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How to Get More Business from Home Shows

How to Get More Business from Home Shows

Do you wish you could get more business from home shows? 

If your company offers services to local homeowners, these events seem like the obvious way to put your business in front of potential clients — but once you have a booth, you may not know how to maximize it to build your business.

You’re not alone. Many small business owners don’t know how to get the most out of these events. There’s so much more you can do besides handing out keychains with your name on them — try some of these creative ideas to turn your booth into a lead-generating powerhouse!

Bring your booth to life

Don’t settle for a plain white tablecloth with a stack of brochures and a sad pile of giveaway pencils. Your booth is an advertisement — it should signal a lively brand identity from across the room.

  • Use your brand colors. If you don’t have some, get some!
  • Drape colorful cloths over books and boxes to create levels for your display
  • Live plants or lush floral arrangements infuse your booth with life and energy. Use several if you have space. Don’t want to keep them? Offer them for free to booth visitors at the end of the day; they’ll love you for it.
  • Fill a big jar with colorful candy to give away.
  • Set up at least one tablet to display videos or slideshows
  • Check out fabric printing for flags, banners, or tablecloths that showcase your logo
  • If you want a backdrop for your booth, get a tall one to go behind you. Vertical displays on your tabletop (like the standard science fair trifold) create a wall between you and your guests.

Hold a drawing

The absolute best way to get more business from home shows is to treat your booth as a tool to build your email list. Here’s why

Unfortunately, it’s tough to get your message through to people at a home show – they’re overwhelmed with information, and they’re taking home bags of paper and junk that they’ll throw away later. So how do you turn them into customers?

Get their email address. Then build a relationship with them. Send them valuable tips from your area of expertise. Develop their comfort level with your business by showing up consistently in their inbox, and send them special offers and discounts to encourage them to book a service.

Consistency is the absolute key to getting new clients. Whether you’re running an ad or sitting at a home show booth, 90% of the people who see you won’t be in the market for your service the moment they see you. But if you keep your brand consistently in front of them in a non-salesy, low-pressure way, they’ll think of you first when they’re ready to sign up for service.

That’s why collecting contacts for your email marketing campaigns should be the primary focus of your booth.

Start by investing in a highly desirable drawing prize that your potential customers will get very excited about. Give away a tablet, dinner for two at the best restaurant in town, or whatever you can afford that people will get excited about. Of course, free services from your business can also be a prize, but it may not be the best choice as the top prize.

Create a lively display with pictures of the prizes and the word WIN big enough to catch the eye from across the room — like on a giant banner across the top of the booth. Find a fun item like a huge fishbowl, basket, hat, or treasure chest to collect the entries, and print cards for the entries that ask for names and email addresses. Add in small type at the bottom of the card that by entering the drawing, they are also joining your email list, but they can opt out at any time. You may also want to let them know that you won’t sell their email address to anyone.

Alternatively, you can automate the whole thing by having a tablet that displays your email signup form.

Pro tip: After the event, send an email to as many entrants as you want to say, “You didn’t win the grand prize, but you did win ________,” and give them a generous discount (more than 20%) or free service that is generous enough to seem like a prize but also gives you a foot in the door.

Offer an on-the-spot discount.

Discounts and specials are always appreciated, but handing out coupons is a crapshoot. People go home from these events with bags of paper and never look at most of them again.

If you can think of a way to offer an immediate discount, do that instead. Ideally, give people a huge incentive to sign up for something low-risk. For example:

  • Sign up today for $50 off your first house cleaning – no contract required.
  • FREE furnace inspection – get on the schedule now
  • 25% off your next gutter cleaning when you schedule it today

Pro tip: If you’re using ServiceWorks to manage your business, you can have people schedule their service on your booking page using your booth tablet.

Engage with people on their terms

Some people will stay away from a booth with an attendant they perceive as aggressive— yet it’s also awkward when the booth attendant doesn’t engage at all. To make matters worse, people have very different tolerance levels for chatting with strangers: what one person considers the perfect engagement level might seem very rude to someone else.

The solution is to start with a bit of gentle small talk about them — never start by speaking about your business.

Keep your body language non-threatening. Don’t lunge forward to shake their hand. Stay in your own space and smile at them. Ask them how they’re doing, how they’re enjoying the home show, or how their weekend is going.

If they seem introverted or uncomfortable, just invite them to sign up for your drawing or briefly explain your specials.

If they show a lively interest in chatting, and you want to get more engaged, keep the focus on them a bit longer. Ask them some getting-to-know-you questions related to their home. how long have you been a homeowner? Do you live here in _______?

Then you can ask relevant questions that lead to telling them more about your business.

Pro tip: If you get a good conversation going, don’t forget to get their contact information before they walk away—you don’t want to miss out on a potential customer!

Give away things people actually want

Nobody wants another pencil, keychain, or business brochure. So how can you capture their attention and bring them to your booth? Work with your promotional items provider to find ideas that will actually engage people.

For instance, imprinted seed packets are popular in the spring. Most people don’t throw away candy — especially chocolate. Most people have all the pens they need, but notepads and sticky notes are always in demand and can be printed with your info.

Balloons are VERY cheap and can be a showstopper at home shows that attract a lot of families. Rent a helium tank and get some balloons printed with your logo. Every kid who sees another kid holding a balloon will demand that their parents take them to your booth next.

If you want to give away printed material, make it about them, not you. Instead of brochures about your business, print helpful content related to your expertise that helps your customers solve their problems. For example, a cleaning service might offer “Top 10 Ways to Save Time Around the House,” or an appliance repair business might hand out a “Home Maintenance Checklist.”

You could offer several handouts or brochures on different topics drawn from your most popular blog posts and social media content. Add a paragraph about your business, plus your contact info and perhaps an offer.

Pro tip: Use your booth as a place to test market your content. When you find something that people respond to well, offer it as a free download on your website to entice people to sign up for your email list.

Connect with other local business owners

Networking with other vendors at the show is another way to get more business from home shows. Take some time to walk around the event, talking to the other exhibitors. You can hand out cards or brochures, but it’s more important to pick them up so you can follow up later.

Look for businesses that share your target market but offer a very different type of service — those are your natural allies.

The week after the show, sit down with those cards and build connections. Send an email or connect on social media. Re-introduce yourself, mention that you share a target market, and let them know you’d like to create a referral network and that you’re open to other creative alliances, like setting up package deals or discounts for each other’s customers.

Get more business from your next home show

Home shows can be a great way to get more business if you approach them the right way: offer prizes that people actually want, provide on-the-spot discounts for customers who sign up immediately, give away valuable promotional items, and connect with other local businesses to create referral networks. With a bit of effort, you’ll be able to get more leads from home shows than ever before!
ServiceWorks software can help by giving you an online booking form and a place to manage your email list. ServiceWorks also offers route and schedule optimization, credit card processing, and many other features that let you run your business from anywhere you can use your phone. Check it out for free — no credit card, no hassles.


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