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  • October 31, 2023 3:47 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    The Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC), the regional voice of the promotional products industry in Southern California for more than 60 years, has elected its 2024 board of directors.

    Amy Williams, CAS, AB Unlimited Worldwide, was elected president of the 2024 board. Williams brings with her over 10 years of industry experience and a long-standing commitment to serve the Southern California promotional community. Williams succeeds Jeff Stevens, who will continue to serve on the association’s board as immediate past president.

    Also joining the board to begin their two-year terms as directors are David Berger of Global Promo, LLC,  Barbie Deloa of Key-Bak, and Jacque Martin of BreakAway Promo.

    The 2023 SAAC Board of Directors include:

    President: Amy Williams, CAS, AB Unlimited Worldwide

    Vice President: Heather Valle-Laird, Logomark

    Immediate Past President: Jeff Stevens, WestCo Marketing

    Treasurer: Victoria Schmitz, CAS, Goldstar

    Secretary: Ryan Paules, Radar Promotions

    Director: David Berger, Global Promo

    Director: Barbie Deloa, Key-Bak

    Director: Kimberly Horton, FPS Apparel

    Director: Jacque Martin, BreakAway Promo

    Director: Heidi Selleck, The Vernon Company

    Director: Mary Skeen, AIM Smarter LLC

  • October 31, 2023 3:30 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Hey there, future SAAC member! Ready to explore a world where relationships truly matter, education is a game-changer, and a bundle of exclusive benefits awaits you? Look no further – joining the Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) might just be the best decision you make in your professional life. Here's why.

    1. Relationships Matter - #RelationshipsMatter

    In an age of digital overload, nothing beats a genuine, face-to-face connection. SAAC thrives on fostering real relationships. Imagine networking events where you're mingling with industry pros, discussing the latest trends in promo, all while sharing a laugh or two. That's the SAAC experience, and it's priceless.

    2. Valuable Education

    At SAAC, we take education seriously. Our seminars and workshops are like treasure troves of knowledge, led by industry experts who've been there and done that. These educational opportunities can transform your career, giving you the insights and skills, you need to excel in this great industry of ours.

    3. Exclusive Member Benefits

    SAAC membership opens the door to a world of perks for SUPPLIERS, DISTRIBUTORS, MULTI-LINE REPS, and BUSINESS SERVICE PROVIDERS! From discounts on industry conferences to access to member-only content and perks, you'll find a range of benefits tailored to help you succeed. Plus, our members enjoy exclusive webinars and resources, keeping you ahead of the curve.

    4. Amplify Your Brand

    SAAC provides our SUPPLIER members the opportunity to showcase their brand's expertise. As a member, SUPPLIERS participate in events, sponsorships, and publications, boosting your visibility and credibility in the industry.

    5. Community Support

    Joining SAAC means becoming part of a vibrant community of like-minded professionals. Share insights, industry expertise and build relationships through networking.

    In summary, SAAC is your ticket to a world where relationships thrive, education empowers, and a host of benefits await. Join us today and unlock the doors to professional success. Remember, when it comes to SAAC, #RelationshipsMatter.

    ~Bob Levitt, Interim Executive Director

  • October 31, 2023 3:23 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    The holiday buying season is officially here! Distributors are busy finding everything their client’s desire. Suppliers are completing virtuals, spec samples, and orders to fulfill all the client's wishes. MLR & Factory Reps are showing here, zooming there, helping tie them all up in a bow! As we move into this hectic holiday season, consider supporting the SAAC suppliers who invested in making the SAAC Expo 2023 in August such a HUGE success! 

    The 2023 SAAC Holiday Party is back! Join SAAC on Thursday, December 7th, at the roof top restaurant, WEST located in Hotel Angeleno in Los Angeles

    • Networking from 5 to 6 pm
    • Dinner and Program start at 6 pm

    The evening will feature the installation of the 2024 SAAC Board of Directors, networking, food, and special sneak peek of upcoming products from SAAC Supplier Members. We look forward to celebrating the holidays with you this year. Remember, BOOK EARLY, as last year we SOLD OUT!

    To help your SAAC Board lead better, several members attended the PPAI Leadership Development Workshop (LDW) this month in Grapevine, Texas. LDW provided the opportunity to attend education sessions, share ideas, and boost relationships with other industry regional associations. This year, I learned many tips on running a successful organization, utilizing the talents of its board, and listening to its members. More than anything, I was reminded that SAAC is more than just a tradeshow or networking event. It's about relationships with like-minded peers and growing our region together. I am very thankful to this year's board of directors for all their help.

