It’s been five years since your last open house. You’ve added customers and the personnel at many existing clients have changed. A lot of your customers don’t know much about you or your competencies. In the past five years, you’ve changed, your people, products, and path aren’t the same as five years ago. It’s time to show your clients who you are and what you do.
What Comes First?
The first order of business is a complete and thorough house cleaning. Next, all employees should be given expectations of dress, how to interact with visitors, and open house hours. After that, plan your tour and educate the staff responsible for conducting the tour.
What’s the Purpose of an Open House?
Is it to add revenue? To show prospects your capabilities and to inform existing customers what else you have to offer? To share what problems you solve? If that’s the case, then you’ve answered the first question about conducting an open house tour, which is…
Who Should Conduct Tours?
If lead generation is the goal then sales, customer service, and possibly C-level staff should conduct the tours. This team will stay focused on lead development opportunities.
How Often Should Tours be Conducted?
It depends on the number of visitors, and the length of the tour, and how many tour guides are available. However, the most important point is to make it easy and convenient for visitors to take a tour. I suggest tours be conducted at least every 30 minutes, and to have activities for guests while they await the next tour. At our last open house, we had visitors register, which entered them in a door prize drawing and they received a bag and TKO pen – plus when they completed a small survey they received a TKO ball cap.
What Should the Tour Route Include?
The tour should include all products, manufacturing, and installation. As well as design and personnel that interact with customers such as customer service representatives. Whenever possible it should be planned to show work in progress, for example at TKO, even though the open house went beyond regular shift hours, we had every machine in operation as well as installers wrapping vehicles in our installation bay.
Who Else Can Help with the Tour?
Department managers should be available in their area to give a brief explanation of their department’s work and to answer questions. If a department manager is pulled away or busy, the tour guide should fill in with a brief talk about the department. What should the tour guides discuss? At TKO, we provided and rehearsed outlines to highlight each department. For example, here’s the outline for our digital print department.
- Easy to print multiple colors, design, vectors
- Ability to print short runs w/o added cost
- Speed of turbo – print 53” trailer in an hour
- Flatbed UV – examples of thicker substrates
- Color calibration daily – advantage for the future work
How Should the Tour End?
The best way to end the tour is to direct visitors to other activities. At TKO’s last open house we provided refreshments, activities, and music. We ended by giving each guest a card from our president Tom Taulman.
“Thank you for taking the time out of your busy day to join us. It is appreciated, and I hope you find it worthwhile. If you haven’t visited TKO before, or it’s been a while – we’ve changed. Not only have we grown in large format print with the addition of modern equipment, but we’ve added new divisions. Our goal is to be your one-stop marketing shop. Many of you have been long time loyal customers who have trusted us with your graphics needs – now we can help you with more. We hope you meet Jack Woodward while you’re here. He leads our TKO Marketing Solutions promotional product division with 30 years of experience. Lee Faulkner also brings more than 30 years of experience to our TKO Signs division. Be sure to take some time to visit with Lee and Jack. Please join us for lunch and dinner then stick around for music and drinks under the tent. We plan to have a good time. Best Wishes, Tom”
Are you Ready to Open Your House?
Have you considered conducting an open house tour at your place of business? Do you know who you’d invite and what you’d highlight on your tour? If you have any questions about planning an open house tour, don’t hesitate to Contact Us. We’d be happy to walk you through it.