For many entrepreneurs, traveling is part of the business, whether they like it or not. In most cases, traveling is made worse because other people fail to follow some unspoken travel rules. In this episode, Timothy Bush shares fifteen sensible travel rules that, if followed, are guaranteed to make everyone’s trip smoother and a little less daunting. He also touches on how you can do a year-end assessment of your efforts to put your products on the shelf. Catch his tips on how to get a “yes” from your retailers.
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Travel Rules To Live By + #QuestionsAnswered
I hope that it’s going well. I hope that you’re reaching out to buyers and that you’re having success. I hope that you’re going to trade shows and you are being bold. I hope that you are attending ECRM sessions and that you are meeting face-to-face with buyers over a couple of days. The year is coming to a close. How are you going to finish this year? Did you achieve the things that you wanted to achieve? Did you get your products into a major retailer? Did you get it on the shelf of any retailer? How did that go? If you want to discuss that with me, if you want to take an hour and talk about what went on this year and what your hopes and dreams are for next year, you can email me at Tim@TLBConsulting.com or you can email me at Tim@OnTheShelfNow.com and we will schedule a year-end follow-up and a year ahead strategy planning session. I do this every year. If you’re interested in that, please reach out and let’s get that scheduled. It’s super important to take a look back at what you accomplished and what you thought you were going to accomplish in this year and maybe what are the things that derailed you and what can we do about those in the next year coming up.
Also, take a look at what are your goals and aspirations for this coming year and how can we make sure that those things come to fruition. I look forward to this time every single year because it’s probably one of the most important things I do for myself. I go away every year for a couple of days, just me and I take a look back at the year. What were the good things? What were the bad things? Where did I excel and where did I fall short? I take a look at the relevancy of my business and will it be relevant this coming year? What are the major changes I want to make and how am I going to affect the most people possible in this coming year so that they can move forward on their dreams? It’s something I do myself. I would love to do it with you. If you’re interested, reach out and we’ll chat.
I’m excited because the website is getting thrown into the trash, and rising from the ashes is the new TLB Consulting. This new TLB consulting is going to be the hub for everything TLB and everything about getting your products on the shelf. Whether you want consulting or coaching or you want an outsourced salesperson, you want to get involved in a mastermind, you want to attend a masterclass, you want some mini-courses, you want to listen to the podcast, you want to read through the different episodes. Everything that we do, everything that we’re putting together about getting your products into retail is going to be housed in one place. It’s going to be epic and I can’t wait. It’s been a long time coming and I haven’t been able to trust anybody to this vision and I finally found somebody. I’m glad that it’s underway. I’m happy to reveal it to you when it’s ready and we can set off on a new journey together.
This episode is going to be a little bit different. It is not going to be as much about getting your products into retail. It’s probably not going to be that at all. I’m going to go through some travel rules that I have and I wrote these down. I used to write on this blog called AirportNotes.blogspot.com. If you go there, you’re going to find this article and maybe a couple of others. I didn’t write that much. It fizzled out for me, but the things that I did write, I enjoyed and the people that read it enjoyed it. There’s this one blog about travel rules. These are the rules that I came up with for travel. I’m going to share these rules with you. If you travel as much as I do, I guarantee you, these rules will make sense. If you have an issue in air travel, it will relate back to one of these rules. We’re going to have a little bit of fun with it.
Getting An Immediate “Yes”
Before we do that, let’s do a little bit of business. I put it on the closed Facebook group, On The Shelf Now. If you haven’t joined that, please go out and join that and on a couple of other groups that I’m involved with. Over a period of time, I was going to be in a place where I was going to be interacting with hundreds of buyers. I put it out there, “What do you want to know? What are the burning questions that you’re having?” I post these questions that people posted to the buyers that I was sitting down with. I wanted to share a couple of answers. A lot of it was pretty common, the questions that people want to know. The answers were pretty synergistic. Let’s go through them a little bit because I wanted to get these out there. I’m sure you have some of these same questions.
