12 Tips for Killing it at the NACDS Total Store Expo

Making a great impression at the NACDS Total Store Expo is very important. Drawing on his years of real world experience attending this show, David Biernbaum has put together a list of 12 tips to help you make the most of your time at NACDS and form strong relationships to increase interest and placement of your brand.

  1. If your broker can be at a meeting with an account he or she has a relationship with, take him or her with you!
  2. Don’t ask buyers, “Where are you located and how many stores do you have?”  This indicates you have not done your homework and don’t know the industry. You lose credibility at the very start and buyers will have no confidence in you. Do your homework or check with me to know and understand who you’ll be meeting at the show.
  3. Be prepared for short 10-minute meetings and don’t be late. Don’t waste time with small talk. Introduce yourself, make a brief elevator pitch about your company and get right to your presentation. Be sure to include some visuals to show your understanding about the product category and business model. Know your costs, SRP’s, and all the basics.  Retailers hate when new suppliers are not prepared for a meaningful discussion.
  4. Carry samples, but don’t be clumsy with too many. Walk the room with a few samples (for show and tell) and bring a simple, user-friendly presentation. Discuss with me if you need suggestions.
  5. Take plenty of notes. Buyers appreciate it when you take what they say seriously. If they offer criticism or suggestions, DO NOT interrupt and become defensive! You can offer more information when they are not talking. Listen carefully and actively!
  6. Most buyers do NOT want samples with them at Meet the Market. Get their business cards and offer to send samples after the show. People don’t like to travel with too many things.
  7. Have a productive meeting and ask the buyer to visit your booth. Write down your booth number on the back of your business card! (Do this before the event!)
  8. Don’t waste time during the meeting looking up prices or searching for details. Have it all on a nice, professionally prepared summary you can refer to and leave behind.
  9. Sell your product, but be sure to also sell your company, team, capacity, capabilities and PLAN!  (Sell your team!  Buyers need to know it’s not just YOU! Buyers like to buy from companies not individuals.)  Be cognizant not to say “I, me, my, etc.—say “We!”
  10. If you’re using a laptop, make sure you have plenty of battery power. There are no plugs in the middle of the floor.
  11. When your 10 minutes are over, be prepared to leave the table. Don’t hold up their next meeting and don’t be late to YOUR next meeting!
  12. Know the difference between wholesalers and retailers. Don’t talk to wholesalers about stores; they don’t have stores! Talk to them about their retail chain customers and know which ones they sell. If they sell independents, know they do not control the POG’s. In other words, know the business of the company you are talking to!  Most will not do business with someone who doesn’t. It’s NOT their job to teach you!