In this issue of the Executive Report, we will discuss how successful remodeling contractors use Showrooms to generate serious leads and help them sell more product.
Now, back to this idea of Showrooms. Most home improvement contractors do not utilize Showrooms. But, when you think about some of the largest and most successful home improvement contractors you know, do they have a Showroom, or even multiple Showrooms? My guess is that they do.
Please let me tell you my first thought on Showrooms – they are perpetual lead generators. While they involve some upfront cost – most of which can be a one-time thing if done with good planning – once they are in place, they serve as a way to generate leads, a place to build relationships with prospective customers, and a method of setting yourself above the competition. Over time, they will become a very “low cost – high value” part of your overall business.
A good Showroom will be easy for your prospects to find and, through signage, may invite some folks to just see you and stop by. If you have a Showroom, you must keep someone available on staff to greet visitors and to walk them through the Showroom and engage them in your ongoing sales process. The Showroom should show your products in realistic settings. For roofing, you will want to create steep slope displays that come down near the floor and show as much roof expanse as possible.
Proper installation of the displayed products is critical because every detail will be very visible to visitors. The slightest imperfection will turn off prospective customers, even though they may never tell you that. As you know, many customers are curious how various things like valleys, gables, hips, skylights, and chimneys will be handled. Be sure to include these in your displays. Make sure the roof panels are staggered and placed properly and do not try to get “cute” by combining multiple colors on one display – keep the displays looking as realistic as possible. Additionally, keep your displays clean. A dusty display really turns people off and tells them you don’t care about details!
Most people who visit your Showroom will be folks who are researchers. They will often be a little older or perhaps someone who does not work outside their home. People see a Showroom visit as a situation where they can be in control of when they come and go and what they do. For many folks, it is far far less intimidating to visit a Showroom than it is to call someone or invite them to their home. This alone can you tap you into leads you would not generate in any other way.
Here are other things to consider regarding Showrooms.
Signage. You need exterior signage letting folks know you have a Showroom, and stating what your hours are. Interior signage should tell them what colors and products they are looking at as they go through your Showroom. Banners or other large signs can detail product benefits. If you use these signs also in your home show displays, be sure to return them to your Showroom immediately after the show as home shows often increase your Showroom traffic for a few days. Include signs that show your company owners and tell your company story.
Photos. Display photos showing some of your past projects. Include photos of your satisfied customers and even quotes from them on the photos. Once Showroom visitors see that you have customers who look a lot like themselves, they will gain a comfort level for working with your company.
Interaction. Have displays or models that prospects can touch and feel. You want to engage as many of their senses as possible. Your team member who is running the Showroom should stay with guests as they walk through the Showroom. Roofing products are not something that homeowners need to be alone to discuss – they will not be making a final decision that day in all likelihood (though be prepared to allow them to do so if they choose!). Your knowledgeable salesperson needs to be there to tell your company story as they walk around the Showroom.
Installers. Make sure that your Showroom features your installers. This can be done in many ways. Show photos of roofs being installed. Have a wall filled with Installer of the Month photos. Have your company’s safety record posted for all to see. Homeowners know that they will spend more time with the installers than anyone else form your company – use the Showroom as a way to help them understand who will be at their home.
Hours. If you invest in a Showroom, make sure that it is open during hours that are convenient for your customers. Evenings and weekends are a big help. You also might consider a regularly scheduled time for “Showroom Tours.” Your Showroom will always be available for visitors but if you promote a couple of times a week for a special “open to the public guided tour with a free gift at the end,” you will break down one chief barrier toward someone visiting a Showroom. That barrier is the fear someone will push them hard for a sale. If they are coming for a tour when others will be there, they will feel less intimidated. A scheduled tour gives them a comfort level they do not have with just stopping by.
Overall Experience. You want to show prospective customers that you care about details. This includes the beauty of your displays and the cleanliness of your facility. It includes the friendliness and even the clothes of your team member who works the Showroom. And, consider keeping a pleasant fragrance in the Showroom – not something overwhelming or perfume-smelling, but a very light seasonal potpourri scent can be inviting, calming, and memorable.
Visualizer. Be prepared to use online software to help the prospect see what your product will look like on their home. Many homeowners will have access to photos of their homes. Offering to show them what the roof will look like on their home can be a huge service to them as well as a relationship builder.
Next Step. Every Showroom visitor should be presented with “Next Step” options before they leave. That can start with a coupon they can use for a future discount since they stopped by. You can also offer a visit to their home or a rough estimate using pictometry software. Get creative in what you offer – if they walk out of your Showroom and you never hear from them again, they might as well have not visited in the first place. Have several methods of “continuing the conversation” with them. At the very least, get them signed up for your company’s e-newsletter.
Yes, it takes time and some upfront cost to build a Showroom. You also need the space for it. But, once it is in place, it will be an integral and critical component of your company’s marketing and lead generation.
If you’re ever considering a metal roofing showroom, please contact me. I can show you pictures of other showrooms and, of course, provide display products free of charge.
Todd Miller has spent his entire career in the metal building products manufacturing industry. He is president of Isaiah Industries, an organization recognized as one of the world’s leading metal roofing manufacturers. Todd is currently Vice President of the MRA (Metal Roofing Association) and a Past Chair of MCA (Metal Construction Association). Through his website, he strives to raise the bar on standards and practices to provide property owners with the best possible products for successful roofing projects.
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