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Editor’s Letter: It’s a Sign

You know those signs they sell in gift shops and country stores? The ones with inspirational sayings on them, like “We may not have it altogether, but together, we have it all”? My mom has those signs in just about every room of her home. Steve and I made fun of her one day by going from room to room and loudly reading all of them. “I guess I do have a lot of signs,” she laughed.

My sister has followed suit with inspiration around the house. She also has a blackboard in her kitchen where she writes things like, “positive thinking leads to positive results.” Now, I’ve got to agree with that.

There must have been plenty of positive thinking among promo products pros last year. The results of our 5th annual compensation study are particularly positive. Mallory Dempster, a top producer at Jack Nadel Inc., told writer Chris Ruvo: “Last year was incredible. I’m doing everything I can to make this year the same.”

Last year was incredible for a lot of industry reps and 2013 compensation averaged $79,600, according to our research. That’s the highest it’s been since we began reporting these results in 2010. At that time, sales compensation averaged $77,000 and 2011 compensation was lowest at $72,000.

More than a third of reps believe compensation will increase this year, as do about 30% of owners – positive thoughts. They attribute this to positive signs for the broader economy. “A few years ago, maybe (clients) wanted 1,000 $1 gifts; now they want 1,000 $3 items and they want you to suggest things that will generate real ROI,” Mike Welker, senior account executive at Touchstone, told Chris.

Reps who think their compensation will increase this year predict it will rise an average of 15%. Owners expecting an increase are a tad more optimistic, with a prediction of 16.6%. And the 50/50 split remains tops, with 39% of respondents citing that as their company’s policy.

There’s plenty of information, including charts and stats packed in our cover story so check it out, see how you stack up and be inspired to make this your best moneymaking year ever.
Of course, money isn’t everything (I’m sure there’s a sign with that on it too). So besides getting into the nitty gritty of monetary compensation, we also asked what is the number-one thing that motivates you in your career? A sense of accomplishment, client relationships and satisfaction, flexibility, freedom, helping clients, fun and quality of life are the terms most often expressed.

One rep wrote, “Knowing that we help with recognizing, motivating and inspiring everyone, every day, everywhere!” My mom and that person would really get along.