All that planning - and it goes by soooo quickly! Surtex 2011 is in the books, and now the real work (well...more of it begins) As you have heard many, many times now, doing the shows is ALL about the follow up. So this is what I have been doing and will continue to do for the next few weeks. However, after that Niki and I are cooking up some fun new adventures, so stay tuned!
So last year, there was Confessions, and now the Updated version. This year I would like to share with you a few things that I chose to do a bit differently after my first time experience of 2010
1. Enlist Help!! I did. I could not have reached all my goals this year without the fabulous Niki. Let's face it preparing for a show is a ton of work. Add to that one (or in some cases all) of the following: maintaining current clients, creating new (tons) work, working a full-time job, raising young children, etc etc., and one can very easily and quickly reach a boiling point. Luckily for me I am doing this full-time, and have no young children. Yet even still - the lists spawn lists in the early spring, and it is really difficult to keep up. Don't be afraid to ask for help! Husband, brother, kid next door, an intern. If there is anyone available and willing to help, take them up one it! You don't have to be Shiva or a martyr. The people around you love and support you, so take advantage! You can always hire help as well. Maybe this is not feasible yet for your business long term, but think about swinging it just for a couple of weeks before the show. Just thoughts...
2. Don't under estimate the power of physical collateral. I know it is an email, paperless world, but we are all still human right? There is nothing, and I mean nothing that beats getting a hand written personal note. Along the same lines, it really can make a big impact to get a physical piece of collateral into an art director's hands. They then have something to show others, take to meetings, put on a bulletin board to remember. You want them to think - "we MUST be sure to make it to this one". I did not have the time to execute this last year, and I am so happy I did this year.
3. ABC is good, but ABL is better. Have you ever heard about the number one rule of selling dubbed ABC - Always Be Closing? This is a great rule for sales, but we are in the relationship business, and ABL - Always Be Listening is a much better rule. Although I am very proud of my first showing last year, there were definitely some holes in my catalog. I listened well, and made sure to have these bases covered this year. My collection was much more complete for the types of manufacturers who are interested my work. I took the constructive suggestions, and made it work for me. AND, it dosen't stop there. This year I learned even more ways that I can stay true to myself, and continue to push things forward. I already have tons of ideas for new work. Listening to the client and really hearing their needs is one of the most important things you can do to take advantage of the face time you get at the show.
Well, that's that. Whew! Until next year...happy creating!
***All images courtesy the always fabulous Tara Reed!