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The dreaded "Home Improvement Show"- Tips to make it work for YOU and your business!

Mortgage and Lending with Funky Quail Vintage

Hello! It's Bucky again!  In the past I have done blogs on making a GOLF outing work for you, Open Houses work for you, then another blog on Open Houses, and have even done what I consider inspirational blogs like one on the movie WALL-E.  However, today I have decided to try and help my fellow RAINERS by doing one on the dreaded "Home Improvement Show" and making it work for you!  This was our booth at the Dane County Fair, and is nothing special....but please read on..


First things first, if you are going to effectively work these shows you HAVE to get a system down. 

 What I mean by that is that you just cannot "throw things together"..you have to have transportation available for all of the equipment, you will have to be there ON TIME for your loading & un-loading, you have to have someone in charge of  materials, you have to have a good booth location based on your business, and you absolutely have to have the BOOTH MANNED with people that are FEARLESS, POSITIVE, and willing to talk to PEOPLE!! 



 If you do not have the things listed above...bail, and dont do it!  NO booth, is better than a bad booth!

Here is a quickie list of some things to put in a rolling TUB, and we will call it your "TRADE SHOW" tub!

1.  Duck Tape  2.  White Christmas Lights  3.  Several long extension chords  4.  Several Power Strips  5.  Clamp On Lamps/or lights  6.  Extra Table Cloths  7.  Clothes pins  8.  Table Skirts & Clips  9.  Velcro  10.   A Tool Kit & Tons of extra BUSINESS CARDS!

Here is a Great Website to view on BOOTH ettiquete



1.   A home show normally has a "theme", so STAY with the THEME! 

2.  Add MUSIC to your booth!  -  People love this!  Jazz,blues, or FUN music!

3.  Add a TV in front with DVD's running on it of Disney movies, or popular kids movies like Harry Potter!  -  This attracts the kiddies, and obviously allows YOU to talk to the parents!

4.   Dont put tables IN FRONT OF THE BOOTH for Pete's sake...make your booth inviting..put your tables on the side, or if you have racks of information..put them in the back or on the sides!  This draws people INSIDE!!!

5.  Have a putting contest...even THOUGH your event or company may have NOTHING to do with Golf...everyone can mini golf!  Plus, to enter, you need their info right?  You can rent this stuff, and trade show booth companies have all kinds of access to this stuff!

6.  Give something away-  I like to give away a nice Patio Set...everyone can use them, even in an apartment building...and they may be buyers someday too!   Again, you get  all their information for the drawing!  Another idea might be a HUGE jar of GUMBALLS or something GIANT! 

7.   Decorate your booth based on the THEME and/or like a home!  Dont JUST rely on your company SIGNS etc... Put fake ficus trees, lights, a couch, chairs,tables,lamps,....anything to set it apart!  Also, CARPET IT!!!   Many companies sell VERY VERY EXPENSIVE booths and design them just for YOUR company!  I am not convinced this is necessary UNLESS, you have a "branding" effort working along side the show! 

8.  Consider hiring a Mascot from the local University and have pictures taken with the kiddies!  Give these pictures away!  You can add at the bottom, "Courtesy of One Source Mortgage, LLC", and it serves as a reminder of where it came from!  Coordinate this effort with your other efforts to DRAW people to your booth...like any print advertising, internet, and/or radio/TV advertising!  In our company case, we had Bucky Badger at our booth.  We could say on the radio, come out to the "One Source Mortgage, LLC booth, and have your picture taken with Bucky from 1-3pm on Saturday.  The Home Show actually had a Board of Events in front of the opening to the Hall, and they put these TIMES on there too!

9.   Have applications ready RIGHT THERE IN THE BOOTH, and advertise that!  For example, Come out to the Home Show and visit our booth, and get pre-qualifed to purchase a home RIGHT ON THE SPOT!  This is easy folks with today's technology!!  Talk to your Realtor/Lender Partner!

10.  Have people in your "sphere of influence" work WITH YOU in your booth!  Cross selling helps everyone, and allows you to split the cost with them too!  Additionally, if you are a small company, this helps you MAN the booth! 

All in all, these things can be a phenomonal way to solicit your business!  If you are a Realtor, what better way to also showcase your listings, and Open Houses!  If you are a blogger, it is a GREAT way to solicit your blog!  If you are a lender, what's better than someone wanting to IMPROVE THEIR HOME in THIS economy?  Nobody has piles of cash just laying around...so they WILL need SOME kind of loan!

Lastly, when you are NOT working your shift, use this opportunity to talk with OTHER show participants about "teaming up", or working together in the future!  These shows not only develop business, but also new business partners!





  I think this graphic from the Sales institute says it all!  Closing the deal is 40% of the transaction!  Hence, having a quality SYSTEM inplace, not just to get your booth going, or in dealing with the challenges a home show presents, but also to have a system for following UP WITH THE LEADS your hard work generates is critical!!