Question number one, “Is there anything that I can say in my email or my interaction with a buyer that’s going to get me an immediate yes?” No, there’s nothing that you can say unless your name is George Clooney or some major celebrity. Even then, I don’t think there’s anything that you’re going to be able to say that will get you an immediate yes. If that’s what you’re after, you need to re-evaluate your expectations because that is not what interactions with buyers are all about. It would be great if we could sit down with a buyer and they would say, “Tim, I dig this product. I want to carry this product. I’m going to write you a PO for this product right now. Let’s put it in all stores. Let’s do this right now.” That would be amazing, but it’s a little bit unrealistic.Sometimes a zero response means 'no.' Click To Tweet
In contrast to that question, somebody said, “Is there anything that you can say in a buyer meeting that will get you an immediate no?” Sometimes the immediate no that you get is just zero response. You don’t have to get an actual no to get a no. It could just be radio silence. The answer to that is yes. Here are a couple of things that the buyer said. You’re going to probably get an immediate no if you send attachments that are over five megabytes. A lot of times, those don’t even get through to the buyer. You’re probably going to get an immediate no or no response if you send them a buyer deck that’s more than twenty pages without any real reason for it to be. If you’re sending these big massive emails with big massive attachments, you’re probably going to get radio silence. If your email is too long and too confusing and you try to sell your product, start to finish in the email, they’re probably going to hit the delete button. Emails are for creating interest, not actually selling your product.
Getting An Immediate “No”
There are two more that buyers talked about. I talked to a lot of people, but then I tried to condense it down. One was being too aggressive. You’re going to probably get an immediate no if you’re trying to call the buyer every single day and you start to badger them. That’s not going to work out for them. Also, in an actual face-to-face meeting, if you’re up and you’re too aggressive and your adrenaline is coursing through your veins, a lot of times that’s going to get you an immediate no. They’re not going to say, “Tim, no.” They’re going to be like, “Thanks for coming,” then they’re going to leave and you’re never going to hear from them again.
Tone it down, be respectful and be professional. Talk about the things that you know they want to know, not the things that you want to tell them but the things about your product that they’re going to want to know. The last question that I’m going to talk about was about packaging. The question was, “Is there anything that you can do about packaging that’s going to make the retailer more excited, less excited and make a difference?” The answer is yes and no. It’s understanding that if you’ve nailed the packaging, if you’ve crushed it, they’re going to like that. That’s not enough for them to say yes just because your packaging is amazing. Conversely, if you’ve not done a good job of the packaging but they love the product, that in of itself is not going to get you disqualified.
Most likely, once they know that they like the product, they’re going to give you some question, “Why don’t you do this? We’d like to see it like this. We’d like to see some flexibility here.” Overwhelmingly, buyers want flexibility in their packaging. They want to be able to merchandise at several different ways depending on what fixtures they’re using or where they might be moving into. If your product only does one thing, one way, it can only be set one place, it’s going to get less attention than packaging that is a little bit more flexible. The reason goes back to what it is that they want. When you create your packaging for you and not for the retailer, then you’re not doing it with them in mind. You’re doing what you want to do. If you’re thinking about, “If I was a merchandise manager on a floor, what would I want in my packaging?” You go to a retailer and you look at all the different ways that they can merchandise. Can you sit it on a shelf? Can you put it on a peg? Will it hang on a clip strip? All these different things. Be flexible in your packaging and think about what the retailer might want. If you have other questions, other things that you want to understand from buyers, I’m talking to buyers all the time and I’m willing to take your questions and get those answered and then we’ll cover those here.
Let’s get into some travel rules. I’m going to PG version this. If you want to read and see some of the original text in here, you can go to AirportNotes.blogspot.com and read the original. I don’t want to have to classify this blog as explicit. I’m going to keep it as clean as I can. These are all the things that I’ve personally dealt with enough that I had to write them down on a piece of paper to say, “If you’re going to do air travel, let’s have some common courtesy.”
Rule number one, don’t travel sick. If you’re sick, you have open sores, you have a runny nose or a horrible cough, don’t travel. Stay at home. No one wants to sit next to somebody who’s wiping their nose on everything while coughing up a lot. Nobody wants to do that. I sat next to a guy when I came back from Cancun, he had sores on his arm and he was picking out his sores the entire time. That’s just as gross as it gets in the plane flight. Even if it would have been just ten minutes, it would have been too long. Don’t travel sick if you don’t have to. If you do have to, take something like DayQuil or whatever. Take something so that you’re not just coughing and wheezing on everybody. I know if you travel and you’ve been on air travel, you’ve sat next to somebody or been next to somebody that’s not well.
Number two, no farting. Stop farting on the airplane. Hold off on the beer nuts, the peanuts, the McDonald’s until you get where you’re going. Don’t load yourself up on stuff that’s going to give you bloating and gas once you get on the airplane. Nobody wants to smell that. Nobody wants to be stuck in a confined space with no real filtration and start smelling that. Don’t do it. Number three, don’t overload. If you can’t check it, carry it, roll it, manage it or stow it, don’t bring it. You know what I’m talking about. You know about these people that are coming down the isles and they have absolutely everything in their arms. They got a bag, they got this, they got that. They got a backpack, a stroller, a car seat. Pair it down and don’t be afraid to check some stuff. I know it costs $25 but you don’t have to bring it all on the airplane. If you can’t manage it on your own, if you can’t get it into the bin on your own, if you can’t roll it, if it doesn’t fit down the aisle, then check it. Don’t bring stuff on the plane that you can’t manage.
