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Preparing for Market with Rachel Retailer

From the desk of Rachel Retailer: From Rachels Desk

Market Season is here and it is time to visit our friends in Atlanta! I don’t know about you, but I cannot leave without making my checklist. Here is what mine looks like:

1. Create my top vendor list:

How? Run a sales report for the last 6 months and one for the last 12 months. List my top 15 vendors and look up their showroom numbers at the Mart. Sort the list by Building and Floor.

2. Create my schedule:

How? First I used my list of vendors, sorted by floor, and decided how much time I will need to spend in the different buildings. Then I decide which days I will be working in each area.

3. Travel!

Now that my schedule is set, it is time to book my travel! I start by checking prices at https://www.americasmart.com/travel.

4. Book my appointments:

Now that I know which days I will be in certain areas of the Mart, I can call to schedule appointments. First I call my top 5 vendors. Then I call my favorite two reps (if not in the top 5 vendors). I then look through the rest of my vendor list and decide if I need an appointment with the rest. I find that 2 appointments a day is great; I can always fit in another two or three if needed.

5. Don’t forget meals!

Check my schedule to make sure I am near showrooms with good food. The Link Showrooms have free lunches every day. They also have breakfast and dinner with appointments. It’s worth a repeat trip for me!

6. Did I send my sales and inventory reports to my appointments?

As soon as I make an appointment I send sales and inventory information to the sales person (if I trust them). I tell them to have a suggested order ready for me when I show up and I give them a budget that I expect to spend. Different sales people handle this differently but it will always save me time, and it keeps the appointment focused and on track.

7. Download the Americasmart App! This is the best way to find my way around.

8. Packing!

  • Wear Comfy Shoes! I can walk between 5 and 10 miles a day during market, and having shoes that can help stand up to that abuse is important.
  • A Big Bag! I tell myself every year that I am not going to collect paper and catalogs, but it always seems to happen.
  • This year, I am going to try and take pictures of displays and products that I like with the room/booth number as the next picture. I hope this helps me lower my paper collection as well as help me plan for the next day.
  • A Battery Pack. I bring at least one in case I need an extra charge for my phone.
  • My Notebook (obviously!)
  • Business cards. I never seem to bring enough cards so I am bringing 100 this time.

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