Events such as home shows bridge an important gap for potential customers by putting a face to a name for your company and starting the trust-building process. There’s just one problem: Most shows will have heavy competition, so you’ll need a plan to maximize the leads you generate.
The Booth: Getting as many people as you can into your booth and speaking with as many of them as possible is the key to success at home shows. This starts with a booth location near a high-traffic area, such as the entrance or a snack bar. Building a good relationship with the show promoter can help here, especially if you let them know how your booth differs from prior years or compared with your competitors.
And remember that all the things that make your booth attractive to prospects also make it attractive to promoters. We could easily fit everything we have in our 10-by-20-foot booth into a 10-by-10 area, but we prefer some open space. That gives the booth a clean, uncluttered, and organized appearance that makes it easy for people to walk in and view our products.
Staff: Instead of manning our booth with sales staff, we use temps who all wear matching company T-shirts in bright blue with our logo on them. They are paid a good hourly rate plus $3 for every slip they get from an interested party, plus $10 for each prospect they sign up who buys. We also include our event staff in some of our product-oriented sales training so that they can better explain our products to prospects.
We train booth staff to greet everyone who walks by and to engage them in conversation about their next project. We generate a lot of leads simply because we started a conversation with the prospect while our competition silently sat in their booth reading the paper. We don’t have any chairs in our booth and we don’t allow cell phones because sitting and texting do not help us accomplish our goals.
Stuff: Everyone loves freebies, so we used to give away nice, reusable shopping bags. But so many others do this now that we’ve switched to offering kid-friendly giveaways, such as waterless tattoos, or hiring balloon artists or clowns to do face painting. The goal is to draw families to our booth where we can start a conversation that may lead to a sales appointment.
Taken together, all of this creates a positive impression of a friendly, knowledgeable team that carries over when we send a sales rep out to a prospect’s home.