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The party’s over, now the real work begins…

It was quite an event, without question a memorable one for me personally. At dawn on Friday, January 17th, I was crossing Katella Avenue after preparing for a vendor meeting at the Starbucks across from my hotel. In a freak accident, I was struck by a pickup truck and thrown to the curb. The laptop bag I carry on my right shoulder absorbed some of the impact, but I sustained bruised ribs, a badly sprained wrist, and some very nasty road rash. Thankfully no broken bones, and my computer still works despite a smashed screen after ending up under the front tire of the Dodge Ram. After three hours at a sketchy ER in Anaheim, I got to the convention hall in time to make my 11am appointment.

Blocking and tackling

I took a pounding at NAMM, but there’s work to do. After a trade show, especially one where you’re supporting multiple suppliers, there’s plenty to accomplish. Ideally, you’ve reviewed your notes and followed up on action items from booth meetings, sending out new price lists, dealer programs and “NAMM Specials”. That all happened for me in the two weeks since returning from the west coast, but there is a considerable amount of contact remaining. The basics of selling come into play in February, something of a restart as we move further into the first quarter. Keep in mind that while NAMM seemed ultra-busy (where are all those people from anyway?), not all dealers attended. In my trading area, dozens of accounts opted out, but deserve to know what’s going on from the vendors that they are supporting.

Territory Coverage post NAMM

In a blog post from this time last year, we discussed the cyclical nature of sales in the Musical Instrument and Pro Audio business. Somewhat like Groundhog’s Day, here we go again. Time to set up a robust travel schedule, reaching out to accounts all over your territory. Setting up successful road trips is imperative, as every reseller deserves to be seen, informed and aware of what opportunities you can bring them. The 8-week selling cycles described in that article are not set in stone, but after experiencing this for decades, they are not far off. Whatever way you choose to do it, please remember that showing up, working for your customers and traveling efficiently are the keys to success in this endeavor.

Optimism for the year ahead

There is no question in my mind that it was an uplifting trade show. There was a sense of confidence and a buzz that was evident in the convention center halls, and not just my ears. Manufacturers, distributors and dealers have all expressed a feeling of optimism for 2020 business, and I concur as a rep firm owner. Let’s all go out and make this a great year, despite any obstacles or setbacks you may have encountered on your way to the show.

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