Presenting our inaugural list of the industry’s most inventive and resourceful talents. Get to know Pete Thuss of Talbot Marketing (asi/341500).
You’ve heard of Mr. October, Mr. Brightside and Mr. Saturday Night. Now, meet Mr. Self-Promo – his name is Pete Thuss. The marketing “partner” – don’t call him a salesman – at Talbot bills himself as a “handshake kind of guy,” one who knows that creatively getting the attention of prospects is a skill, not a job.
“When you offer something extra, like a leave-behind item, people look at you differently,” Thuss says. “For many, this stuff might be simple, but it’s still cool.”
Some of Thuss’ simple, but cool ideas include handing out sublimated socks at a college show while using the tagline: “This is the right sock for the left foot, call me for the other one.” He also gave out teddy bears with bandaged feet, telling potential customers that if their uniform program is broken, he can help. Another promo: packaging mugs and K-cups with Thuss asking prospects if they were “thirsting for creativity.” If they were, no doubt they’d remember Thuss’ name, which was printed on the single-serve containers.
“I get about a 25% response rate from self-promos,” says Thuss. “I’m really trying to show that I can offer new suggestions and alternatives.”
He subtly suggests in more ways than just self-promos. When Thuss visits a customer, he’ll bring “one unique piece” each time. “I’m always challenging the suppliers I work with to give me something new,” he says. To Thuss, “something new” might be a product or a decoration. Regardless, he wants to know about it, see it, pitch it and succeed with it before his competitors even get wind of it.
This competitive streak explains Thuss’ superb start to 2018. In the first three months of the year, Thuss is up $140,000 in sales. “I’m definitely getting more business from new and current customers,” says Thuss. “One customer has been looking to narrow down their vendors and I’ve won even more business with them.”
While Thuss is clearly an idea guy whose client list includes brands like DuPont, he prides himself on being tireless and opportunistic. At a recent trade show in Niagara Falls, Thuss met a potential customer who wasn’t even there for the event. “The guy’s wife was another vendor at the show so he tagged along,” Thuss says. After a chat, Thuss offered to travel down to Pennsylvania where the prospect’s business – Crossett Trucking – is based. In Thuss’ mind, a follow-up call or email just wouldn’t do. During the in-person visit, Thuss, an ever-impressive closer, earned trust and yet another account. “They’re really happy,” Thuss says, “with all the things I can do for them.”