You can create all the Sales leads you want, but not following through on them, is the #1 failure by most sales teams!  





A few words of caution also:

Try not to get caught up in the "complaining" by other booth exhibitors!  This happens ALL the time!  Remember, mind over matter.."I dont mind, because they don't matter".

Be careful of the other booth people wasting your time!  Remember, you are here for a purpose, not to chat with your neighbor!  There are breaks, and before & afters for this!

Lastly, work your staff on shorter shifts!  This keeps people from getting tired, and wanting to sit down!  Be up, friendly, and ready to talk!!  



Thanks for reading & Keep selling!


As always, I welcome your concerns,comments,issues and suggestions!  Darin@Osmwi.com

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Hijacking is a NO NO!    Undue Influence & the HVCC

Mortgages, so easy a Caveman can do them!   HERA RULES

Open House Suggestions    Open House Suggestions 2     Golf Outings   Wall-E   USDA Loans 

What do I need for Pre-approval?  Buying a Fixer Upper  What is a pre approval?

What is a search & hold and why dont we use them?


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Anthony Stokes-Pereira
Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty - Nanuet, NY

Hi Darin;

Home owners could learn by attending these shows, thank you for sharing.

Jul 01, 2009 07:16 AM
Darin Osenberg
Funky Quail Vintage - Nashville, TN

Hi there Anthony- I totally agree!  here in the Madison Wisconsin area, we have ALOT of people that do home improvements themselves, so all the stores are REALLY popular!  We have A HUGE home show of this type RIGHT on the lake here at the Monona terrace!@  It is awesome!!!!

Thanks for sharing..D

Jul 01, 2009 07:20 AM
Roy Paeth
Barrett Financial Group - Murfreesboro, TN
Just a regular guy helping real people!

Great sutff as usual Darin. It has been a while since i had a booth at a show. I really like your simple and easy plan for make show booths a success.

Jul 01, 2009 07:22 AM
Darin Osenberg
Funky Quail Vintage - Nashville, TN

Roy-  Thank you!  I actually have worked about I would say probably 8 of these, and have NEVER ACTAULLY worked a trade show!  I like the ones where you meet the customers face to face!   I think TRADE SHOWS will eventually move or go the VIRTUAL route!  ...Home improvement shows are critical, especially here in Madison!  These will become even BIGGER if cap & trade goes thru!

Thanks!-  D

Jul 01, 2009 07:30 AM
Teri Eckholm
Boardman Realty - White Bear Lake, MN
REALTOR Serving Mpls/St Paul North & East Metro

Darin--Great information for anyone considering doing a community trade show. I used to be a trade show coordinator before real estate...travelled around the US setting up and running these. It can be fun but you have to be "ON". People gravitate toward happy positive people. Any agent that enjoys meeting and talking to people in an open house, is half way there. If you don't, like you said, don't bother as attendees will remember the agents sulking or complaining. Who wants to work with a sourpuss?

Jul 01, 2009 07:30 AM
Darin Osenberg
Funky Quail Vintage - Nashville, TN

TERI-  You keep earning my well respected, coveted, and awarded:


Your input was critical, and I really appreciate it!

It is nice to get support from someone within that job description, whether current or former!

Thanks again!-  Buckster

Jul 01, 2009 07:32 AM
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Real Estate Agents - Luxury - Divorce

In the top 2 for every trade show is to consider your audience and don't just give away a BIG prize...though that will get you a mailing list.  Use the opportunity to give away something with your name on it that will be visible in the house...make it useful not just another magnet...jar opener....we have seniors who are using our magnifiers years later and call us becuz of it...consider the audience at the show and then consider an item...need not be expensive...but it WILL come back to you...blog on Buckster.

Jul 02, 2009 12:12 AM
Dan Magstadt
Paramount Residential Mortgage Group, Inc - Lake City, FL

GREAT suggestions!! I'll have to keep this post handy for my next tradeshow!


Jul 15, 2009 04:57 AM
Darin Osenberg
Funky Quail Vintage - Nashville, TN

Hey there Hansons!

Thank you for the ideas and comments!  I sgree! Trade shows, and fairs, expos etc...all seem to be a little different!

Thanks again!@ -   Darin

Jul 15, 2009 05:39 AM
Darin Osenberg
Funky Quail Vintage - Nashville, TN

Dan- Nice to see you back here, and THANK YOU for checking out my blog!  You know, every show seems to be just a little different from the first, or last.  I just got an email from someone on BOOTH ettiquette, and will probably be ADDING IT to the blog somehow! 

EIther way, thank you for reading and appreciating, and many thanks for subscribing!


Jul 15, 2009 06:04 AM