Consumer Home & Garden Shows

Home & Garden Shows attract lots of people from a broad geographic area and may offer a unique selling opportunity for Lawn & Landscape service companies.  It's one of the few avenues you have to get face-to-face with a somewhat targeted audience to promote your company and generate leads and sales.


Home and Garden Shows are unique because the prospective buyer comes to you.  It is very easy to get lost in the logistics of exhibiting and miss the goal of the show – generating leads.  For the most part you are not trying to make sales at the show. You want the names and addresses of prospects that express an interest in your service.  These names and addresses then become an asset that you can use for years to come and you will be able to convert some of them into sales this year.


Since many of these shows are early in the season (late winter to early spring), it gives your sales staff a good opportunity to gear up for the spring rush that is just around the corner.  You will get a lot of people who just have questions about their lawn or landscape and would like to get a professionals opinion on how best to fix it.  Give them some friendly advice and you have a good opportunity to make a sale – if not now, in the future.  No longer are you just a name in the phone book or mail box, you're a company with a solution.


If weather prohibits you from running the leads right away, let the prospects know that you will be out on their lawn as soon as weather permits and that you'll call them a day or two in advance to remind them you'll be there.  Then call to remind them when you are ready to run the lead.



Trade Show Booth


Most trade show display spaces are 10x10 areas.  Filling that space is your responsibility.



You have several booth display options:


  • Rent an exhibit structure from independent exhibit display manufacturing representatives and purchase customized graphics that attach to the exhibit walls -- lowest initial cost, but more expensive in the long run.


  • Purchase booth and graphics -- totally customized to fit your exact needs.


  • Rent exhibit structure from show organizer-- more expensive than renting from an independent manufacturing rep, but you don't have to worry about transporting the exhibit.



Picking a Booth Space -- what's best?


Most shows give you the opportunity to select your rental space from specific areas of the main show floor.  Here's a tip on which spots are better: when looking at a floor plan of the convention area, draw a pyramid with its point resting on the main entrance. Anywhere inside this pyramid is good.


Being close to the competition can also good.  Ever notice how many restaurants are close to other restaurants?  Or how many art galleries are sometimes next door to each other?  You want as much traffic as possible to go by your booth during the show and if someone is looking at your competition, don't you also want them looking at you?



Free-standing or table top?


Free standing units are the preferred method, but with the right graphics a table top set up can be compelling.  Cost is another issue.  Table top displays are less costly, easier to transport, store, and set up.  Keep the message simple.



Graphics – the key to attracting the right prospects


A trade show is not the place to be subtle.  Everywhere your eye looks it sees some form of advertising graphics streaming through the throngs of people.  You need large images that attract attention.  Think of your booth as a billboard along the highway.  You need a simple large image with a few bullet points - nothing else.  Keep it simple and to the point.  Cover the basics: make sure people understand what you're selling without a word from you.



What to give a prospect?


For those people looking for free stuff to throw in their bags, almost anything with your name, logo, phone number, web site, and description of the services you offer will work.  Don’t spend a lot of money on brochures or giveaways to the free stuff seekers; most of these items are thrown away before leaving the premises.


For those people you actually talk to who seem to be interested in the services you offer, especially those who become leads, have available every brochure you have that might interest them or answer a question.  You might consider giving away an advertising specialty item that has some value a good chance of being used by the prospect like quality ink pens, note pads, or refrigerator magnets.  (Read more about: ADVERTISING SPECIALTIES).   As much as possible, you want to attract people that (1) have lawns and/or landscapes, (2) are interested in having better lawns and/or landscapes, (3) have the money to buy outside services to make those improvements.


If your booth is doing its job, you'll be attracting real prospects to your booth and not so many "just looking" folks.  For those who seem interested but don’t sign up for an estimate at the booth, give them a flyer that offers a discount if they call your office in the next few days for a "Show Special Discount."


Hand out a lot of business cards.  Business cards somehow often manage to survive the trade show extravaganza; some even make it to the refrigerator door.



Lead Retrieval


Taking names and numbers is Job #1 at the show.  How you do this is important.  Obviously, you should write down names and numbers as you talk to people and you should have the booth staffed with enough people that someone is available to talk to anyone who wants to talk to you.  But that limits you to just those people willing to stop and talk.  Some folks are shy.  You should have forms available for prospects to fill out requesting an estimate.



Prize Drawing


You can collect additional names and addresses by offering a drawing for a prize – but not just any prize.  Keep it lawn or landscape related and of some value such as a free year's lawn care service.  Make it significant, but not so much so that it attracts everyone who may or may not be a prospect.

You can put any kind of caveats on the entry form, but keep it simple: Name, address, city, state, zip, phone and email address.  List plainly when the drawing will be held.  You may then call back everyone that entered and/or send them a post card.  (Keep in mind that your immediate closing rate on the prize drawing names will not be very good, but these names and addresses will have just climbed up a tier in your marketing universe pyramid and are great prospects for the future.)  (Read more about: TARGET MARKETING)

Don't do the drawing at the show, but back at the office where you can control the situation. You don't necessarily want a winner that lives two states away.  Make sure that your drawing complies with all federal and state laws concerning such promotions.



Staffing Your Booth


  • A 10 x 10 booth should have 2 people AT ALL TIMES and at least one more available if booth traffic warrants it.


  • No FOOD in the booth!!!


  • No CHAIRS in the booth-- staff members should be standing all the time while staffing the exhibit


  • Plan for a 10 minute break every hour for each person.


  • Limit conversations with prospects to 3 - 5 minutes maximum if at all possible.  Acknowledge new visitors immediately as they enter the booth area and mention you'll be with them in just a minute.  Try to politely break off conversations with prospects at the 4 minute mark.


  • Staffers need more than just a good smile and friendly disposition: they need product knowledge.


  • Don’t over-promise – honesty isn't just the best policy, it's the only one.


  • Be good listeners and good note takers.


  • Remember why you are there – stay focused on the goal of the show: to get as many qualified leads to run within your marketing geography as possible.




Declining Results


Over the last few years we've seen a reduction in home and garden show attendance.  There could be a lot of reasons for this, but one reason for the declining numbers is the internet.


Home and garden shows were unique in that they provided a venue for homeowners to see a variety of related products and services that they might need for their home – all in one place.  Today, you can find almost anything you’re looking for on the internet, so one of the attractions to these kinds of shows has been eliminated.  However, you cannot touch and feel products on the internet, nor can you talk to the people whose service you might be interested in buying and many consumers prefer this personal interaction.  Home and garden show can still be a viable source for lawn and landscape leads.  Test and track the results.





Skyline Exhibits

Trade Show Central