Smart Shopping Strategies Insights on how to make the most of your time at Market By Gail Doby, Business Transformation Coach So much to see, so much to do, so little time. Shopping High Point Market can be an overwhelming experience, especially for first-timers. After several visits, though, you’re sure to develop a few techniques to accomplish as much as possible in the time you have. Or, you just ask some of the pros who have already figured out how to get the most out of Market. That’s what we did. Here’s what they told us. Preparation is key The Market covers a lot of territory, and you want to be sure you spend most of your walking-around time in showrooms, looking at furniture that matters to you. Start planning which vendors you want to see before you get to Market. Group your visits by building, so you’re not out ping-ponging around the downtown area. This is especially important when you’re making appointments with vendors, which I highly recommend as schedules can fill up quickly. Cluster them together on the same day, around the same block of time, if possible. Divide and conquer Christi Barbour of Barbour-Spangle, located in High Point, North Carolina, says members of her firm focus on one category per Market, such as lamps, so they can improve their resource list. This time-saving trick is a great reason to bring as many people with you as you can. If you are traveling with limited staff, resist the temptation to take in everything. Make your business needs a priority. Sort out vendors by the styles you work in and what your clients are asking for. “Since we don’t send our entire team to Market, we poll our designers and find out what people are looking for on their projects,” says Klaus Baer of WRJ Design Associates, Ltd in Jackson, Wyoming. Do your homework Look at all aspects of a potential purchase before you meet with vendors. Baer relates, “We have a digital library of sources we work with, divided between wholesale and designer net pricing. The list includes a notation of which accounts produce the highest margins, which helps us target vendors from a financial perspective.” Don’t overschedule yourself Be sure you build in time to get from showroom to showroom. Take breaks. Give yourself a few hours to just explore. And finally, be sure to leave some time to take advantage of the always inspiring industry trend and professional development sessions. About Gail Doby Gail Doby, ASID, is Co-Founder of Gail Doby Coaching & Consulting & Design Success University, as well as business transformation consultant to savvy designers who want business breakthrough & profit-building advice. Download, Avoid Fee Mistakes.