The showroom's electronics, including all of the video monitors and interactive doorbells, represent a $20,000 investment. Tunney wrote the copy for the vignette's voice-overs and, for $200, had them professionally recorded.
Joe Tunney, president of American Design & Build in Bel Air, Md., needed to make a drastic marketing shift after the June 2003 advent of the National Do Not Call Registry. The registry, coupled with potential customers' growing desire to "experience" products, was weakening his largely telemarketing-based sales approach to selling the company's window, door, siding, patio rooms and roof projects.
Between the company's two locations, it had always had a working showroom. But in 2002, Tunney bought an empty warehouse with a storefront and consolidated his office space as well as transforming part of the warehouse into a 6,500-square-foot interactive showroom. The showroom features eight home-and-garden design stations that showcase the company's deck, porch, window, roof and sunroom work while showing product choices.
Each station has a doorbell that, when pressed, gives information about the products. There is also a children's-themed room for children to play while their parents walk the showroom. The room can be monitored via a visual feed that can be displayed on screens throughout the showroom.
Tunney says the company has given up "the headaches of telemarketing" and directed those dollars toward more mainstream print and broadcast advertising. He notes that the appearance, scale and the simple existence of the showroom has helped American Design & Build solidify its credentials when they advertise and garner more support from manufacturer partners.
"We've always believed in having a showroom because it shows people that your com-pany is anchored, it's doing well, and it's not going anywhere," he says.
Today, Tunney believes he gets stronger appointments and better prospects because the showroom draws people who are sincerely interested in remodeling projects, averaging eight to 10 visitors daily. The company has recouped the $225,000 investment in the year-old interactive showroom: In 2003 the business finished 24 percent over projections, and the first five months of this year have brought an estimated 30 percent more business than the previous year.