Can a new carpet cleaner handle a Home Show?

new-carpet-cleaner-tips-for-home-showsHey Steve,

I just read your “Special Report” on home and trade shows. Very well written!

My local chamber of commerce is having a home/trade show coming up in early April.  I’m hoping to build a decent sized photo album of before and after photos (even if I have to “create” them myself on remnants or carpet samples).  I also hope to have a few videos of cleanings to show as well.

I plan to hand out business cards attached to flyers that have “money off” or “free cleaning” coupons as well as free spotters to those who fill out a “pre-qualifying” form of some sort.

However, I wondering if I am “too new” to use this kind of marketing method.  I’m not sure if I have the experience to handle the tough questions. I use a portable unit only and I’ll probably only be able to display portable stuff at my booth.

Perhaps I can use an introductory theme at my booth…? Introducing myself as a new start-up local company and offer Introductory offers??

Your thoughts?

Thanks Steve for all your help!  Excited in Atlanta

Dear Excited,

The home show marketing idea is a good one IF a) they promote it properly and b) you are prepared for it.  Some thoughts:

  1. I would NOT go the “Introducing myself as a new start-up local company” route.  Why brand yourself as a newby from the git-go?  Don’t worry about being able to answer the “tough questions”.  You already know far more than 99% of the customers you will run into.
  2. You can do the photo album deal (In fact, it will be a great resource for your in-home pre-inspections). However, don’t expect many people to stop and examine your photos in the hurly-burly atmosphere of a trade show.  Well done video will have far more impact but be sure to have a large flat screen (at least 32”) for people to watch it on.
  3. Be sure to have good, professional lighting for your booth.  If your space is dark and gloomy no one will go there.  People are drawn to light.  (Read here your competition’s better lit booths!)
  4. The Free Lifetime Spotter idea is a great one and will have residual impact far into the future.  If you want to “pre-qualify” people have them fill out a form for a drawing for a “whole house” cleaning and they get the carpet spotter right then.
  5. If you do the contest have a box on the card to check if they want a free  “over-the-phone” quote and also have them write a date they are interested in the cleaning. Then be SURE to follow up!
  6. Have you thought about doing up “20.00 off any job over 100.00 or more” coupons laid out in the form of company checks and printed on check stock?  We did this and people religiously saved them.
  7. As I mention in the Report, try to have some sort of “action”.  People get both over-stimulated/bored in a trade show and you need ACTION to break through their glazed look.  If you can’t run a truck mount (we always had two running in our outdoor booth) then how about a portable upholstery extractor and dump some soda/catsup/ice cream on a cushion and then clean it off?
  8. Be sure to clean yourself up real good and get some extra help in there.  Trade shows are exhausting.  Plus always have at least one person out front of your booth handing out coupons to every single person that walks by (even your competition!) while you are talking to prospects or demoing how to take pecan pie out of an olefin cushion!

Let us know how it went.


2 thoughts on “Can a new carpet cleaner handle a Home Show?”

  1. I’ve have done couple of them in the past, they work really well, have a photo display probably 8×10 size pictures, you can get them printed @walgreens really cheep, what I do, I have pictures showing my cleaning process on Carpet and Tile and grout (have someone take pictures of you doing it), people love these, I also give away, Business cards with a Free room of carpet cleaning up to a 100 sq ft ( I charge by square footage) and explain to them that you want them to get to know you and they won’t need to buy from you, you will clean the room and if they decide to clean the rest you will do it, if not you just go away, people will call you just to see your cleaning and 90% of the time they don’t bother asking for the free room.

    Chamber of commerce events are ok, but look for communities events they are willing to support you, just because you supported them, 55+ communities work really well for me, by the way I am not the cheapest guy in town.

  2. Great ideas. Remember that at a Home Show your customers are actually coming to you and possibly thousands of them in a short period of time. So will you be leaving a positive or negative impression? Don’t throw away a stellar marketing opportunity through lack of preparation!


    PS The more visible you are the more Top Of Mind Awareness (TOMA) you will create in the community. Sounds like I need to do a TOMA instructor’s blog post!

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