Erik Anderson, CGB, GMB, CAPS, of Anderson-Moore Builders in Winston-Salem, NC, says that when he looked at buying or renting a home show booth from a display company, he found that the designs were limited and expensive. “We built our own,” says Andersen. “Basically, our booth is made up of six 30-inch square columns on which we hang pictures on all sides. The back is a large panel with crown molding and nice trim. That is where we have our sign. We used carpet tiles for the floor.”
Robert DeHaan of DeHaan Remodeling Specialists, Inc. in Kalamazoo, MI, says that a home show booth should be simple and neat and look good. “Most people attending a show will not hire you because of your display,” he adds. “You just need an opportunity to tell your story.”
The booth should also be lightweight, DeHaan advises. It does not have to be built like a fortress. “Remember, you will have to carry and transport it to the show site and store it after the show,” he says.
Another consideration is the size of your booth. The biggest booth is not necessarily the best. Your aim should be to create a comfortable space in which you and your potential customers can move around and talk.
Anderson says his booth has an open center and enough space for visitors to walk around each of its six columns to look at pictures.
The majority of participants agreed that a 10-foot by 20-foot booth is usually big enough to avoid the overcrowding that will keep potential visitors, and customers, from stopping by.
Typically, your biggest concern at a home show will be drawing people to your booth.
Anderson says that his company sometimes raffles off a free design worth up to $1,500, which provides names and addresses for future mailings.
Make sure your booth is stocked with business cards, professional-looking tri-folds or other picture displays of previous work, company brochures, articles about your company and the awards it has won, and some designs.
DeHaan adds that companies should include plaques from their local home builders association and Remodelors™ Council for committees they chaired and other activities.
On the issue of whether companies should take names and telephone numbers at the show and contact the prospects the following week, DeHaan says that, “We decided not to take names, but told the visitors to call us the following week if they would like us to come out and talk to them about a remodeling project. Remember: if you get names you need to follow up right away.”
Finally, when preparing for a home show, don’t forget to bring a tall stool to lean on. It is unprofessional to sit in a chair.
If you would like to network with non-competing peers across the country to improve your bottom line, consider joining one of NAHB’s Builder or Remodelor™ 20 clubs. For information on joining, e-mail Cheryl Fortin, director of networking programs or call her at 800-368-5242 x8110, or complete the Builder or Remodelor™ application and fax it to 202-266-8199.
University of Housing Offers Courses and Designation Programs
The NAHB University of Housing offers a variety of business management courses and professional designation programs that set builders and remodelers apart from the competition. For a complete list of current offerings, click here.
'PREP: Your First Step to CGR' Offered at IBS
PREP is your first step to becoming a Certified Graduate Remodelor™ (CGR). For more information on PREP offerings at the International Builders' Show in Las Vegas, Jan. 18 and 22, click here.
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