    For SAAC inquiries, contact Bob Levitt, our fantastic Interim Executive Director. (818-600-1340 or Email executivedirector@saac.net).

    ~Jeff Stevens, Wesco Marketing

  • October 31, 2023 3:18 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Allow me to introduce you to Lori Bolton, a 24-year veteran and Director of Business Development for Totally Bamboo.  

    What is your favorite thing about this industry? My absolute favorite aspect of our industry are the amazing people that I get to work with day in and day out, it is truly a family. I appreciate the creative aspect of our industry. I have a great desire to understand the scope of each project and what the ultimate goal is of the End User and suggest products that will make my customer look like a rockstar.

    Why did you join SAAC? SAAC has been part of my life since I joined the industry and I have always felt welcomed as a member. In 2016 I became President of SAAC and it was important to me that current and new members got to experience what I have over the years. I wanted them to experience the sense of family, collaboration and community that I had experienced over the years.

    Why do you support SAAC? It is one of the largest Regional Associations in our industry, often leading and setting standards for the other associations. Without the support of members, we lose the sense of community and the future of our association. It is super important for new people joining our industry to have a community to tap into and feel a part of.

    Fun Facts: 

    I am the co-host of a Podcast with Amelia Madl, that is hosted by PromoCorner. It has been running for 3 years called “The Rundown”, where you receive “Livin’ with Lori” tips, specific to Health and Wellness.

    I am a certified Health and Wellness Coach, focusing on Hormone Health and I am 300 out of 500 hours into my Pilates Teacher Training Course. I love to give back to my community whether it be professionally or personally. 

    ~Heidi Selleck, The Vernon Company

  • October 05, 2023 9:26 AM | Bob Levitt (Administrator)

    Danielle Olszewski, e-commerce business development manager at Phoenix-based Zing Manufacturing (PPAI 517185, S7), is one of more than 40 million Americans who must resume their student loan payments this month after a three-and-a-half-year reprieve.

    Although President Joe Biden has extended the payment freeze several times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a provision in the Fiscal Responsibility Act of 2023 codified the plan to end the pause at the end of August. Interest on federal student loans began accruing again on September 1, and now Uncle Sam has come knocking for roughly 43.5 million borrowers – with the average borrower owing $37,787, according to Federal Reserve Bank of New York data. 

    “When they stopped the payments during the pandemic, it was the biggest relief for me,” says Olszewski, a 2021 PPB Rising Star. “I didn’t have this monthly bill and could focus on other major purchases. But it’s definitely been a wake-up call now that payments are back into effect.”

    Olszewski’s parents were concerned about the cost of higher education, but after emigrating from Poland in their 20s, their American dream was to work hard so their kids could go to college. “They tried to be as smart as possible about it, telling my sister and I we had to commute so we wouldn’t be stuck with a crazy amount of debt,” Olszewski says.

    Graduating from Monmouth University in 2015 with roughly $30,000 in student loan debt, Olszewski prioritized paying off the loans with the highest interest rate. Although that strategy has delayed home ownership for her and her husband, she’s now left owing only a little more than $4,000, which she’s leaning toward finishing off with a lump sum payment.

    “We do have money in the bank and plan to talk to a financial advisor to see what our options are,” Olszewski says. “We want to start making larger life decisions and we’re thinking about having children. We should start saving now so they have something to help them in the future.”

    ‘The Only Option’

    Meanwhile, Kelly Brown, director of marketing and operations at Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Green Giftz (PPAI 438899, D5), still has a ways to go.

    2022 PPAI Rising Star, Brown owed more than $50,000 by the time she graduated from Grand Valley State University in 2014. After consistently paying on time and even throwing a little extra at the principal every so often, she currently owes about $10,000 in federal student loan debt and around $12,000 from a private loan that her parents took out in their name – even though they weren’t in favor of their children seeking higher education.

    “My parents were looking at college as a huge expense, specifically how my older sister and I would be going into debt at such a young age,” Brown says. “At the same time, we had the foresight to know that if we didn’t go to college, it would be harder to get a degree and neither of us wanted to go into a skilled trade. College seemed like the only option. That’s just what you did. That’s what your advisors told you to do.”

    Now that payments have resumed, she expects to pay around $400 a month – on top of her mortgage, insurance, groceries and other expenses – for the next three to five years.

