Over 150 exhibitors will be gathered this October 16-18 at IFTD in Denver. Their primary reason for attending? Getting face-time with you, the backbone of the fly fishing industry. So it’s no surprise that over 150 shops from 23 countries are already pre-registered. Hopefully you’re one of them.
The show has evolved over the last decade in response to a changing industry, focusing more on collaborative efforts to improve business and less on simply covering product lines.
“I have chatted with some of the other dealers that don’t attend and they tend to get stuck on the idea that it is just about looking at product,” says Jin Choi from St. Peter’s Fly Shop in Fort Collins, CO. “I try to give them different ideas because the show has changed.” To help you get ready for IFTD in Denver, Jin shares how historical perspective and good relationships help improve his business.
Come with solutions, not complaints: We definitely do some of our homework before the show by looking at sales reports for the vendors we are meeting. We will also look at the major product categories to see if there are declines that we need to be aware so that we can have some discussions on possible causes and solutions. Many times, after a major discontinuation by a vendor we can see some of these declines and let them know how the timing and volume take a toll in our numbers. Coming to the table numbers and with possible solutions for the future is always more productive that flat complaints.
The value of connections: It’s a good idea to meet with some of the VP’s or CEO’s of some our major vendors so that we have a connection with many of the decision makers. Having this connection is important when asking for some extra help with some of our promotions and events. This is not to try and go around our Rep for communication, but there are some questions that come up during the season that you would like to ask directly. We also try to set up ways to help get their products in the hands of our staff beyond the pro-form method. During these discussions you may come to some agreements on programs/outlines and it is important to follow up with emails to solidify the connection and agreements. These emails can be a great reference for following years and help build the rapport for future meetings.
Your business matters: We keep the sheets from previous preseason programs from the manufacturers and compare them to the upcoming programs. It is important to carefully look through these to see the differences from year to year. If you can identify things that may affect your numbers for the coming season, you may be able to ask for some kind of concession in another area to balance things out. Although much of the buying is over with it can be a good place to discuss how these program changes make a big difference in the numbers for small businesses.