Challenge us – we expect you to. In fact, we like to challenge you back, because this is the only way for us both to find out if we can work together on campaigns that take you where you want to go.

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Sunday Soundbite

How to sell to retailers after NRF

Here’s my list of actions for vendors who were at NRF this week.

Rethink your messaging

Reinventing, reimagining or redesigning retail does not resonate with retailers who have a specific set of challenges facing them right now. Apart from the fact that sticking ‘re-‘ on the front of a word is a three-year-old idea, this kind of messaging contains no value proposition. Much better to focus on: how will life be better for your customers after you have done your work?

Stop reading this blog, and focus on following up on all those leads

You will have had a number of meaningful conversations at NRF that have no doubt given you a warm feeling. But believe me, now that most visitors are either at home, or well on their way, by Monday, they will have forgotten all about you. Find out now what is real, and what is imagined.

Address their needs

In other words, stop talking about technology and invest more time in finding out what your prospects’ challenges are. No one cares what the name of your latest product is, or that you just published a report, or that you just did some research, or that you just acquired a competitor. This is merely white noise in the background to the real story.

Get to work on partnerships

Take time to work out which of the conversations you had with potential partners are real, and which are not. Partnerships are more important than ever in a world where retailers need much simpler routes to getting things done, and not having to manage multiple relationships. But the truth is, most partnerships are based on a dream rather than a shared commitment to generating new opportunities.

Get sales and marketing together after the show to discuss actions

Sales teams tend to take the leads after a show and just start hitting the phone and email. But it makes sense for both parties to do further qualification and determine the best way to keep the comms up. Just sending out an email thanking retailers for stopping by carries no value at all. Hatching a plan for presenting a united front to each lead does.

Review your collateral, or lack of

It is common for vendors to put a whole bunch of stuff together for a show that has little or no value after the show. Sure, the budget took a massive hit buying 3 sqm of carpet and throwing up a few panels, but the sales journey really begins now, and prospects need to start seeing you often and everywhere. Otherwise, why did you go to all that effort to get them on your stand?

Celebrate the fact that most visitors to NRF 2018 appeared to be in ‘buy mode’

But remember also that many of those visitors, particularly the large retailers, are looking at 2019 budget. NRF is two days out of a whole year, so this is a real test of your stamina to stay in touch, stay relevant, and watch how their buying journey changes throughout the year.

NRF 2018 took place at the Jacob K Javits Convention Centre in New York, 14th to 16th January, 2018.


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