After recently exhibiting in his first home show, remodeler John Tabor received 31 leads during the two-day event. The owner of Tabor Design/Build in Rockville, Md. says he was searching for ways to increase leads during the downturn. His wife saw an advertisement for the Montgomery County Community Home and Remodeling Expo on the back of a bus and he signed up. He took a month to prepare for the exhibit by putting together a few cabinets with glass fronts with a granite top. He purchased a new 52-inch television and placed it on the cabinets so it would be at eye-level for attendees. He made a slideshow of project photos and showed it on the television screen. "It caught people's eye. And we were right next to a cooking demonstration and they are a great attraction," he says. He and his two designers worked the booth dressed in suits, which was a contrast to other more casually-dressed exhibitors.
About a 1000 people attended the show, which took place a few days after a major snowstorm in the Washington, D.C. area. "For people to come out with weather like this generally tend to be a more serious crowd," Tabor says. The show also had a $5 admission fee, so both of these things together, Tabor says, helped qualify the leads.
He thinks homeowners liked meeting him and his designers in person. "We even had people who contact us through our website that came to the show to meet us. I think it's easier for them in this more casual environment," Tabor says.
Tabor says the homeowners they spoke to were interested in a range of projects from bathrooms to whole-house remodels. "I think there are some high-quality ones. I am projecting that 1 in 10 will turn into projects and I think I will be pleasantly surprised," he says. He set about 10 appointments with homeowners at the show. For the other leads, he e-mailed and called them within a week of the show.
He's already signed up for several other upcoming shows. He says after the show he is feeling more confident about the economy. "I think things are starting to come back. This show a good sign. A very good sign."--Nina Patel, Senior Editor, REMODELING