“Plan Your Work, Work Your Plan” – part 2

In the last post, we talked about honing your Sales Plan going in to Toyfair.  Getting familiar with Key Accounts before the show is critical.  Do it now.

The next nugget: Be a “channel surfer”.  Regardless of the size Channel surf stores of account, several different retail channels are represented at Toyfair.  Even if you don’t know specifics about an account, you should at least understand the channel(s) in which they play.  Toy stores have different concerns than general gift stores.  Booksellers have a different business model than department stores. 

And cataloguers, of which there will be many in attendance, have a different set of rules altogether.  Learn a bit about each retail channel beforehand so you can make informed recommendations as they come through your booth.  Get to know a bit of the lingo: catalogs have “drops”, booksellers like product that’s “on wheels”, some gift stores like “P.O.P. displays”.  Understanding how each channel differs helps you understand how to best serve them.  “What type of store do you have?” is a great first question.

Just make sure you are prepared with the right offering for the channel - whether it's product, program, special shipping configurations, container quantites, etc.  And if you don't have a fit, don't be afraid to say so.  As an example, some of our clients aren't set up to service department stores.  It would cost them more to modify their policies or products than they would realize in new revenew.  Better to be up front with a retailer than set both parties up for disappointment in six months. Gather information on new channels at the show – now you have an excuse to follow up in a few weeks.

Next time, how to "play the Matchmaker”…

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