Friday, March 3, 2017

"This Spring, Exhibiting At A Home Show May Be A Good Idea"

Now that it's getting closer to spring and people are beginning to  think about home improvements, many areas around the country will be holding home shows. This may be a great opportunity for us to showcase what we do and attract new business. We all need new customers, and having a display at a local home show is a great way to gain exposure among people looking for ideas and help in making their homes safer, more accessible, and generally more enjoyable. We definitely can help make this happen.

While this is a potentially great way to meet many people who are considering some type of remodeling project - from do-it-yourself to engaging us to perform it for them - we need to determine whether this is a good marketing choice for us. It's true that we will be in  a position to have scores of interested people walk by our display and look at what we do - although not everyone will stop to talk with us. Nevertheless, there is a fairly significant cost involved that needs to be considered.

First, to have a booth at a show requires renting booth space. Then there's furnishing the booth with furniture (tables and chairs or stools), carpeting, backdrops, electricity, and displays. Add in signage, brochures, and takeaway items. Before the first sale is made (if any are actually made on site at the show), a substantial amount of money will need to be committed - even if everyone else helping us volunteers their time to be at the booth and saves us the manpower cost.

There are two ways to look at the investment to decide if it makes sense to do. One is by direct return on investment from the event itself. Determine how many sales are going to be required to pay for the exposure. Say it requires $1,500 (it could be more or less than this - this is just an example) and an average sale is $200 (again, an example only). This means that we would need 8 sales at the event to make it worth our while by recovering what we invested.

Another way of looking at this is by not being as concerned with how many sales are made at the event - possibly none at all - but to figure that the 8 sales needed to pay for the event (in this example) would come in the few weeks following the event from people that we met and engaged there.

The second way of looking at the investment is to figure that this is purely an advertising expense - not any different from running an ad in the paper or doing direct mail except that it likely is less money than either of those.

By looking at the event as advertising exposure, it takes the pressure off of us to make an immediate sale to pay for our capital outlay to be at the event and lets us concentrate on meeting people and developing quality leads. We can collect contact information from many of the people we engage, learn about their needs, and make arrangements to follow up with them after the show.

We can promote our appearance on our website, take pictures, write about it afterwards, and look forward to developing our leads and making sales over time - knowing that we will have laid the groundwork for many sales even if none are forthcoming right at the event.

The event may make more sense as a form of promotion rather than as an offsite retail location or sales venue.

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Steve HoffackerCAPS, CEAC, SHSS, is a licensed Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist-Instructor and best-selling author of universal design books. To learn about this and other programs for aging-in-place or universal design, visit stevehoffacker.com or call 561-685-5555.