The showroom will continue to play a major role in marketing most home improvement products. Creating and managing a showroom, though, can be more complicated than it seems. Poorly managed, the showroom can fast become a costly and inefficient means of marketing.
Location is Pivotal Locating in or near a high-traffic area such as a mall or shopping center will promote showroom traffic. Yet, you'll likely be in a high-rent district and may have to build or remodel to meet local retail standards.
The other approach is to locate in an industrial area, one without retail traffic. While the investment for rent, maintenance, parking, etc., may be less, you'll need more advertising to compensate for the lack of local traffic.
Why it's Worth it Regardless of location, a showroom site has to be promoted through advertising, personal contact, and a Web site.
Why are showrooms worth the fuss and bother? Showroom leads are usually of the highest quality. Personnel can be rewarded for appropriate appointment setting, presentation rates, and other achievements.
The well-planned showroom also provides a means for selling “one leggers” and rehashed prospects, provided that sales methods are in place for these purposes.
Recovery Marketing Another dimension of the showroom is the use of “open house” events and special promotions. You can now invite previous customers who can be upsold, past leads (presented or otherwise), and neighbors near ongoing jobs to special programs at your facility. Not only can you generate and qualify new leads, you can also recover leads or business that might otherwise be lost.
To be successful with a showroom, plan carefully, taking into account the many facets of this modern marketing technique. In Part 2 I will talk about how to successfully staff and run your showroom. —Dave Yoho (www.daveyoho.com) is president of the oldest and largest consulting group serving the home improvement industry. His newest book, Have a Great Year Every Year, is available in bookstores or by calling his office: 703.591.2490.