WASHINGTON, DC - February 25, 2001 - Emphasizing the need for retailers to differentiate themselves from the competition through the use of effective and distinctive selling strategies, Food Marketing Institute (FMI) is introducing a dynamic new program at the 2001 FMI Show – The Solution Selling Series. In a formatted, interactive three-hour workshop, the program attendees will explore the significance, challenges and implementation strategies necessary to deploy consumer-driven solutions.

“Niche solutions are critical to successful sales strategies, regardless of retailer size, location or consumer base,” notes Barb Sisson, FMI’s director of educational services. “Infused with a fresh sense of energy and enthusiasm, our new Solution Selling Series actively involves retailers in identifying and defining the solutions that will improve their own top- and bottom-line sales.”

The Solution Selling Series will focus on the strategic importance of differentiation, outlining how, why and where to implement consumer-driven solutions in a store. Participants will explore creative ways to grow sales by designing solution-oriented store plans, developing the right service and product mix, and building cross-functional teams to better serve customers. Program planners view the series as a toolkit of strategic and tactical approaches to enhance the customer experience and, ultimately, to increase sales. The series will be of particular interest to store managers and owner-operators, as well as to suppliers, merchandisers, operations executives and others who play a role in the total store plan.

The program will feature seminar and talk show formats complemented by a panel of retailers and wholesalers offering large and small company perspectives. Guest speakers include Chris Foltz of Performance Engineering Group; John Opasinski of Arthur Andersen and Kevin Kelley of Shook Perception Design. The entire program will be moderated by Today Show consumer reporter and USA Today columnist Phil Lempert and Kevin Coupe, Vice President/Content Guy at Ideabeat.com.

The Solution Selling Series will be held 8:30 – 11:30 a.m. Monday morning, May 7 during the 2001 FMI Show, May 6-8 at the McCormick Place Convention Center in downtown Chicago. For more information, please contact FMI convention services (202) 452-8444; call FMI’s Automated Show Infoline at 1-800-890-SHOW (7469), ext. 900; or visit the 2001 FMI Show Web site (www.fmishow.org) for detailed information about workshops and exhibitors, and to register online.