5 Ways to better represent your city at ICSC.
So your going to Vegas.
The ICSC RECON convention is coming up fast and you are the chosen one. You are going to represent your city and grab the big name national retailer everybody in town wants.
However, If the plan you have for success is to sit at your table and wait for something to happen you might as well just stay in the casino and play slots all day because the odds are better there.
Here are five things you can do to push the odds in your favor.
This is a retail and real estate convention so be prepared to show them the best real estate your municipality has to offer. You need to have attractive and comprehensive marketing material that includes a site plan for the retailer you are hoping to land.
2. Get on the phone now and start setting meetings.
You will want to have identified the retailers and developers who work with those retailers well before your plan touches down. You will want to set meetings with them. You will want to pin down the real estate representatives for the companies you are hoping to land. Most of all, you will need to get these meetings booked now. In general these meetings will be short and too the point. So be ready to shake hands and sell something concrete, not abstract ideas.
3. Abandon The Booth.
Booths are a great place to rest, hold scheduled meetings and have a place for your material. But space is expensive and unless you have some major projects that demand a display just forget the booth all together. If you are not in a meeting then you need to be researching new retailers that could be potential players for your city. They have virtually no time to come and see you at the show.
4. Spend Time With Developers and Retailers, Not People From Other Cities.
The people you will know at this show are all probably working for another EDA or city. Make it your goal to meet enough new developers and retailers during the day that you know what party or function they will be at during the evening and be there. You are just as important to them as they are to you. This is not the time to talk shop or sell your city, this is the time to build relationships so make the most of it.
5. Be Prepared to Answer the Questions That Retailers and Developers Want to Know
In the short amount of time you have, you need to speak their language. Just as you have your jargon and acronyms, retail real estate has its own language. Although you will have to get back to them about some items, a working knowledge of what gets a companies attention will go a long way of getting a visit.
Be ready to talk about your sites demographic profile, traffic counts, generators and competitors in the market. Try to have site specific information within reach and have some knowledge of its dimensions, access points, parking and available signage.
This show can be overwhelming and exhausting and unless you go with a plan in place you will get swept away and come home with nothing but a hangover. Following these five steps will only slightly increase the odds that you will be able to land a retailer. Preparing for this show is a year round job and it's unfair to expect someone who doesn't work in retail or real estate to show up at this event and make something happen. These steps will at least get you in the mix and hopefully you come home with some legitimate contacts and not just a bag full of booth giveaways and hurt feelings at the casino.