    “Your student loan debt is this backpack you have to carry for the rest of your life until it’s gone,” says Brown, “It’s always looming over you. You’re reminded of it and how it limits things in your life like when you’re trying to get a home loan.”

    How Can Promo Help?

    Considering that the promotional products industry traditionally skews older, it’s not surprising that the roughly $1.8 trillion national student debt crisis hasn’t received as much attention as other pressing issues, such as sustainability.

    • Distributors reported, on average, having just over a quarter (26.6%) of their workforce being under age 30, according to benchmarking data obtained by PPAI.


    • Suppliers reported, on average, having less than a quarter (23.6%) of their workforce being under age 30, according to the benchmarking data.

    The industry must attract more young people in order to survive and thrive. After all, it’s vital that promo firms recruit Millennials and Gen Zers who are more aligned with young consumers’ interests and preferences. To make the next generation of the workforce more inclined to enter – and remain – in promo, companies should be tailoring their perks and benefits to meet the needs of their future employees.

    The Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) is a good start. Since 1989, PPEF has awarded $3,347,000 in college scholarships to 1,788 industry employees and their children.

    • For the 2023-24 school year, $320,500 in total scholarship money was awarded to 170 students (138 new recipients and 32 renewal recipients).


    Furthermore, helping employees pay off their student loan debt could be a differentiator for the industry. It’s an opportunity for promo firms to step up and give a lifeline that other companies aren’t.

    “I wish there was some kind of support,” Olszewski says. “I never really took the perspective that this could be something your employer could help you with.”

    Brown agrees, stressing that student loan assistance is highly desirable. “If I was a commissioned rep and the economy was fluctuating and I was uncertain what my income might look like on any given month, to know that I have some assistance with that debt would be huge,” she says. “If you’re late on those payments, that’s a big deal.”

    Government Intervention

    There was a chance that half of Brown’s debt would’ve been wiped away under Biden’s federal student loan forgiveness plan, which would’ve canceled $10,000 for borrowers making less than $125,000 annually and up to $20,000 for Pell Grant recipients – undergrads who display exceptional financial need.

    However, the Supreme Court ruled against the plan at the end of June.

    • The 6-3 majority said that the president didn’t have the authority to instruct the U.S. Secretary of Education to eliminate such a large amount of consumer debt without Congress’ authorization.


    • The high court also said the plan would harm Missouri because it would’ve reduced profits at the Missouri Higher Education Loan Authority (MOHELA), one of the largest student loan servicers in the country.

    “I can be upset, but I can’t change it,” Brown says. “It won’t magically go away. It would’ve been great if we had some forgiveness there, and that day might come, but right now, I have to pay this. You make it part of your monthly budget, cut corners where you can and move on.” 

    The Biden administration has since introduced other measures aimed at easing the burden for student loan borrowers, such as the SAVE plan (an improved income-driven repayment plan) and a 12-month “on-ramp” to repayment, running from October 1, 2023, to September 30, 2024. The latter is designed to avoid borrowers who miss monthly payments from being considered delinquent, reported to credit bureaus, placed in default or referred to debt collection agencies.

    Employers Get Involved

    Although these efforts will certainly help millions of borrowers, they’re not enough to benefit everyone. Therefore, without the government to rely on, many Americans are turning to the private sector for relief.

    According to Betterment research:

    • More than half (57%) of employees think their bosses should help them pay off their student debt and 85% said they'd leave their current job for one that offered more financial support for student loans.
    • However, 86% of workers said they'd stick with a company for five years if it meant they could take advantage of a student loan repayment perk. 

    “It’s a good way to attract people,” says Sarah Burgin, vice president of finance at Fredericktown, Missouri-based Cap America (PPAI 111597, S10) – ranked the No. 11 supplier in this year’s PPAI 100.

    Cap America offers tuition reimbursement for employees, as does ProformaAmerican Solutions for BusinessOrbus Visual Communications and Picnic Time Family of Brands, among other promo firms.

    Additionally, Cap America has a scholarship program for dependent children of its workforce.

    “Employers are now in a position where they should be looking at themselves, asking what they can provide that makes them more attractive than another company,” Burgin says. “Offering the option for someone to come in and continue their education without having that heavy financial burden is definitely something that can give an employer a competitive advantage.”

