Prime Line Acquires Jetline As first reported in a Breaking News alert this morning, Top 40 supplier Prime Line (asi/79530) announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire supplier firm Jetline (asi/63344). The two sides expect the deal to officially close by the end of this month. Read Article
Expert View Video: Gain More Referrals In this video, consultant and business expert Alice Heiman provides distributors with clear strategies for how they can attain more – and higher quality – referrals from their current customers. Looking to expand your business by attracting new clients? Get your current ones on your side. To gain more referrals, Heiman, who led multiple sessions during Education Day at ASI Orlando yesterday, suggests that distributors make sure they do three things: satisfy clients, turn customers into fans of your business by exceeding expectations, and simply ask for referrals. watch the video
Attendees Compete At ASI’s Minute To Win It Education Day at ASI Orlando culminated with the popular ASI Minute To Win It networking reception, which gave attendees a chance to cheer on colleagues, earn great prizes and get more than a few laughs. Modeled after the popular TV show, ASI’s games featured six on-stage tasks that pitted two teams of showgoers against each other. Randomly chosen contestants had one minute to quickly stack plastic cups, try to keep balloons in the air, and hike rolls of toilet paper through a hula hoop, among other challenges.
Keys To Shortening The Sales Cycle There’s no silver bullet for magically increasing your sales, but Southwestern Consulting’s Ron Marks – an Education Day speaker at ASI Orlando yesterday – believes taking a few simple steps can win you more business now and in the future. “Sales is not a specific science,” he said, “but imagine if you could improve your sales by just 1% every week for a whole year. That’s a goal that would bring dramatic results.”
To become a more efficient seller and, in effect, shorten the sales cycle, Marks suggests focusing on three fundamentals: having the right attitude, wanting the proper skill sets, and developing a higher-than-average level of commitment. “If the outcome we want is crystallized in our head, we’re willing to endure a little pain or struggle to get there,” Marks said during his Sales Boot Camp session yesterday morning.
Once you’re truly dedicated to achieving success, you can start to use some broad strategies and behaviors to set yourself apart. According to Marks, those strategies include: creating a powerful first impression in front of prospects, being aware of the way clients prefer to buy, becoming a great listener, and watching the words we use during conversations. “I don’t ask people to sign things because it gives them pause, so I’ll ask them to OK paperwork,” Marks said. “Don’t call things an expense, but investments. And don’t ever use the phrase ‘to be honest’ because people might think you haven’t been telling them the truth up until then.”
Marks offered up some more advanced tips. In trying to gain referrals, for example, Marks isn’t a fan of giving a discount up front. Instead, he said, “Thank customers after they give you a referral with a gift. It’s more professional.” In trying to break down why a client is stalling, Marks recommends being empathetic, but not over-connecting. “Ask them what specifically do they want to think about. Is it cost? Products? Order time? I ask people to level with me and usually the stall is because of the price, so I can work with that and make some changes,” Marks said. “I’m getting that ghost out on the table so I can move forward.”
Finally, if you really want to shake loose a customer who currently works with a competitor, Marks told attendees to boldly ask: “‘Have you ever wondered what your loyalty is costing you?’ Sure, it’s a little harsh, but it gets them thinking.”
Why Networking Matters
Ranking right up there with public speaking on the list of things people loathe doing, networking is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea. But ASI Orlando Education Day speaker Meridith Elliott Powell made a concrete case for why it should be a staple in every business toolbox.
“In whatever room you walk into, there are one or two people who can help you get whatever you want – new employees, connections or referrals,” she said during her session yesterday. “Because here’s the thing to remember: people want to help others become successful.”
Laughingly calling people who innately love to network “sick, twisted and confused,” Elliott Powell conceded that most people are profoundly uneasy with the thought of walking into a room full of strangers and starting a conversation. “But I’ll tell you this: you will absolutely make more money, be more successful and experience stronger ROI the more you network.” Noting that most people aren’t taught how to properly network, Elliott Powell referred to studies showing that 15% of one’s success is based on technical skill, while 85% is due to the ability to connect. Basically, the stronger your network, the more chance you have to be a success.
