Best I can tell, that quote is contributed to Margaret Thatcher, British Prime Minister from 1979 – 1990. Pretty smart lady, although she doesn’t strike me as the sales type. Her quote, however, should serve as a core value for every professional sales person. And in our industry, no other event calls for “working the plan” like Toyfair.
Many young companies show up to Toyfair with little or no sales plan. Not surprising, considering how steep the learning curve is just to get a booth, product, shelving, and warm bodies to Javits Center in February. Many first-time exhibitors are entrepreneurs rather than seasoned salespeople. And those brand new to the industry may not even know who their real customers are until after their first show.
At the same time, I would venture to guess that even “veteran” companies come to Toyfair without a fully developed sales plan. Sure, they will know which new products to feature, which licenses they are promoting, and when new items are slated to ship. But do most returning exhibitors really have a sales PLAN? Probably not. But with a focused effort and a few key actions, you can.
Over the next few weeks, we’ll share our best “pre-call” tips for Toyfair. Here’s the first:
Know what makes a “Key Account” so key. You should know which retailers are attending the show well ahead of time. TIA publishes a list of attendees on their site, and the “Top 100” retail list can be found in numerous places online. Brush up on the top 25 accounts in the industry, especially if you have appointments with them. Even if you don’t have appointments, get familiar with the “big guys” by checking out their financials, brushing up on store count, catalog distribution, new initiatives, news releases, and their current product mix. Make a “cheat sheet”, do it in a spreadsheet, on index cards, whatever. Take an interest in key accounts’ business, in case they take an interest in yours.
This is the first step in understanding who your buyer truly is.
Next time: Be a "channel surfer".