It started with a phone call to a client – someone she used to sell imported handbags to. It turned into Sandy Poster’s most prestigious account. “I called Tony Hsieh’s former business partner’s wife,” says Poster, a sales executive at Axis Promotions (asi/128263). “I didn’t even know who she was related to, but she put me in touch with the right people at Zappos.”
Today, years later, Poster provides Zappos with “a lot of employee gifts” and other promotional items, being constantly challenged by her client’s push-the-envelope style. What Poster has learned along the way has helped her win business from many other firms that focus on company culture and employee happiness. Among those companies is Mid-Atlantic convenience store brand Wawa.
“Every year they hold a Value’s Day to celebrate their 24,000 employees,” Poster says. “For 2015, their theme was ‘stepping into a great year.’” Poster and Axis were tasked with producing logoed socks for every Wawa employee, plus sublimated shoelaces that listed each of the brand’s six core values. The socks and shoelaces were packaged in a little pouch and presented to employees with a card. “We did the order in a ridiculously short period of time,” Poster says, “but it turned out really well.”
Many projects that Poster has worked on seem to have turned out well of late. Her 2015 sales were up 25%. “After all these years, things are starting to click and I’m finally learning how to win larger deals,” she says.
Her 2016 goals aren’t focused on her own progress, but on helping her clients and the two-person team she manages at Axis improve. “I want to help them grow their businesses better,” she says.
Sandy’s best advice: Never lose a chance to see a client in person. “When I get a pre-production sample, I always try to bring it to them.”