3 Critical Steps Most Exhibitors Miss When Preparing for a Home Show

A great deal of opportunity lies in front of you at the right home show. In fact, many contractors don’t realize just how much opportunity there is. But there is also potential for your time and dollars to be wasted, depending on how you prepare for the event. Many exhibitors book their booth, pack up their tablecloth and a few pamphlets, and show up with hopes of bringing a long list of leads to bring back to the office. But with little preparation, an exhibitor has little control over their results from a home show.

At Breakthrough Academy, we’ve helped hundreds of companies make amazing returns on their consumer show exhibits. In the process, we’ve learned a thing or two about what it takes to avoid a home show flop, and we’ve identified three crucial steps that most contractors miss when getting ready for an upcoming appearance. Here’s the catch: these steps should be done well in advance, not a few days before. The exercises we’ve listed below require forethought and may help you to discover other tasks that you’ll need to accomplish to be well prepared for the show. So carve out some time to get this done early so you can make the most of your home show investment.


1. Identify Your Ideal Client

To successfully market your company at a Home Show, you must start by identifying your Ideal Client. Keep in mind that successful marketing is not about what you can offer anyone and everyone, but rather, how do you specifically fill the needs of your target market. You can identify your ideal client by asking yourself these three questions:

Who is your ideal client? To answer this question, start by considering your target markets psychographics and demographics. Demographics are characteristics like age, marital status, income level, geographical location, and other tangible traits. Psychographics are more about their needs– what excites them, what their goals are, what their fears are, what they are interested in and where they spend their money. If you’re unsure what some of these characteristics are, consider asking a few of your top clients to answer a few questions over lunch (on you). Once you’ve gotten a clear, detailed idea of how to answer this first question, you’re ready to move onto the next two.

Where does your ideal client hang out? Think about who your ideal client is and consider where they might choose to spend their time. What social environments do they like? Where do they go looking for items they need? What tradeshows and events do they attend? Knowing the answer to some of these questions will help you to pick the right shows & opportunities for exposure. If you can be in the right place, at the right time, then all that’s left to do is ensure you know how to capture the attention of your target audience.

What message would speak to your ideal client? Your marketing messaging at a home show should incorporate the true needs of your client. Not just their surface-level thoughts (for example, “I would love a new feature wall.”), but rather, their deeper needs (for example, “My house doesn’t feel like a home, and I don’t feel comfortable in it.”). These deeper needs are the real reason your ideal client wants your services – the ultimate why behind their choice to hire you. There is emotion attached to your ideal client’s why, and that’s what you’re looking to speak to. Consider this example: “Beautify Your Home Today” may be a tagline that clearly communicates your services, but it doesn’t really speak to the emotions of your ideal client. On the contrary, “Fall Back in Love With Your Home” speaks to the deeper need of your potential customers… it communicates the emotional reaction they will experience when they employ your services. Decide what message will capture the attention of your target audience and ensure your marketing materials are designed around it and your team is prepared to speak to it at the show.

Identifying your ideal client may not be as simple as you’d like it to be, but to make the process quicker and easier for you, we’ve put together an “Ideal Client Worksheet” that you can request here. Once you know exactly who you’re looking for, putting together and measuring your leads goal for the home show becomes much easier.


2. Set a Leads Goal

There are several reasons to outline your desired outcome when you exhibit at a home show. Arguably the most important is that having a measurable outcome allows you to determine your return on investment (ROI), and whether or not the time and money you spent on the show was worth it.

In order to effectively measure your ROI, it’s useful to have a lead scoring system that allows you to track the quality of your leads. Using criteria based on your “Ideal Client Profile,” teach your team how to score a lead out of 5. Have them make notes on the back of any lead cards, ballots, or sign-up slips about the person who filled it out and then give them a score. This will not only allow you to clearly see how many quality leads you obtained from the show, but also give you clear direction on which leads to follow up with first. Check out the leads list section in our “Tradeshow Planning Document” for a quick way to organize this information.