    Removing The Barrier To Entry

    Koozie Group (PPAI 114187, S13) – ranked the No. 10 supplier in this year’s PPAI 100 – has had 22 employees take advantage of its tuition reimbursement benefit this year, according to Francine Dupuis, chief legal officer and chief human resources officer at the Tampa, Florida-based company.

    “Because the majority of our positions don’t require a four-year degree, we plan to keep focusing on our tuition reimbursement benefit as a way to keep our employees from incurring this type of expense,” Dupuis says.

    Other promo firms have also shifted their way of thinking, no longer demanding that employees spend four or more years cracking the books and racking up debt. For example, Brown says Green Giftz no longer requires a four-year degree from its job applicants. Instead, the company focuses on candidates’ skills, personality traits and experience.

    “In our industry, experience in an actual job is way more beneficial than whatever your college degree is in,” Brown says. “Certainly, college provides you with life experiences and a built-in network that you can use in your career, but as far as it actually leading to a job, your experience in your internship, a job in college or what you’ve done after is way more beneficial. That’s coming from somebody that looks at resumes and hires people.”

    Olszewski agrees, arguing that some of the hardest workers come from the retail or even the fitness space. “You can find talent in other areas without them having a bachelor’s degree,” she says. “That’s why I love our industry – we’re very welcoming to people with different backgrounds.”

    Burgin says that higher education is typically preferred, but not required for positions at Cap America. “Since COVID, the market has been more competitive for talent and people have choices they didn’t necessarily have before,” Burgin says. “Finding the right candidate is definitely challenging. We’re always looking for a great fit culturally as well, so we dive into that a little bit deeper, making sure the candidate is the right fit.”

    “As far as education and training,” she adds, “obviously we’d love everyone to have that from the get-go. But maybe if they have the experience, but are missing the education, we have an opportunity to provide that through the programs we offer.”

    Instead of standard college courses, Cap America is now looking at different certificates and online programs that are less of a time commitment as an alternative way for employees to further their education. Burgin says the company has looked into electrical and welding certifications, even sending some workers to take a course in sewing machine operation and repair.

    “I’m proud that we continue to have an open mind as far as how we’re helping employees enhance their careers,” Burgin says.

    Published with permission from PPAI Media

  • September 14, 2023 3:10 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    The SAAC Expo was a tremendous success. The engagement from suppliers, distributors and end buyers was outstanding. We had over a hundred end buyers participate on Day 2. PPAI President & CEO Dale Denham was the keynote speaker, and his talk about maximizing merch in promotional budgets was beneficial for all who attended. Thank you to the distributors who took advantage of this opportunity to highlight our industry’s offerings.

    The happy hour overlooking San Diego Bay was well attended and another chance to mingle with industry friends. Those who participated in the Game On event enjoyed a great meal, networking and some fun competition. It was a sellout event with 150 competitors. Thank you to the sponsors who contributed to the awesome goodie bags all participants received.

    Seeing 40 SAAC members playing cornhole at once was quite a sight! Mixing up the teams each round was a little stressful, but thank you to Heather Laird for keeping the event moving. It was fun to see the competitive nature of my different teammates, as well as the other participants. I am not going to name names, but a few of you might consider anger management programs. 

    Congratulations to the 2023 SAAC Cornhole Tournament Winners:

    • Memo Kahan, PromoShop
    • Shawn Kanak, Towel Specialties
    • Jasmine Dunbar, Prestige Concepts
    • Greer Bellamy, PromoShop
    • Mike, High Caliber Line
    • Taylor Coward, PPAI

    View More SAAC Expo 2023 Photos

    I must say, I am humbled and genuinely appreciative of the individuals who supported me, the Expo and the experience. I also want to personally thank the SAAC Board and PPAI/Christina Sanders for all their efforts to make the Expo such a success. 

    The SAAC holiday party will be the first week of December. We are changing the party this year and adding the installation of new officers to give the 2024 Board a running start before the busy month of January. We are looking at venues in Orange County and will release that date and location soon. Make sure to reserve your seat, as the last event was a sellout.

    The SAAC Foundation Golf Tournament will be at the Brookside Golf Course in Pasadena on Wednesday, October 18. A great day filled with activities from golf to wine tastings, a silent auction and dinner with friends and family is the perfect way to entertain everyone and support SAAC, the foundation and industry family members seeking higher education. Be sure to extend the invitation to your industry friends.

    Not a golfer? No problem. Please join us for the October SAAC Dinner in Pasadena on Wednesday, October 18 – right after the golf tournament. I look forward to seeing you at Brookside Golf Course on the 18th on the golf course, at the wine tasting, at dinner – or at all three!

