YOU DID IT! You survived Vegas. But your work is far from done. If you did Vegas right, your email is sure to be inundated with an overwhelming number of proposals, purchase orders, and presentations. If you find yourself silently freaking out and thinking to yourself “Now what?” or “Where do I even begin?”, you are not alone. Post-Vegas Panic is real, and I am here to help.
As tempting as sleeping the entire flight home may be, take that time instead to organize yourself while your memory is still fresh. Pull out all the pamphlets, business cards and information you received during the show. Sort through them and put all the materials that belong to one vendor together. Be sure to jot down any mental notes you have that will help you in the weeks to come. Categorize your materials based on the following criteria.
1. Definite Buys – These are hot leads that you want to be sure to address ASAP. Maybe you found a particular piece or vendor that you want exclusivity with, or there are pieces you selected for replenishment. The longer you wait, the less likely you are to strike a deal or snatch the products the vendor has available to ship.
2. Potential Buys – These are pieces and vendors that need more thought or information before confirming a purchase. Maybe you asked for a proposal from two different vendors on a similar item and now you want to compare pricing, quality, etc., or you want to negotiate the terms.
3. Save for Later – These are vendors or pieces that you know do not work for your store right now, but you want to look into them when the time is right. For example, you found a vendor that has price-point goods designs that would be perfect for your Valentine’s Day catalog, but Valentine’s Day is still far enough away that you have not included it in your budget.
When you arrive home, you’ll already be a step ahead of the competition and you can hit the ground running. First things first, you want to make those Definite Buys a top priority. While closing those deals on your Definite Buys, file your Save for Laters before they get mixed in with everything else you are working on.
After securing the Definite Buys, revisit your numbers and adjust your budget to reflect the amount that your vendors confirmed they would buy back during the show and your Definite Buys. Go vendor by vendor, making sure your potential buys are within your budget. Work with your current showcase layout and confirm they are distinct from what you currently offer. Remember: Do not be afraid to ask for longer terms, memo options, or negotiate pricing!
At this point, you are most likely exhausted, and the vendors are probably breathing down your neck every minute of the day. While it is important to respect their time and effort, don’t forget that making smart buying decisions your priority because it sets a precedent for the year to come.