In addition, a clear end goal gives you and your team a tangible guide for success. This becomes especially important as you near the end of the home show, after everyone’s had a few long days already – a goal keeps people engaged, and it increases your team’s energy levels as they push towards the finish line. You can enhance this effect by offering a reward for the team if you reach your target, or even individual rewards to promote a healthy level of competition between team members.

Once you’ve got a clear picture of your Ideal Client, and a goal of how many of those people you’d like to meet at the home show, the only remaining step is to put together your plan of action.


3. Make a Battle Plan

Imagine the home show floor like a battle grounds; you’ve got home base (your booth), your cause (your goals), your equipment (your marketing materials), and your army (your people). Here’s the catch with battles… once you’re in the thick of one, it’s near impossible to replenish your stock, rebuild broken equipment or re-organize your army. Home shows are no different. If you want to be successful, you’ve got to be prepared with the right marketing materials, a plan for your people and some common goals to work towards. You’ve got to think through everything from your arrival to your close down so that you can be fully prepared for everything that will unfold. If you do this effectively, you don’t have to think that much once you’re on the show floor- you just act. You can be fully engaged in the task at hand.

Here are the key components to an effective battle plan:

  • Critical Path: list out all the tasks involved in preparing for the show, executing at the show, and following up after the show. Ensure that every task is assigned to someone on your team and have contingency plans where applicable. You’ll find a critical path template in our planning doc (request it here for free).
  • Packing List: have a list of everything you’ll need for the booth and your people. Be sure to start this at least a few weeks in advance, so you have time to add items as they come to mind.
  • Ideal Client Description: Print this out and distribute it to your team so everyone is on the same page and you can have a hard copy on hand to reference throughout the show.
  • An Attraction or Offer for Your Booth: Pick something that will relate to the ideal client you’ve identified, and incorporate it in your plan for the home show. For example, consider a visual presentation of your work, a prize draw, a game, or even just a comfy couch for prospects to put their feet up and chat with you. Choose something that connects to your product or service and will be attractive to your target audience.
  • Role Descriptions: Come up with a role for each person on your home show team, and make sure they are clear on their job from start to finish. Here are some examples:
    1. Engagers those that are good with forward-facing sales and can engage with new passers-by from the booth.
    2. Closers those that are good at gathering more information from a prospect and closing the sale.
    3. Runners someone who can go out and socialize in different areas of the home show with your target audience, and meet other vendors (if applicable).
  • Invitations: Invite everyone that touches your business to visit you at the show – your clients, potential clients, suppliers, employees, past leads, even friends. A home show is a very non-threatening environment for people to come engage with you (especially potential customers who are still making up their mind). In addition, having familiar and friendly faces around your booth will create an attractive energy and it’s a great way to build your confidence while you’re meeting new people. If you really want to hit this out of the park, consider personally calling and emailing as many people as you can and be willing to help them get a ticket. It’s a lot of work, but the results are worth it.

Time and time again, contractors who head into a home show with a well-drawn-out battle plan have more success than those that don’t. Your home show experience has potential to be a very positive thing for your business, but it could backfire if you seem disorganized or unengaged to your target audience.


It’s worth putting in the time upfront to prepare for a show the way most contractors don’t. Don’t procrastinate and leave preparations to the last minute because you won’t be able to execute with the same level of quality. By doing the work on the front end, you’ll ensure that you attract the right type of customer at the show, bring more leads back to your sales team, and know exactly what kind of return you’ve made when you leave. Remember, this is one of your few opportunities to represent your brand to the public the way YOU want it to be, so make it count.

To help you save some time and get properly compared, check out these proven resources we’ve used in the past to ensure we have success at our home shows. These templates will save you time in getting ready and will help guide you through the preparation process outlined above.


Danny Kerr
Managing Partner
Breakthrough Academy




The Breakthrough Academy program has been developed by leaders who used its core systems and principles to build multi-million dollar trades and home service businesses. These proven systems will free up your time so you can focus on taking your business to the next level.

What we offer:

  • Step-by-step systems to ensure profitability & revenue growth
  • Structured processes for organizational effectiveness
  • An under-utilized productivity system that will give you more time in your day
  • Accountability, culture & community to amplify your success
Back to the Blog