How To Make Every Architect Trade Show A Lead Generation Success

architect trade show lead generation

Recently, I had a new client express frustration because their firm wasn't getting any leads after attending an architect trade show or home show. This is a common problem. I hear it from a lot of our clients (the architects, landscape architects and designers that learn the fundamentals of marketing an architecture firm with us).

Today I want to go over how to increase lead generation success when attending a trade or home show. I had a question come in from that client. Here, I'm sharing my response. My goal is to ensure that next time you take part in a trade show, you'll know what to do to get more leads than you can handle, just like our clients.

Question from Chris: Architect Trade Shows

As new clients of the Architect Marketing Institute, we are seeking to greatly increase the number and quality of leads for residential projects. During a webinar, I recall the *case study of Mona Quinn who, at a trade show, obtained 140 leads over one weekend. That’s quite different from our experience fourteen years ago when our firm set-up a booth at a local home show and, despite the handsome display of projects, we did not get a single lead. We swore we’d never do another one again.

Knowing about Mona’s success, we are considering attending a home show next month but want to make sure that we have the right tool(s) for getting those leads. My understanding is that Mona used a Monkey’s Fist to attract the potential clients. What was that monkey’s fist? Was it, “7 Seven Mistakes People Make When Renovating“?

We’d love some direction/assistance with how to turn this home show experience into a very productive one. If last year’s list of exhibitors is any indicator, we anticipate that we’ll be the only architect present.

Thanks in advance.


(*See the case study of Mona Quinn in our article on The Architect Marketing System that Works. Another AMI article outlines how you can create your own Monkey's Fist that get's results.)

Part 1 of Richard's Answer: Architect Trade Shows

Hi Chris,

Welcome aboard! This is a great question (and one we get asked a lot).

First, Mona Quinn did use a Monkey's Fist (a custom architect lead generation tool we teach our clients) called “7 Mistakes People Make When Renovating.” Although she didn't give it out at the trade show, she did take orders for it with a promise to post it later. She included a small sign that said, “Sorry- I'm out of reports because they’ve been so popular. Leave your details and I will send you a copy when I get more printed next week.” 

You would do well to have a bit of swag or other fun giveaways, so you can get attendee's contact details (such as email and physical address) in order to follow up. You can then send the Monkey's Fist digitally or via mail and can then maintain consistent contact through the methods we teach.

We've had several clients with the very same experiences. Then, once they learned how to market appropriately for their niche and produced the necessary materials, they attended another trade show armed with a Monkey's Fist (such as the Project Planning Pack) and were able to dramatically increase the number of leads they received.

Part 2 of Richard's Answer: Make it Educational

It's important to remember that people don't need to see images of buildings to feel compelled to work with you. Make your trade show display a problem solving/educational center. Instead of houses, you can have banners that offer to solve specific questions or challenges. That is what genuine prospects need and how you'll receive a steady flow of viable leads.

Instead of handing out business cards, offer tools and resources and the ability for prospective clients to book a 15-minute appointment to get advice direct from you, the expert. This is a great stepping stone into the alternative to the free consultation and the potential client discovers the upfront value in speaking with you and all the benefits of paying for your expertise.

The project planning pack is a simple, yet highly effective, lead generation tool I've developed that is a type of worksheet for potential clients who are planning a project. It's been highly successful for our architect clients learning how to market their architecture and/or design firms. For more information on the project planning pack, you can schedule a one-on-one session with the trainers at AMI.

In summary, have a ‘problem-solving' stand rather than a ‘look at our stuff' stand.

Hope this helps – Happy Marketing!


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