The week before the annual International Council of Shopping Center (ICSC) RECON conference in Las Vegas is ALWAYS hectic, assuming you believe in and practice PREPARATION.

When I say PREPARATION, I’m not talking about some senior broker or SVP telling you, “Remember to wear comfortable shoes, hydrate, eat the protein bar your Mom bought for you”. By the way I couldn’t disagree more with this being portrayed as PREPARATION and my response to that is… wear uncomfortable shoes, get scathing blisters, and suck it up if you believe those shoes will advance your potential to WIN, forget to drink water and get tired, over-work yourself, stay out late, over-pay for a productive dinner with clients. That was a little side-bar rant on advice. Now back to the basis of this blog, PREPARATION. Here are some practices I use:

6 months before the show, create a “PRE-ICSC” note pad or word document saved on your desktop. When you read about something in your industry; an emerging Tenant, new Landlord’s acquisition you want to pitch, etc. or just have an idea, or thought, write it down! If not recorded and later acted upon, these thoughts get lost. This is the biggest way to OUT-PERFORM most people out there. Who the heck thinks about a conference 6 months in advance? I do.

Map out a floor plan, highlighting the booths/companies/people that you perhaps don’t have or couldn’t get an appointment with. Mix those booths in between meetings you may have so that in between one meeting to the next you can strategically and efficiently visit those highlighted booths. Try not to ONLY see people you have meetings with…I have been there, and you can lose your edge…stay relevant and in front of new things.

Can’t get someone to take a meeting with you when you stop by their booth? Try bringing them a coffee in the later afternoon or sandwich around lunch time. Watch how quickly the person manning the booth will go interrupt your prospect’s meeting with, “Someone is here with coffee/sandwich for you.” If you wait until you’re out there to determine when/who you’re doing this with, you missed the point…head in to the show with the time, location, and name of the person you plan to do this to… PREPARATION.

Say something unforgettable at the end of every meeting. This could be business or personal…I’ll admit, this is hard but once a meeting is over everyone mentally pivots to their next meeting, don’t let them…leave them with something that can be referenced 10 years from now with a “do you remember when you said?” Use common sense here.

Don’t just leave your business card at a booth you stop by when the person is not available. Leave your card with a $1 or $5 bill wrapped around it, or even a coupon. You may be looked at like you’re crazy but when you make that follow up phone call in early June, you won’t be lost in the stack of cards.
These are not actions, they’re pre-meditated plans of action, otherwise known as PREPARATION.

Once you have decided this a business trip and not a mid-20’s bachelor party, you know that you cannot ‘over-prepare’ for the World Series, NBA Finals, Olympic Events, can you? What’s the difference?

Be an artist in your craft and make the PREPARATION your World Series, and the event becomes the celebration.

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