Lessons Learned The Hard Way 3 Things Not To Do
The one thing that can truly ruin a meeting is not being prepared. It has only happened once in my life.
The following things happened and I learned quickly why these meetings were not successful .
1) Ensure you know who you are presenting to:
Make sure you understand the retailer or the brand. If you are working with a client like J.C. Penney, then make sure you get into their stores and do some homework about what their product assortment and price points look like because when your client asks you if youve been into their store lately, the last thing you want to do is say no.
Why should your clinent trust that you understand their customer if you cant even do your due diligence to get into a store and be knowledgeable about their products. Knowing all about your client gives you some great key talking points to converse about.
2) Not preparing your materials correctly to reflect your client.
It's not enough to know what is going on in their store. You need to prepare your materials accordingly. If Im showing Cache (a very sexy type of retail store) a line of clothing,
I am most certainly not going to show them something that is selling extremely well at Christopher & Banks (a very traditional, mature ladies retail store). It shows a lack of understanding about who their customer is. You need to have your product and information pulled to cater exactly to whom you are presenting to.
3) Understanding that there may be underlying reasons why to overshoot your mark.
Sometimes I am asked to put meetings together to pitch a brand to a retailer knowing quite well that it is not quite the right fit.
No matter if you think you have a 20% chance, a 50% chance or a 90% chance of sealing the deal, always prepare for the meeting. The worst thing you can do is not be fully prepared. Sometimes the goal of a meeting is actually a larger underlying reason that is not as obvious to everyone.
Ultimately the goal is about creating such an amazing impact on both the celebrity/brand and on the retailer so that you have created the conduit for additional and more appropriate opportunities with these people after seeing how capable your company is of preparing and executing.
No matter what type of meeting you are having, you need to be very genuine and true to yourself. Its important that your personality show through and that you believe in your abilities and your product.
I love what I do and yes, there are also days of so much chaos and stress, but I truly enjoy fashion and design and I think I exude that feeling when I speak to people. My goal is to ensure that people leave a meeting knowing I have done my homework and given them the most accurate information possible.
The best meetings you can have are the ones that look and feel effortless to everyone in attendance, but the truth is the majority of the meeting already happened prior. It was all in the preparation.
About the author
Tina Trevino is the Senior Design Director of KBL Group Intl. Ltd. in NYC and manages their large creative design team. Partner and Director Community Relations for Latin Business Today. She shares all of her insight on upcoming fashion trends for the season with her team to start the collaborative design process. The company specializes in sweaters, knits and wovens. It provides product for ladies, men, contemporary, jr, and children. Tina specializes in coordinating directly with large US retailers to design exactly into their targeted customer needs. With many years under her belt in the industry, she has also gained the ability to go beyond the fashion component and help to work through sourcing, fitting, production and merchandising issues as well.