    Jeff Stevens

    SAAC President 

  • September 14, 2023 10:24 AM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Meet AJ Kind, contract key account executive for 3M Promotional Markets. I had the pleasure of speaking with him about his time in the industry, why he volunteers and some compelling reasons why 3M was exhibiting at the SAAC Expo 2023.

    What is your favorite thing about our industry?

    As cliche as it sounds, I would say it is the people. I have worked in many different industries. The atmosphere and community we create in the promotional products industry is very unique. Suppliers are the people that get asked to perform miracles by trying to track down some of the most unique things, always in a rush, but somehow this industry is still relaxed and a lot of fun.

    What do you love about the SAAC Expo?

    This August was my first time attending the SAAC, and as a Minnesota boy I sunburn easily, so I only make it out into the sun every once in a while! I’ve always loved regional shows, especially during my time when on the distributor side. Industry trade shows really show the dedication of suppliers in their support of distributors by coming to you on your own turf, not just on the national show circuit. To put the time and effort into showing up locally and get to experience what can make each region unique is and can be very rewarding.

    I really enjoyed the Game On event held on Wednesday night at the SAAC Expo. I’m not sure if you know this, but I’m pretty sure it’s only the state of Minnesota that calls what you refer to as corn hole a “bean bag toss.” I’ve got a set of my own, and I’ve been practicing. I might even land a bag on the board this year!

    But on a serious note, I look forward to making connections with the distributors and being able to help them with their projects. At 3M, 99% of what we do are Post-its. My greatest satisfaction is showing people what a Post-it can do for them and their book of business.

    Learn more about 3M Promotional Markets.

    Heidi Selleck ~ The Vernon Company

  • September 14, 2023 10:23 AM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has voted to approve a mandatory standard to reduce button cell and coin battery ingestion hazards to children six years and under.

    Both suppliers and distributors in the promotional products industry should be aware that these batteries are used in many types of products, such as a variety of toys, wireless video game controllers, musical greeting cards and keyless entry remotes.

    “Now that CPSC has finalized Reese’s Law, and has adopted ANSI/UL4200A-2023 as the mandatory standard for consumer products powered by button cell batteries and not covered by the ASTM F963- The Toy Safety Standard, it is urgent that all members of the promotional products industry comply,” says Rick Brenner, MAS+, president and CEO of Product Safety Advisors and long-time co-chair to PPAI’s Product Responsibility Summit.


    Enacted August 16, 2022, Reese's Law mandates that the CPSC implements federal safety requirements for button cell or coin batteries, as well as consumer products containing such batteries.

    • These requirements don’t apply to toy products for children under 14 if the products comply with the Toy Standard.
    • Additionally, the law requires that any button cell or coin battery offered for sale, manufactured for sale, imported into the U.S. or included separately with a consumer product, meet the child-resistant packaging requirements in the Poison Prevention Packaging Standards after February 12, 2023.

    Consistent with Reese’s Law, the mandatory standard – ANSI/UL 4200A-2023 – requires either the use of a tool, such as a screwdriver or coin to open the battery compartment, or the application of at least two independent and simultaneous movements to open by hand.

    Additionally, such consumer products must pass a series of performance tests simulating reasonably foreseeable use or misuse. The standard also includes labeling requirements for consumer products containing button cell or coin batteries, and labeling requirements for consumer product packaging.

    Safety Hazard

    According to the CPSC, the consequences of a child swallowing a button cell or coin battery can be immediate and deadly. The tiny batteries can burn through a child’s throat or esophagus in as little as two hours if swallowed.

    • From 2011 through 2021, the CPSC is aware of 27 deaths and an estimated 54,300 injuries treated in emergency rooms associated with ingested or inserted button cell or coin batteries.

    The movement to promote child safety regarding button cell and coin battery ingestion was spearheaded by Trista Hamsmith, whose 18-month-old daughter Reese Hamsmith died from injuries sustained when she swallowed a coin cell battery in December 2020. Since that time, Hamsmith has worked tirelessly to protect other children from similar hazards.

    “I thank Trista Hamsmith and the congressional champions of this legislation for all of their work to provide the commission with expedited authority to address this safety hazard,” wrote CPSC Chair Alexander Hoehn-Saric. “I also want to thank the CPSC staff for providing the necessary support and analysis to bring us to this important moment. With these changes, we’ll help reduce the number of deaths and injuries from these consumer products.”