Number four, follow the rules. This is not rocket science. If you’re rich, poor, famous, infamous, average, or just trying to go somewhere, the rules do apply to you. There’s not this place where you don’t have to put your seatbelt on or you don’t have to put your phone in airplane mode or you don’t have to hang up your phone even after the door is closed. You’re not special in that way. The flight attendants’ jobs are hard enough. Don’t make them ask you twice to do something. Number five, be on time. Don’t throw everyone into a panic because you can’t manage your time. I get it, right now flights are delayed. Those things happen, but I know that you know what I’m talking about. You’re in line at TSA and there’s somebody that’s tapping you on the shoulder saying, “My flight leaves in 30 minutes, can I bypass you?”
Of course, I always let people go by me. I don’t have a problem with that I can put myself in your shoes and think a million things might have happened. I get that, but do your best to be on time. I’m always trying to get to the airport a minimum of two hours ahead of my flight. I’d rather sit, have a little drink, do some email rather than be rushing. Does that mean I’ve never had to rush into the airport totally? I’ve had to rush in situations out of my control, traffic jams, accidents, all those kinds of things but by and large, be on time.
Rule number six, this one to me is the same as those people that walked down the center of the parking lot. You know who I’m talking about. You’re pulling into a parking lot. You’re looking for a parking space. People are going to their car, but they’re not on one side or the other. They’re just walking down the middle. I’m like, “Come on, go to one side or the other. You’re not a car.” This one is like that for me. It makes me feel the same way when it happens. It’s backpacks and large purses. Take your backpack off your shoulder before heading down the airplane aisle. Otherwise, you know what’s going to happen. You’re going to smack everybody on that side on your way down. Everybody that’s in the aisle seat is going to get a bite of your backpack or your big purse.
Put a square on. Put the backpack on both shoulders. When you do that and you’re about ready to get into your seat and you swing around, your backpack is going to hit somebody. Understand and know that, be ready for that. If you fly as I do and you sit on the aisle, you know people are hitting you with their stuff, so don’t do it. Understand that there are people around you. This is one that I can’t read the way I wrote it. If you’re standing in the aisle and you dropped something, do not bend over to pick it up. You got to use your legs. Squat down because the second you bend at the waist, your behind is going to be in somebody’s face. I have had behind in my face for multiple seconds at a time just moving around while they tried to pick things off the ground. It’s not a comfortable place to be. If you’re in the aisle and you dropped something, bend at the knees. I know you’re smiling right now because you know what I’m talking about.
Rule number eight, seat recline. This has gotten a lot better. People are a little bit more respectful and they don’t just jack their seats back. Understand, the rule here is reclining your chair to the amount that you’re comfortable with the person in front of you is reclining theirs. If you’re okay with the hair of the guy in front of you two inches from your teeth, then go ahead jack your chair back. I don’t see many people putting their chairs back like they used to. If they do, I’m pretty sure that they’re a one-time flyer. They’re going on vacation, “The recliner is there for a reason. I should be able to recline.” They don’t generally see that they are literally just a couple of inches from the back of their chair to my chest.Don’t hate people in the first class for getting the perks and privileges that are not extended for everyone. Click To Tweet
Understand that there are people behind you. Understand that there are people in front of you, which leads us to rule number nine, seat leverage. You know those people getting out of their seat. They can’t stand up. They grab a hold of your seat and pull it back so that they can pull themselves out of their seat. There’s somebody in that seat that’s getting jostled around. Maybe they were sleeping and now you’ve jostled them around and woke them up. Figure out how to get out of your seat without grabbing onto the seat ahead of you. There are people in there. There’s somebody in that seat.
Rule number ten, pee before you get on board. I don’t get the whole thing about getting on board. You’re in your seat for two seconds and then people have to jump up and go to the restroom or you’re barely in the air. You’re still at that radical incline and people are heading to the bathroom. Go pee before you get on the plane. If you don’t have enough time to go pee before you get on the plane, then refer back to rule number five, be on time.
Rule number eleven, and this doesn’t happen as much as it used to, but don’t be a hater. I fly a lot. I have a good status. A lot of times I’m in First Class. Don’t hate me because of that. I’d rather be at home with my family. I’d rather be at home all the times that I’m flying. Don’t be one of those people that are hating on those people that are the priority and they get to get on first. Those people earned that. They earned it by being away from their families. They earned it by being on the road. I haven’t even talked to any traveling person that wouldn’t rather be at home. They don’t pick it or choose it. It’s part of their job. It’s what they’re good at so that’s what they do. I’m away a lot and I would rather be at home. Don’t hate on those people that are in First Class just because you’re not in First Class. Understand that they’ve earned that space and they travel a lot.