Some effective networking tips offered by Elliott Powell included saying people’s names three times when first speaking to them, remembering that networks need to be cultivated consistently, and acknowledging that there’s no instant gratification in the process. “It may take two to three years to see real business from networking contacts,” she said. “But if you’re sincere and dedicated to cultivating this skill, you’ll be the first person they think of when they need promo items or services.”
Productivity Hacks For Distributors Industry consultant David Blaise offered new and mid-career distributors quick-hit ways to be more productive in less time in his session “25 Productivity Hacks to Get Things Done,” held during ASI Orlando yesterday. “Sometimes, it’s great to have a list of things that take just minutes and will help you increase your productivity throughout the year,” he told attendees. Here are three ideas he shared in his seminar.
1. Prioritize your top three activities for the day. “It comes down to deciding what the single-most important task you need to get done today is,” Blaise said. “That way, even if it’s the only thing you do, your day won't be a waste business-wise.” He said that distributors often fall into the trap of picking the easiest or quickest thing on their to-do list, and that item often doesn’t contribute to moving their business forward.
2. Track your activities for one business day to determine what can be delegated or eliminated. Blaise said this is easy – you can keep track of your work activities for a day on a smartphone app. “Then, look at where your hours went,” he said. “What’s the best use of your time? Are there things that need to be done, but don’t need to be done by you? If you’re a staff of one, delegate those tasks to the lower-paid version of yourself, meaning that you can do them in the less-productive off hours when you’re not selling or doing tasks that move the needle forward.” Blaise also pointed out that if you’re just starting, you can hire people through sites like Fiverr.com to do tasks like delete spam from your inbox for minimal fees. “Sales should be $100-an-hour work; you're not going to grow your business if you’re doing minimum-wage tasks,” he said.
3. Set your next desired benchmark. “What’s your current sales volume?” Blaise asked. “There’s always a next desired level. Even if you’re at your sales nirvana, you need to maintain that level and even hire other people to do that.” Doing this helps you focus your activities on getting your sales to that level.
Create Long-Lasting Customer Relationships
Marketing expert Johnny Campbell was once so eager to land a high-profile client who’d been snubbing his calls that he quizzed her secretary for some insider info and learned that the elusive client loved expensive shoes. After getting her size, he shipped the potential prospect a single red-bottomed shoe, along with a note that said “I’m trying to get my foot in the door. Give me a call.”
His attention-grabbing gambit paid off. He got the business – and she got the other shoe. “Master the law of attraction and become as attractive as you can to attract the customer you want,” Campbell advised attendees at his session, “Relationship-Marketing Secrets: Convert Prospects in 30 Days,” during yesterday’s Education Day at ASI Orlando.
Campbell, a former insurance salesman who quit a boring job after 10 years to start his own consulting business, peppered his energetic one-hour session with personal stories along with strategies and tips on converting prospects into profitable business partners. “It really comes down to relationships,” he said. “It’s not just about promotional products. It’s about how you position yourself.”
In 2007, it took an average of 3.6 cold calls to catch a prospect’s attention, he said. Now, it takes about eight attempts – but the average salesperson rarely makes more than two calls per prospect, which can doom them to failure. To ramp up conversion quotas quickly, he advised attendees to:
Increase personal credibility by publishing newsletters, getting customer testimonials and referrals.
Include a clear call to action and explanatory video on company websites.
Offer exclusive deals to select groups.
Follow up each initial contact with five calls.
Present themselves as busy, confident, well-dressed CEOs, company presidents, founders or business owners, and not everyday salespeople.
Nominate Now for the Counselor Product Design Awards
Counselor magazine is looking for innovative products for its annual Product Design Awards competition. Suppliers are invited to nominate their favorite eye-catching products in the following categories:
Awards & Recognition
Caps & Wearable Accessories
Meeting & Travel Products
Sports & Outdoors
Watches & Jewelry
To enter, please submit the following:
A sample of the product. (We recommend that the product be exclusive to the supplier that is submitting it, although this is not a requirement.)