    Promo’s Next Steps

    The new law will take effect 180 days from the date that it is published in the Federal Register, which has not happened yet. Promo industry suppliers have an opportunity to evaluate their product line and determine if their non-toy button cell powered products already meet the standard or will have to be redesigned.

    The Consumer Product Safety Commission is presenting at this year’s Summit on Reese’s Law. The event will be held October 8-10 in Alexandria, Virginia. Click here for more information and to register.

    Published with Permission from PPAI Media

  • September 14, 2023 10:21 AM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    As the holiday season approaches, “best gifts” lists start popping up all over the place. Probably the most famous and followed of these is Oprah’s Favorite Things, which drops in early November. Last year, four products from four different PPAI member suppliers made the cut with Ms. Winfrey.

    But promo companies are already in the thick of holiday order season, and as anyone in this industry can tell you, November is way too late to start planning promo for delivery in December. So, while we wait for Oprah’s 2023 picks, here are a baker’s dozen of promo alternatives to items on Esquire’s Best Gifts Under $50 list. (Note: Not all items listed below are priced under $50.)

    ICYMI: The Best Promo Alternatives To Oprah’s Favorite Things

    BEST COFFEE GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Soma Double-Wall Glass Cold Brew Bottle

    cold brew coffee or tea tumbler for travel

    This 18-oz., all-in-one Cold Brew Coffee/Tea Maker Glass Bottle brews your fresh coffee or tea on the go using any temperature water. With a brew time under five minutes, this travel-sized piece gives you the freedom to brew your favorite beverage anytime, anywhere.

    UPromo / PPAI 818503, S3

    BEST MUSIC GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Belkin Wireless Earbuds

    wireless earbuds in custom carry case

    The water-resistant Skullcandy Jib 2 True Wireless Earbuds provide up to 33 hours of playback, and each earbud contains Tile finding technology, so if you ever misplace one, you can just ping it from the Tile app. Built-in microphones and music controls.

    PCNA / PPAI 113079, S15

    BEST FOOD GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Brightland The Pair (Fancy Vinegar)

    engraved oil and vinegar set in custom wood gift box

    This elegant Custom Etched Romeo & Giulietta Gift Set includes an olive oil and balsamic vinegar nesting bottle pair inside a slide-top wood box. Both the bottle and the box can be laser-engraved with your client’s message or company logo.

    A+ Wine Designs / PPAI 173549, S4

    BEST SEASONAL GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Free People Sweet Valley Scarf

    blue plaid alpaca scarf

    Stay warm with this 12-by-70-inch Alpaca Winter Scarf, a stylish and practical accessory for anyone. Available in five solid colors and two plaids (blue plaid shown), with decoration by embroidery, embroidered patches or woven labels.

    Wolfmark / PPAI 114140, S3

    BEST MANUAL GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: JavaPresse Manual Coffee Grinder

    manual coffee grinder with gift tube

    Perfect for the coffee connoisseur, this portable Manual Coffee Grinder is easy to use and clean, plus has an adjustable grind selector, making it ideal for home, travel or camping. Choice of sage or teal (shown) in giftable tube.

    The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5

    BEST FITNESS GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Resistance Bands

    yoga resistance bands with branded pouch

    Get a great workout with these stretchy Yoga Resistance Bands, made of a durable thermoplastic elastomer to provide different levels of resistance based on their varying thicknesses. Each band is 12 inches long when laid flat and can be easily stored in the included brandable pouch.

    High Caliber Line / PPAI 205801, S10

    BEST SPEAKER GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: JBL Clip 3

    JBL Clip 3 portable Bluetooth speaker

    In this case, the brand-name gift on the list is also available as a customizable promo product. The JBL Clip 3 is an ultra-portable, ultra-rugged and waterproof Bluetooth speaker that is small in size but delivers surprisingly big sound. The carabiner clips to clothes, belt loop or backpack for easy carrying.

    Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10

    BEST GIFT FOR THE HOST – Esquire’s Pick: Williams Sonoma Monogram Board

    round white marble cutting board with custom engraving

    This elegant white marble Marco Marble Cutting Board with tone-on-tone laser engraving provides a beautiful way to serve guests or to protect countertops during meal prep. The roughly 8-inch circular board comes packaged in a gift box.

