Promo Talk: Patrick Black, Perfect Imprints

Candid opinions from industry pros.

Patrick Black
  • President/CEO, Perfect Imprints (asi/293567) in Fort Walton Beach, FL
  • 18 Years of Industry Experience

What I Wish I Knew When I Started …
The importance of industry relationships. There are many veterans to learn from, and it’s challenged me to become a better person. It’s really silly to go about it alone. Social media has made connecting with others so much easier. I also take time at industry events to meet and learn from as many suppliers and distributors as possible.

What Frustrates Me the Most …
Number one: Lazy distributors. Research your own products for clients. Stop posting ridiculous questions in social media groups, like “Where can I find this BIC pen?” or “Does anyone know who has a collapsible can coolie?” You really can’t find those products on your own? Number two: Distributors who lowball other distributors. Don’t sell yourself out of business by cutting your prices. You’re training your customers not to value you or your services, and you’re cheapening the entire industry.

I’ll Never Do That Again …
When I was new, I let a lawyer have net 30 terms for his order. There were no problems with his order, but he didn’t pay and he wouldn’t respond to emails or calls. What was I supposed to do? Sue him? Now I always get full prepayment from attorneys. I later learned this same rule also applies to political candidates.

If I Were King of the Industry…
I would eliminate part-time distributors. Either go all in or get out. Our industry needs committed distributors who will represent this great industry with exceptional knowledge, excitement, creativity and involvement. You can’t do that half-heartedly. I would set a minimum client and annual sales goal and highly encourage all suppliers to honor those rules.

What I Wish I Could Say to a Client …
“Your logo is so ugly that auto makers are putting it on car window decals to use as anti-theft devices.” You know those clients with logos that look like a butt print left in the sand? It’s typically those same customers who absolutely love their logo. No matter how we use it, it always looks terrible. Is printing it on products really doing them a service? Sometimes I wonder.

Worst Advice I Received …
Someone who started in the industry before me told me he made his career from undercutting the competition’s pricing. I actually started out doing this. I received many orders, but I quickly found out with each reorder that customers wanted to talk me down on price again and again. Eventually, all I was doing was negotiating price. I broke out of that and focused on wowing my clients with services. Price hasn’t been much of an issue since then. That “wise old sage” got out of the business pretty quickly after that; or, more accurately, was forced out of business.

What Suppliers Can Do Better …
Stop suggesting end-user pricing on a C and instead price on an A. Establishing a low margin out of the gates makes it more difficult for distributors to be profitable. Although we’re free to price how we want, it often comes back to bite us when 95% of other online distributors have priced at the suggested supplier pricing. Additionally, please stop pricing run charges and setup charges on a G. That’s a huge margin-killer!

Most Overrated Trend …
Some clients still want to print their logos as large as possible. I want to say, “It’s 10-inches wide. Do you really need it bigger? No matter what you say, your logo is not as cool as you think.” With an understated print, their items will be used more often and for longer.

Stereotype About Salespeople I Hate the Most …
That they’re all dishonest, sleazy and greasy. Honestly, I have the same thoughts as I field telemarketer calls where they’re trying to sell me the next greatest marketing service. But I know most members of our industry are good people actually trying to help businesses succeed.