The best thing to do to prepare for Market is to start planning now! There is an excellent formula for buying success in the previously published blog, Utilizing Your Rep. Take a look at that, and follow along with these additional strategies:
- As stated in “Utilizing Your Rep,” you will want to make appointments with trusted salespeople. The mark of an excellent sales rep is someone who is prepared for your appointment, and not simply shooting from the hip. They anticipate your questions, and the time frame you will need.
- In terms of timing, making two appointments a day, and staging them three hours apart, makes for a successful market plan. Most appointments will last between an hour to an hour and a half. Three hours between appointments gives you plenty of time to run late within an appointment, and then to find your way to the new appointment. This way, if you see something you like along the way to your next meeting, you have the time built in to allow yourself to stop and purchase what you see. Two appointments per day still gives you time at the end of the day to place any last minute additions to your schedule.
- It is easy to get distracted at Market, but you must prioritize your appointments! Meet with the most important sales people for your store. These important people should include reps for your two or three largest vendors, as well as what we can refer to as “stocking” agencies, which are agencies that carry multiple lines for your store.
- Another excellent trick is to schedule your appointments around meals! The Mart can be a difficult place when it comes to grabbing a quick meal. The limited eateries within the building often have long lines during meal times, and can be a pricey option. You can schedule a breakfast and a lunch appointment, or even anticipate your meals by calling ahead to find out what your vendors are serving.
- Invest your time wisely! You can easily save yourself nearly an entire day at the show if you do some work ahead of time to write restocking orders and come prepared. A sales rep could easily HFC (Hold for Confirmation) the order for you prior to Market, and meeting time can be used to simply review and confirm. Doing this restocking before you hit your deep discount sale season is best.
- At the show, it’s important to look to your trusted vendors for items you need to fill holes in your store. Simultaneously, you can have your reps pull up the orders youHFC’d and confirm them. By reviewing these orders, you also have a chance to cancel off some of the reorders to replace them with new styles. Make sure you see to it that you take advantage of any show specials.