    Hit Promotional Products / PPAI 113910, S14

    BEST TOTE GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Street Level Reversible Faux Leather Tote

     reversible tote bag with logo outside, full sublimation inside

    It’s not faux leather, but this Reversible Cotton Tote with 26-inch handles features a full-color sublimated liner, making it two bags in one for double the branding opportunity. Cotton available in 16 colors (natural shown), with the polyester liner printed and sewn in the USA.

    LimeLight USA / PPAI 223938, S3

    MOST PRACTICAL GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Lululemon Everywhere Belt Bag Large

    everywhere belt bag fanny pack in six colors

    Designed for maximum portability, this Everywhere Belt Bag / Fanny Pack has room for your phone, keys and all the essentials. Made of water-resistant nylon, the bag features an adjustable 43-inch strap and comes in dozens of stock colors, as well as PMS matching.

    Tekweld / PPAI 266346, S4

    BEST GIFT FOR THE BAR CART – Esquire’s Pick: Mark & Graham Wooden Bottle Opener

    wine opener multi-tool with personalized wooden handle

    Pair a custom-labeled bottle of wine with this Mahogany Style Wooden Corkscrew Wine Bottle Opener for a branded gift to enjoy both now and in the future. The multi-tool features an ergonomic grip, stainless steel foil cutter blade, spiral wine corkscrew and bottle opener, plus your client’s logo or message on the handle.

    STOPNGO Line / PPAI 112044, S6

    BEST HOME GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Upwest Fringe Throw Blanket

    herringbone throw blanket with fringe

    The classic subtle woven herringbone pattern of this Everlasting Throw Blanket with fringe adds style and warmth to any space. Highlight your client’s brand with laser etching on the faux leather patch. This 50-by-60-inch throw is perfect for travel and folds neatly into the included kraft box.

    Gemline / PPAI 113948, S11

    BEST GOLF GIFT – Esquire’s Pick: Callaway Golf Chrome Soft Balls

    embroidered pouch with matching Callaway golf balls etc.

    This is another brand-name gift on the list that’s also available as a promo product. Put your client’s logo on a custom-embroidered Callaway Six Ball Pouch, which includes six brandable Callaway Chrome Soft golf balls, six tees, two ball markers and one divot repair tool. Made in the USA, it’s a gift sure to delight serious golfers.

    Ball Pro / PPAI 112763, S8

    Published with Permission from PPAI Media

  • September 14, 2023 7:45 AM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Sales is a field that’s built on relationships. Not only can your existing clients continue to bring in revenue, but they can lead to referrals and continued growth for your promo business. If you and your sales team aren’t focused on strengthening your customer relationships, another company could swoop in and win the business.

    Anthony Iannarino, a bestselling author and world-renowned sales expert, says a part of what you sell should be the relationship. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we outline his thoughts on how you can establish stronger connections with your clients.

    Take a long-term view. Many sales professionals get caught up in the short-term pursuit. They chase the first meeting and overlook the big picture. Remember that the first meeting is an audition, Iannarino says. You’re trying out to join your prospect’s team. You should approach it with the intent to work with the client for the rest of your sales career.

    Give them time. Don’t hurry your prospects along or put pressure on them to make a decision. When you try to shorten the client’s decision-making process, you make it harder for them and increase your odds of losing the deal, Iannarino says. Keep in mind that the more time they spend with you, the better your chances of landing the deal.

    Focus on value. How does the client benefit from the sales discussion? Iannarino says it’s critical to create value so the prospect will prefer entering a sales relationship with you over another company.

    Deliver results. When you say you’re going to do something, follow through. Your clients need to know they can count on you. Even if you connect immediately with clients, if you don’t provide what they need, you’ll lose them. Iannarino recommends engaging with the people who are responsible for delivering the results you sold the client. When possible, bring them into the sales conversation.

    Communicate often. Don’t be the kind of sales rep who closes the deal and then disappears. You need constant communication to maintain the relationship. Work with your clients on a schedule that makes sense for them.

    Bring new value. If you’re committed to selling the relationship, you can’t just call it in. You must be willing to do the work others will not, Iannarino says. He recommends reading, researching and providing your client with advice and recommendations that will ensure they succeed now and in the future.

    Take some time today to review your client relationships. Whether you send your customers a thoughtful promo or a quick email to check in, always look for ways to invest in these relationships.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Anthony Iannarino is an international speaker, bestselling author, entrepreneur and sales leader specializing in B2B sales.

    Published with permission from PPAI Media

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