.
Dear Marketing Leaders,
The Homeshow Gods will test you. A bunch of things will go wrong at the last minute, and you need to be okay with that. Kelsey will be late for her shift, and even though you sent a text reminding your team to "spring ahead" for daylight savings time, you'll be short-handed an hour because of it.
The electricity for your booth will not work, the neutral-colored carpeting you ordered will arrive in bright red, you're probably going to lose your wallet (at least once). Your display will break, your khaki's will get dirty, and Shawn from the call center's going to give you attitude because he's goin' through it, too.
Stay strong my friend, and remember a bunch of things are going wrong for your competitor, too. So take a couple deep breaths, remember everything will be okay, and follow these tips...
1. Choose radical acceptance. The best managers I've met take these challenges in stride, respond to problems quickly, and understand it's the challenges they face today that will make their experience priceless tomorrow.
2. Get to the show early. You might not love it, but you'll get the best parking spot, have time to prepare for a successful day, and after you've spent a day on your feet- you wont have to walk a mile to find your car.
3. Stay at the show late. I'm not doing bad, but if I had $100 for every set I made in the last 15 minutes of a show I'd probably be writing this from my own private island.
4. Answer your phone, return your texts and check your emails. Imagine a relay race where one runner must pass the baton off to the next. Now multiply that by 5,000. It's like that during homeshow season, between the events team and the call center passing batons back and forth among each-other. We don't ever want to drop a baton, and being responsive and clear in your communications can prevent major problems from occurring.
At a minimum, what I need is their contact information, so when they’re ready we can be the one to help them. Remember the mantra: “We want the set, but need the lead."
5. Check Your Service. Make sure to keep your phone charged (i.e., bring chargers for you and your team). Also, test out your mobile service before the show. Often home shows are in large metal buildings or exhibition centers with below average reception. It’s important to trouble-shoot this and find solutions before the show, rather than during. If all else fails, and you need to step outside to get connectivity, communicate which times that will happen to both the call center and your team.
6. Start with the end in mind. It's so easy to get caught up in the details while you're working long hours. Remember what the goal of each show is: hit appointments-set targets, while offering your team and visiting patrons a fun experience. I love offering spiffs for the most sets from the day before. Something I do is take their picture and post their name and results in a chat group for the team. Recognition can be a powerful motivator. But also, you may want to ask your team what they'd like.
7. Pack snacks. What you eat and drink before and during the show is actually very important. Often we speak to hundreds of people on a weekend. Water is key to staying hydrated, and it helps when your voice becomes tired. Protein snacks are a great way to stay full and focused during the show, and will help you ward off cravings. Zero prep items as simple as an apple are great, and fruit is the perfect quick snack for those slower moments in between crowds. Treat your body well and your body will reward you in return.
8. They're not coming back. Being personable, approachable and friendly comes with its perks and its drawbacks. People are more open to talking with you, yes. But on the other hand, because you were so nice, they also don't want to let you down. So when people say they'll come back around to speak with you later, prepare to say goodbye to your lead. It’s helpful to know ahead of time how to prepare your team for this objection and others. It's good to think of it as a negotiation. Before going into any negotiation, it’s important to know what you want to get out of the conversation, and at a minimum what you need to get out of it. I’d like to get an appointment from every conversation I have with a homeowner. That’s a want. At a minimum, though, what I need is their contact information, so when they’re ready we can be the one to help them. Remember the mantra: “We want the set, but need the lead."
9. Wear comfortable shoes. If the leadership in your company allows you and your team to wear athletic shoes DO IT. It's important they match with the company uniform. Your shoes, and the rest of your uniform should sparkle and shine just as brightly as your smile and the products you display.
10. Remember to be grateful. Maybe even before you share the show's results with your team, remind them of the important role they played, ask them about their favorite set, and give them the opportunity to feel like the amazing person they are inside and out.
11. Provide training for your team before & during the show . It's important to make sure everyone's on the same page at all times- that your team is hooking, pitching and closing, on point. We all know the fully-loaded investment of planning, setup, showtime and tear-down will remain constant, but when a setter brings in 10 leads instead of 5, you can easily see the ripple effect good training can have for a successful marketing program in 2020.