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Ask Mike Ripp: Is Exhibiting At Home Shows Worth It?

“Hey Mike, I’m thinking about exhibiting at a Home Show, but I’m not sure. Do you think it would be a profitable experience?”

trade show

Sure, that upcoming home show on the calendar looks like it could bring some good exposure to your refinishing business – and it very well may. But if you have a booth at the show, how do you know if it’s going to be a profitable success? Even though you can’t absolutely sure, there are several things you can do in advance to improve your odds of a positive outcome.

Prepare Like A Pro.
You don’t just show up to a job without the proper tools, do you? It’s the same idea here. The most important thing you can do is appear very professional at a home show from beginning to end.

  • How does your display look? Is it easy to see from a fair distance?
  • How many business cards, brochures and other support materials do you have? Err on the side of having more than less if it’s a longer show.
  • Wear your brand with pride by having on a company shirt that shows your company name and logo. 

Who’s Got Your Back?
Many people don’t see any issue with working a booth by themselves. That is, until they arrive at the show and realize how much they could have used at least one other person on hand. It’s a must, really. You’re going to need to take breaks for food, to go to the bathroom, to walk the floor yourself or simply to have a few minutes to breathe. Even when you are manning the booth, what happens when you encounter a rush period? You can’t talk to everyone at once, so eventually those people nearby you could be talking to will lose interest and move on if they aren’t addressed. Having someone else in the booth with you will help capture that potential lead in waiting.

What’s Your Attention Grabber?
There are at least two kinds you want to think about – the kind that lures them toward your booth and the kind that makes them linger longer so they buy today rather than put off a purchase.

For the first example, many tradesmen have used my DIY Refinishing video, which repeats over and over. Having something like this on hand and constantly playing will help keep their attention on your booth. Special “callouts” around the booth that have phrases such as “Best refinishing coating on the market,” “Use in just 2 hours,” and “State-of-the-art” clue people in to the benefits you and your product line brings.

In the second instance, your special offer can make a big difference. Is there an offer unique to the home show that you can provide, such as $50 off or a free slip resistant bottom? Again, the key here is that when it’s a special only for the home show, they can’t really “think about it” and get back to you. They have to buy during the show in order to take advantage of the offer.

Put An Inlay On Display
People don’t know a great deal about inlays, but home shows are great for displaying them and educating people on what a durable, long lasting fix for a broken tub or shower they can be. NAPCO has inlay brochures and samples you can use to your benefit.

For extra credibility, you may also want to display a variety of jobs you have done.

 

Closing The Deal
Too many people forget the all-important detail of collecting names for follow up after the show. That’s like having a revolving door of qualified people move through your booth and out again just as quickly. So make sure you have a schedule book to get their name, phone number, email address and other important contact information, including the date when someone may want refinishing work done. Don’t let them get away!

Finally, be realistic. Hopefully your next home show will be a hit, but sometimes despite your best intentions, it may not be the smashing success due to other factors outside of your control that you can’t predict (like the weather, for instance). Roll with it as best you can. As long as you can check off all the items above, you’ll be prepared for good things to potentially happen. Good luck and have a great show!

Simon Newton

Simon Newton, head of training at NAPCO. Simon has been involved in the refinishing business for over 25 years and brings a wealth of experience to his position. During that time he trained franchise owners and employees, as well as providing technical support. He built a wealth of real-world experience managing refinishing crews that provided both residential and commercial services. Simon is knowledgeable about all aspects of the business including practical application, trouble shooting and running a refinishing business.

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