The Vendor's Guide to Trade Shows ... From a Retailer
But I wonder if there's a better way for them to communicate with their retailer prospects?
I actually had this conversation on the show flow with a great friend and contact of mine, Erik Lautier, the former opera singer now executive vice president and chief digital officer at bebe. He told me the problem is volume. While he loves vendors and is inspired by their creativity everyday, the sheer amount of them is becoming more and more difficult to manage. As a result, he's always looking for shortcuts around how to deal with the volume, such as, unfortunately, deleting emails and voicemails that don’t immediately grab his attention.
While we couldn’t come up with a way vendors could improve their show selling techniques, he told me about a blog post he wrote a few years ago that listed what he — someone who’s on the receiving end of a ton of emails from vendors soliciting business — is turned off by in said email solicitations. Here's a sampling from the post:
- What’s in a name? Erik writes that he’s received emails addressed to “Erik, Eric, Erick, and in what I hope was a first-time-ever and last-time-ever scenario, Erika.” A name is a brand, he wrote, “whether it’s an individual’s name or a company’s name, and there may be no surer way to immediately turn off a prospective client than by getting their name or their company’s name wrong.”
- Cut and paste. “Nothing says I love you like two different fonts in different sizes in the first line,” Erik wrote. "Yes, you need to move quickly. Yes, you need to automate certain things. No, merchants don’t expect every aspect of your email to be customized to them. However, we expect it to at least look like it was. So before you hit Send, select the body text and format it all equally so we don’t get a Frankenstein’s solicitation.”
- Importance. “While a solicitation email may be important to the sender, it's never important enough to the recipient to be marked as such,” he wrote. “Leave the little red exclamation point off.”
In closing, Erik wrote that, in general, retailers generally consider vendors that get these things right more seriously than those who don’t. Why? “It demonstrates professionalism, attention to detail and respect for the brand, and it shows that they’ve done some research (even if only for 30 seconds on LinkedIn).”