November '18

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 23 of 135

18 THE SHOP NOVEMBER 2018 with manufacturers you might like to work with, walking into a booth with a beer in hand or alcohol on your breath doesn't convey your desire to be that supplier's representative. While you may think that any time you're not in your shop is the right time to kick back and relax with an adult beverage, refrain from imbibing until all your busi- ness is done for the day. The larger the event, the longer you need to look sharp and maintain your edge. If you have an opportunity to discuss numbers with a manufacturer or WD, are you going to be able to calculate percentage points in your head or compare the costs you incur by buying deeper to get the dis- count you want? The same can be said for bringing friends, non-essential personnel or even a spouse or significant other that's not involved in the business to what may be your only oppor- tunity to meet with that manufacturer or their rep firm. If you wouldn't include them in a business meeting in your office, why would you think it's OK to have them accompany you to an event where your main goal is to secure new or better lines, and to establish your shop as the best at what you do in your market? WORK YOUR PLAN It's not difficult to plan ahead, find out who the players are and ask to meet with someone who has the ability to sign you up as a dealer/installer. Through SEMA or your contacts, you can discover whom you need to see. Delve into their Facebook and LinkedIn profiles or other business sites to get better acquainted with those key contacts. Know their name and title and try to familiarize yourself with what they look like and their background. You may realize that you both grew up in the same area, attended the same col- lege or share an affinity for the same sports team. This is information you can use to break the ice and start a conversation with something other than a pitch they've heard all day long from every other shop. Don't allow sales associates to screen you out and keep you away from the regional sales manager, business development head or even the vice-president of sales if you feel you need to reach that level in order to accomplish your goal. Make an appoint- ment well ahead of time and be considerate of them in allowing ample time in between appointments to get to the next one. Call or at least text if you think you're going to be late. You should also establish a meeting hier- archy to determine which are the most important, and how you can see as many companies as needed in an expedient, methodical way. You don't want to be crossing back and forth at a fairgrounds or exhibit hall, exhausting yourself and increasing the chances that you'll miss a meeting. Schedule the most important meetings as early in the day as possible, so that you're on your game. Later in the day, you can see if you still have time to chat with other companies that are lower on your priority list. If you find yourself wandering into a display for rooftop tents when you're a rod builder or watching a Hoonigan video when you should be on your way to an appointment, you're definitely not working your plan. You're allowing the marketing dollars being spent by vendors outside your area of concentration to distract you from your intended targets, and you're wasting your valuable time. BRING IT! You see what happens when sports teams you follow bring their A game, don't you? If they play through the entire competition with the same intensity and don't let up, good things usually happen. The same thing can be said for you and your shop. Manufacturers spend lots of money on their displays, collateral mate- rials, signage and even lighting designed to attract you and your investment in their products. If there is a particular line or brand you want in your store, why not employ many of the same tactics they use to get their business? Dress for success— leave your old T-shirts behind. When making contacts at shows, finding the right per- son is critical.

Articles in this issue

view archives of THE SHOP - November '18