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Making Your Time at NACDS Annual Count 

As everyone comes to quickly learn, the NACDS Annual Meeting is THE industry’s premiere event, and for good reason. How many of us have come back with a relationship between retailer and supplier forged or strengthened? Where else can you rub shoulders with Retail Chairmen, CEOs, Presidents, and Senior Vice Presidents of Marketing, Merchandising, Operations, and Pharmacy, and their executive-level counterparts and decision makers from supplier companies? Opportunities abound – if you’re well-prepared in advance to take advantage of all that it offers! If this is your first time attending, plan to be at the Inaugural Attendees’ Orientation Saturday afternoon, says MPG Vice President Anthony Eagelton.  Associate Members should also plan to attend the Meet the Industry program Saturday morning, which features sessions with leading retailers on what they expect to discuss with suppliers during their time at Annual.

 

Anthony also shares these tried-and-true tips for a successful meeting: 

  • Ensure that you make your time at NACDS count by writing out your specific goals for the meeting. What do you want to accomplish? What would be a win? 

  • With the meeting right around the corner, meetings with retailers and other potential partners should already be set. Remember, this is not an item/price meeting. Focus on the long game by presenting big ideas and strengthening strategic relationships.  

  • Finally, be prepared for the good, bad and ugly. Retailers typically engage their teams for feedback ahead of each meeting, so ensure you do the same with your teams.  

  • Go into each meeting with a pre-set agenda. Bring one insight, idea or opportunity to each meeting that retailers will find add value.  

  • Be ready to support your proposal. Be open to candid debate; it’s fair to challenge retailers, but have a cohesive game plan going in so everyone on your team is aligned and ready to act as a cohesive group when decisions are to be made.

  • FOLLOW UP! Know that you own the heavy lift in post-NACDS contact. This includes reaching out to those buyers and associates who were not at the conference. And remember, everyone is going to be overwhelmed with post-NACDS follow ups, so keep your communication brief but with high impact. 

  • Take advantage of the room drop opportunity provided by NACDS, either by dropping a sample and personal note ahead of the meeting or a thank you afterward. See the NACDS website for more information on this option. 

  • Don’t waste downtime! Think about how you can best use before- and after-hour sessions to further your agenda. 

  • Remember, this meeting is about relationship building. If you haven’t been successful setting a retailer meeting, remember there are a range of networking opportunities to leverage.   

  • Oh, one more thing – Don’t forget your sunscreen!  

For more insights or support for this year’s meeting, contact Anthony Eagelton at: Anthony.Eagelton@mpgllc.com or call 908-461-3897

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