Home Shows Rock-Top 12 Tips for a Successful Show

Russ Ackerman by Russ Ackerman | 04.10.2012

Are you making the most out of your home show investment?

Russ Ackerman is the sales director for Certified/Vector Security in Jacksonville, Florida. Since he began his security career in 1986, he has trained hundreds of successful sales consultants and managers.

One of the first signs of spring is the beautiful flowers budding. I know it’s spring, when I start to see home shows springing up everywhere.  We just completed our third show this season and the results have been fantastic. 

A successful home show will be the biggest sales event you’ll have all year.  Ask yourself these questions.  How many doors do you have to knock on to meet this many homeowners? How much do you have to spend in advertising to attract these people?

In our last show, we set 103 confirmed appointments for our life safety consultants in just four days.  Within the last few weeks, we have sold nearly every appointment that we have demoed from that show. 

When it comes to having a successful show you need to understand that just because your show is going to attract 20,000 people, it doesn’t mean you are going to come out of that show with lots of leads.  It takes work and lots of preparation, but the results are well worth it. I have been doing home shows for over 25 years and I am still learning new techniques.   Here are a few of the fundamentals for having a fantastic show:

  1. Carefully select the right show to be in.  Not all home shows are worth the investment.  Ask other vendors how last year’s show worked for them.  Be careful of boat shows and RV shows. In my experience, these shows did not produce very well.  Check the calendar to make sure there are no other events the same weekend that will conflict with your show.
  2. Have a motivated sales staff at the show.  In the last show, we had prospects lined up to set appointments with us.  Our competition barely did anything.   The difference was motivation.  You must get your people excited.
  3. Plan ahead.  Have a home show check list.  Set up your booth as soon as possible. There are always some last minute issues to deal with.  I usually try to have the entire booth set up two days before the opening day, if they will let me in the convention center. 
  4. Have a bright booth.  Use lots of bright lights and bright colors.  Make the booth exciting.
  5. Don’t display too much literature.  We are not at the show to pass out brochures.  We are there to set appointments.
  6. Train your staff before the show.  We usually spend at least three hours in training before each show.  Practice what you are going to say as you approach each person at the show.
  7. Don’t let your salespeople sit in the booth.  Everyone stays on their feet and should be alert for everyone that comes close to the booth.
  8. Talk to everyone.  No one is allowed to walk by your booth without being spoken to by one of your team.
  9. Keep it simple.  Do not try to sell everything on your price sheet at the show.
  10. Have a drawing.  Give away a free security system, smoke detector or something else that would interest attendees. Recently, we have started raffling gas cards.
  11. Go Big. A 10ft X 20ft booth will produce a lot more leads than a 10ft X 10ft booth.
  12. Have a contest among the sales staff.  We usually bonus our team with a $100 for the most registration slips in the box for the drawing and $100 for the most appointments set.

Okay, there you have it, most of my “secrets” for having a successful show. Our salespeople look forward to every show.  The show is a nice break in their daily routine.  It is great financial bonus for them and they have fun.   Remember, it is just like any other sales activity.  You must go into the show with a positive attitude and expect great results.