Attending a home expo can be a daunting task for any homeowner, especially when you want to find the right contractor for your project, your budget, and your timeframe. Below are some tips to making the home expo a success for you and the exhibitors.
Write down the names of those you’d like to talk to then check your schedule to make sure you can allocate plenty of time to speak to them. The Expo tends to get busy on Saturday between 9am – 2pm so give yourself extra time in case you have to go back by the booth if they are busy.
Your ticket is good for both days!
Check them out on social media. Check out their website, Google, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. But remember not all businesses have a big social media presence as it takes a lot of time and money. Look for honest reviews, pictures of work done, and ask your friends for referrals if they’ve had similar work done.
Gather plenty of business cards, or create a 3x5 card with your contact information, project description, timeframe, and budget range. If you have pictures from magazines, renderings, or even ‘cocktail napkin’ drawings, this will help the vendor understand what you are wanting.
Have an idea of your ‘must haves’ versus the things that can be negotiated – if your budget is firm but your timeline is flexible, let them know that.
Consider your time at the booth a ‘speed date’. Share an overview of your project but don’t expect to be able to go in depth during the event. Giving them your 3x5 card shows them you’ve put a lot of thought into it, are considerate of their time, and gives you a way to stand out from the crowd.
Ask for their business card and ask them how they would like you to follow up with them. Many of the vendors are small businesses and don’t have the staff to follow up on everyone they met at the show.
Make sure to discuss the most important factors – budget, timeframe, etc.
Get a second opinion. If there is a second or third vendor in the same field at the Expo, go ahead and talk to them. Give them the information you gave your first choice, knowing that it never hurts to get a second opinion. Knowing your ‘must haves’ versus your negotiables may open an opportunity that the first vendor couldn’t meet.
Have fun! The Expo offers something for everyone! There will be a Lego House contest, an incredible selection of items in the Silent Auction, non-profits like Habitat for Humanity, trades education, and more!
Within a few days of the Expo, send a ‘thank you’ email summarizing what you discussed, and include:
any additional information they might have asked for (measurements, pictures)
any changes/modifications based on the discussion at the event
let them know that you look forward to hearing from them and offer several dates/times for an in-home consultation as well.
Taking this initiative to follow up shows your continued interest in doing business with them.
If you are concerned that you might not hear back from them, consider sending the same type of email to your second choice as well.
We look forward to seeing you at the show! Check out the current exhibitors, events at the Expo, and get your tickets at www.nrvhomeexpo.com. Use code whattoexpect to save $2 on the Early Bird ticket price!