The turn of the year means Home Show Season – suppliers, trades, and contractors gathered together in one place ready to talk with homeowners (or future homeowners) about their upcoming projects. Aisle upon aisle of salespeople can be daunting to the uninitiated. Indeed, sometimes too much choice can overwhelm without feeling useful. How should you as the homeowner take best advantage of this opportunity?
Know why you are attending
A broad cross section of attendees enjoys the home shows.
- If you have an immediate need for construction or remodeling services, come prepared to discuss the project. You will get much better information from contractors and trades if you are able to describe the project in detail. That can include a scope of work, existing conditions information (sometimes people even bring photos), budget ranges, and special considerations.
- Many people also attend when they are first considering a project, well before they are ready to commit. In this case, your discussions will relate more to understanding the big picture rather than delving down into the details.
- Some vendors offer free samples, sweepstakes, or other contests to entice potential clients. If you are interested in browsing and sampling, it is okay to let the vendor know so that their time and attention can be focused on people with more immediate needs.
Create a plan
You will be given a map and booklet of vendors when you arrive. Take a few minutes to prioritize which vendors you want to talk with, particularly if you have children with you. It can take several hours to make your way through all sections of the home show, so make a quick round of the highest priority booths before walking up and down every aisle. Attacking the show in this manner will allow you to have productive conversations before people in your group get tired or anxious to leave.
Don’t forget to plan time to pause for any informational speakers or interesting presentations. A schedule of speakers and special guests is available ahead of time – you can use this to plan the day and time you want to arrive.
Mailings and follow ups
After a particularly interesting or engaging discussion, you may be asked to leave contact information. Vendors are at the show to get “leads”, or potential client information. Most will have many leads to follow up on, so it may be a week or two before you get a call.
Almost every vendor will have some sort of literature you can take with you. If you talk with many vendors, they may blend together in your head by the end of the event. If you compile a selection of literature from the vendors you are particularly interested in, it can help jog your memory later on. It may also be worthwhile to have a pen and notebook for jotting down any impressions you have after talking with a vendor at the show.
See you there
Ultimately, we are there to talk with people. We love engaging in discussion about building and remodeling. We are happy to give advice, talk with you about your project, and if it makes sense, set up a time for a preliminary consultation and project proposal. Hope to see you at one of the upcoming shows!