Last week, one of this blog's readers asked this question: "We have a home show coming up . . . any tips on maximizing this?"
A simple enough question, but one I thought others would be far more qualified to answer (we've done many business-to-business shows, but not consumer-oriented shows over the years). So I posted the question on the contractortalk.com sales and marketing forum, and the resulting postings show the value of heading to relevant Internet forums for advice on critical issues.
If you are hoping for a unified perspective, without any personality, argument, or back-biting, if you are looking for the one-size-fits-all solution, you won't find it in the several postings within the thread. Some advocate a conventional, courteous, and image-building approach, but one poster, pcplumber, owner of Bestline Plumbing in Los Angeles, has stirred up a hornets nest with his strong opinions. (Probably because he speaks his mind so vividly, he rubs others the wrong way, sometimes.)
You can see how he thinks you should present yourself at a consumer show in the above image. His opinion of what works best is a minority opinion, of course, others think the approach tacky. But it works, and he isn't afraid to say so, so what should you do with that information?
Meanwhile, Michael Stone in his blog reports that Qualified Remodeler magazine's survey says that seven per cent of remodelers find their sales leads at home shows. Stone, in advocating aggressive (but well planned) advertising and show participation, observes:
Several of our clients have said they rely on home shows for almost 1/3 of the leads they receive in any given year, far more than 7%.
All of our clients who are busy tell us the same thing and that is they all have at least six different means of advertising in place and working right now. They have all increased their advertising budget and all who have been actively advertising for the last year or more are as busy as they want to be.
So, what should you do here? Listen to the majority opinion, or go with PCplumber's style? I'd suggest your show style, as for everything in your business, should reflect your real personality and values (and ideally these should correlate with your clients) and be consistent with your actual business practices outside the show. If you are comfortable going over to the wild side and letting it all out (and your clients are 'ordinary' people,) Pcplumber may be on to something interesting here. And if you are not doing shows and want to find business for your contracting and renovation company, you should look at Michael Stone's numbers.