A brief description of the product, including any special features.
The category that the product should be considered for.
There is a limit of one submission per category, per company. Please note that only products from North American suppliers will be considered, and that submissions will not be returned unless requested. Items that were submitted for previous Counselor Product Design Awards competitions are ineligible.
Please send samples and descriptions to:
4800 Street Road
Trevose, PA 19053
All submissions will be judged on the following areas: design appeal, functionality and the ability to attractively feature a logo (when appropriate). Winners will be featured prominently in a future issue of Counselor. All samples must be received by Friday, January 8.
In The News Bag Makers Inc. (asi/37940) now offers Sparkle Decoration, featuring glossy reflective dots to accent artwork on nonwoven and polyester bags. The company has also added the Plaza and Crowne bags to the Mesh Panel Tote collection, and now offers the Big Thunder and Little Thunder tote bags in Teal Blue. For more information, go to www.bagmakersinc.com.
ETS Express, Inc. (asi/51197) has opened a new manufacturing and distribution facility in Concord, NC, that will increase the company’s decorating and distribution capacity and offer shorter shipping times and significantly lower freight costs to customers in the Midwest, Northeast and South regions. The new facility combines office, production and warehouse space in 152,000 square feet, which will allow ETS to double its current production capacity by the middle to end of this year.
Petty Marketing (asi/491890), a Proforma company, has entered into a three-year, $6 million contract with a $6 billion health-care provider. Owner Ralph Petty will provide the client with promotional products and trade show materials, and will help develop an e-commerce site while staying within HIPAA guidelines and regulations.
People On The Move
S&S Activewear (asi/84358) has hired Mike Mannucci to serve in a newly created position of managing director, national operations. Mannucci, who was previously senior distribution manager for the Chicago distribution center for alphabroder, will work out of S&S Activewear’s Bolingbrook, Ill. office.
Strän Promotional Solutions (asi/337725) announced the company has hired Nick Seagers as director of operations.
Ready, Set, Customize
Distributors can visit booth 1251 at ASI Show® Orlando January 5-6 for info on customizing an ESP Website. Find out more.
Another New Member Benefit
ASI recently announced a new affiliate partnership with Xpedite Fulfillment, Inc. that will allow members to save up to 25% on warehousing and fulfillment services. Find out more.
YOUR ONLINE GUIDE TO ASI SHOW DALLAS Your guide to ASI Show® Dallas is ready – check it out now to see all that’s NEW and EXCITING in 2016! ASI Show Dallas is held in the #1 market for promotional products and is the BIGGEST and BEST industry event in the Southwest – making it a can’t-miss event!
If you haven’t already, register for FREE using promo code promogram, then use this brochure to start mapping out your time at the show.
Grow your business with over 500 suppliers and the new products they are debuting in 2016
Attend a full day of FREE distributor education with all NEW courses and nine NEW speakers for 2016
Be inspired by Keynoter J.R. Martinez, actor, best-selling author and wounded U.S. Army veteran
For more information on the three-day schedule, February 9-11 at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center, visit www.asishow.com, or call 800-546-3300.
Click here to subscribe to Counselor® magazine. You must be a member of ASI to subscribe to this publication. The publisher has a right to refuse subscriptions to non-members.
Advertising Specialty Institute®, 4800 Street Road, Trevose, PA 19053
This message/promotion was sent by Advertising Specialty Institute, Inc., 4800 Street Road, Trevose, PA 19053
For questions/inquiries please contact our Customer Service Team at CustomerService@asicentral.com.
To unsubscribe from all of our mailings,
or send an email to our Customer Service Team CustomerService@asicentral.com
with the Email Address in the subject line.
To unsubscribe from the Counselor PromoGram e-Newsletter email list only,