Preparing for the Trade Shows

We all know the importance of going to a trade show with a plan, a map, and a specific list of items to accomplish.  But how often do you end up at the show with not much more than a list of new vendors that you might like to see?  In an effort to make your upcoming shows as beneficial as possible here are a few items you should gather before going.  Go ahead and pull your inventory and sales information to work through this check list.

Prior to the Show

Step 1
Determine your total open to buy.  Divide this number between existing vendors and new product (about 20% should go towards new product)
Step 2
Identify your top twenty gross profit-producing vendors, focus energies here first.
Step 3
Identify which quick sellers you are currently out of and need to replace with all vendors.
Step 4
Identify the old product you want to exchange.  Consider how much additional investment you will need to make to exercise the exchange.
Step 5
Match these necessary orders for all vendors to your open to buy.
Step 6
Set an appointment to see each of these vendors allowing yourself time to accomplish your goals
 (approx. 1-2 hours with each)

At the Show

Step 1
Work negotiations with each vendor. 
   For example: exchange policy, timely delivery, co-op advertising, training, terms, and cash discount.  Remember that vendor negotiations are a sales presentation on your part to explain the benefit of doing business with you.
Step 2
Be sure to ask each vendor for advertising materials that you might utilize and even an item to be given away at a special event.
Step 3
Write orders as ‘hold for confirmation’ if you are not 100% confident of the complete order, this gives you the opportunity to regroup at the end of the trip.
Step 4
Look for new product --- this should be a main reason for going to a show.

Enjoy yourself and the opportunity to network. The trade show should give you insight on growing your business.  Make the most of it!