It never hurts to create a fresh stream of prospects.
One NARI member created a “lifestyle event” series to entice potential customers to visit the showroom. “A lifestyle event intertwines with how someone lives in their homes and the personal aspect of that,” says Cheryl Savit, marketing coordinator at Feinmann Inc., based in Lexington, Mass.
A “lifestyle event” could focus on nearly anything someone could do at home, including cooking, organizing, decorating or party planning. The key element of the event must focus on enhancing one’s unique lifestyle.
“We want people to think about the ways in which they use their spaces and how it reflects their personality and, in turn, dream about how their space could better reflect their truest self,” Savit says.
Books bring imagination to life
In February, as part the ongoing lifestyle event series Savit started in Feinmann’s five-year-old showroom, she invited her friend and novelist Nichole Bernier, author of “The Unfinished Work of Elizabeth D,” to host a reading.
Although the novel was unrelated to remodeling, the author discussed the imaginative process of character development, and how it relates to designing the various settings of the book to reflect each character’s personality.
“What fascinated me about the book is that she created very vivid settings for characters to live in,” Savit says, “and in order for these characters to be authentic, she had to build a fictional world as well.”
As Brenier read and discussed the characters and design details from the book, guests were able to glimpse at the design process, which is similar to the process homeowners experience in remodeling. Just like a book, remodels often start from a blank page and require intensive thought and self-reflection to take shape.
Don’t invite; entice
Although many people are interested in visiting a showroom and seeing options, most hesitate because they’re afraid of high pressure sales or questioning. The lifestyle events are designed to entice people to the showroom.
When Savit promotes her events, she blasts them across community calendars, press releases, advertisements in weeklies, social media, e-newsletters and posts flyers in public places around town. Similar to a bookstore reading, the intimate setting with an author was a big draw for those unfamiliar with Feimann.
Peter Feinmann, CR, and two designers were on hand to describe how they draw client personalities into the design process.
The majority of the nearly 30 attendees were fresh prospects. They also represented the target clientele: 35- to 55-year-old female homeowners with children. One interior designer attended after seeing the event in the newspaper.
“We purposely planned two events— one in the evening starting at 7 p.m. and one in the morning at 9:30 a.m. — to catch either the working moms or moms with children coming in after the pre-school drop off,” Savit says.
The evening event featured wine and hors d’oeurves, and the morning event featured coffee and breakfast. Guests also left with goodie bags filled with the company brochure, articles, design magazines, mugs, tape measures or candies.
“The event was everything I had hoped; it got people to the showroom, introduced them to us, and they left with a favorable impression,” Savit says.
Taking a page from the metric book
Two men who had pre-registered for the events were no-shows. Savit hopes to use the event evaluations to pinpoint whether there’s an opportunity to appeal to men. “Is a lifestyle event more geared toward women? Possibly, but then I want to know how to get men here, too,” she says.
The questionnaire has guests rate the events from 1 to 10, and tracks where they found out about the events, their name, age, address, list of social media sites that they use, preferred time of day to attend events, and whether they’re planning a renovation in the next year. She even lists new event ideas she’s thinking about, to measure their interest level in them.
Savit says the information is great for building a mailing lists but also a valuable tool for identifying what interests potential clients and how Feinmann can engage them further.
“I try for fun, creative events that are not what people expect. Because remodeling is so intertwined with how someone lives that we are constantly listening and interpreting what they want and we find a way to fulfill it,” Savit says. –Morgan Zenner
Have you hosted a lifestyle event in your showroom? Share your event at email@example.com.