April 30, 2024

ICSC for Dealmakers: The Experts’ Master Guide to Preparing for an ICSC Conference

Author: John Orr CCIM

Here we are, a little over two weeks out from the Super Bowl of Retail Commercial Real Estate: ICSC Vegas. It’s time to “prepare.” The bad news is you’re late already. The good news is you can do better next time if you follow these simple steps.

  1. Prepare your calendar a year in advance. Block the time off now. This is especially important if you attend multiple shows each year. One year I scheduled a spring break trip out of the country and the worst part was I had committed to moderate a panel. Many thanks to @Vinzani, @ElyseWelch, @JAugustan, and @BooneCRE for saving me.
  2. Decide why you should go. Should you meet with landlords or should you meet with tenants or a combination of both. If you don’t have a good reason to go such as a project or site, then don’t go because it’s a waste of everyone’s time.
  3. Create a list of people you want to meet and why. Don’t expect to walk away with an approved deal or a signed lease. Set realistic expectations.
  4. Contact your prospects and set firm meetings. If you have a booth, meet there or anywhere, just as long as it’s easy to find. Nothing is worse for your show than missing a critical meeting because they couldn’t find you.
  5. Prepare your material in a way such that you can quickly access it. Remember, you only have a few minutes together, make the most of it. Pro Tip. You may not have Internet access, so make it available offline.
  6. Practice your presentation. Know your material presented in a way that your prospect can understand it quickly and succinctly. Know their stores and the competitor stores, and understand the market.
  7. Schedule time to just walk the floor and drop in at various booths. This is a fantastic opportunity to discover new or expanding concepts, so set aside time to just walk around and learn something new.
  8. Plan special time outside of the show hours to take clients or prospects to dinner or meet for coffee. This is an additional expense of both time and money often overlooked by attendees, so use this opportunity to solidify existing relationships and create new ones.
  9. If you travel to the show, plan to spend some extra time driving the market in that town. This is another wonderful way to uncover new concepts that you could bring back to your market.
  10. Bring business cards. These ICSC events are unique to retail. Use this opportunity to make new connections, share business cards and information to make new friends.

Bonus Tip! Have fun, but don’t get over served and be remembered as the guy or gal who did (insert embarrassing story here).

Use these 10 Expert tips to make your ICSC experience as productive as possible. Remember, everyone you need to know is here, so make the most of it and have a great show.