Rule number twelve, don’t press the flight attendant button. Don’t ever press this button unless you’re dying. The flight attendants are primarily there for your safety, not for you to press and say, “I need this. I need that. Can you do this? Can you do that?” Rule number thirteen, babies. Read some books and understand what you need to do for your baby on the plane. If your baby screams bloody murder, it’s not because they’re scared or upset or they haven’t eaten, it’s their ears. Their ears are hurting so they need to suck on something. They need to suck on a bottle. They need to be drinking on the way up and they need to be drinking on the way down. If you have a small infant, don’t get on that plane without two bottles for them, one for on the way up and one for on the way down. That’s why they’re screaming and if they’re screaming bloody murder because they need to move around, get up and walk up and down the aisle with them.
Don’t think that they’re going to calm down because you’re sitting there and you’re bouncing them on your lap and you’re patting them on the back. That’s not helping. That doesn’t help a child that needs to move around. They want to see some things. It’s a four, five, six-hour flight, whatever it is. Get up and move around. Have something for them to do. By the way, have something for them to do more than just games on an iPad. Understand that iPads are not creative play, they are structured play. Smartphones, in general, are structured play. Kids will get tired of that in a heartbeat. Things like little bits of Legos, little building blocks, cars or stuff that they can make up in their own mind what they’re doing, that’s what keeps them engaged for hours. That’s a tip for you.
Rule number fourteen, the seatbelt sign. When the seatbelt sign is illuminated, this is not a signal to immediately get to your feet and stretch. Do you ever see that? For some reason, when the seatbelt sign goes on, people panic like, “I may have to go to the bathroom before the seatbelt sign comes off. I’m just going to go right now.” If you can’t figure that out and when the seatbelt sign goes on, then I’m going to have to refer you back to rule number four, follow the rules. When the seatbelt sign is on, that means you stay in your seat. It’s not a signal for a race.
Rule number fifteen, armrests. I know the center aisle sucks, but you only get one armrest. You’ve got to buckle your shoulders in. Pull them in, no one wants to feel like your arm may eventually fall over onto your side. I know this better than anybody. I don’t know why, but I’m a bigger guy, 6’1” and I have broad shoulders. It’s always three guys the same size as me that are sitting in the same aisle, then you look over and there are these super petite people in the next aisle. I don’t understand how that happens, but we’ve got buckle those arms in. We got to collapse them like little chicken wings.
Number fifteen came from an incident I had in the TSA security line and I’m not going to read. You can read that incident in the blog if you want to go there. It spawned this particular rule and the rule is it’s not all about you? Stop acting like Tom Hanks in Cast Away. You’re not alone on a desert island by yourself. You’re traveling with hundreds of other people and need to act accordingly. Keep your head up and acknowledge those around you. If you simply cannot seem to follow the rules, what rule do you refer about to? Number four, so you can follow the rules.
These are my rules for air travel. It’s a little bit more animated if you read through it on the blog. I couldn’t get into a lot of the words that were more descriptive here. If you’re traveling, I want you to keep these rules in mind. I want you to think about these rules. I want you to watch the people around you. When you see somebody violating one of these rules, I want you to reach out to us on Facebook and say, “I saw somebody doing rule number four. I saw somebody doing rule number nine.” It’ll be fun for you because these rules are what people are constantly not getting. The one that I see most of all is the people that have too much stuff. They’re trying to bring too much stuff or they can’t lift it, they can’t handle it, they can’t roll it. A lot of times they have these bags that won’t roll down the center aisle. They have to pick them up and they’re banging them back and forth on every chair that they go down and they look miserable. Take a look at what you’re bringing around with you and act appropriately. If you have to check it, just check it and deal with that.
I hope you enjoyed the rules. It was a little bit of a departure from what we normally talk about. I fly a lot and I see a lot. I’m going to start commenting more and more on the things that I see while I’m traveling because it’s just hysterical. I appreciate all of you and I hope you are doing well. Please reach out to us on our Facebook closed group On The Shelf Now page. Reach out to us on Twitter, @OnTheShelfNow. You can go to our website OnTheShelfNow.com. Come and talk to us. We want to hear what you have to say. I look forward to talking to you again. Until next time, I look forward to seeing your products on the shelf.
- On The Shelf Now – Facebook group
- @OnTheShelfNow – Twitter