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  • June 09, 2023 7:00 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    James W. Huller, 84, of Henderson, Nevada, passed away on May 16, 2023. Born August 28, 1937, Jim worked as a multi-line representative in the industry for Monahan & Associates as an account manager before retiring and moving with his wife, Linda, to Henderson in 2008.

    Jim served on the Specialty Advertising Association of California board in the early ’90s prior to becoming SAAC board president in 1992.

    “Jim Huller was a dear friend of mine,” says Robert Collins, Collins & Associates. “He was a wonderful, kind and generous person who cared about our industry. He always gave of his time to assist anyone that needed encouragement and guidance, serving as a mentor to many. He will be missed by many.”

    James Huller, Linda Huller, and Robert Collins

    James is survived by his wife, Linda T. Huller; sisters-in-law Joan W. Huller and Sharon Caldwell; brother-in-law, William Smith; nieces and nephews Karen, Tim, Lynn, Sheila, Scott, Kevin and Darcie. The family will observe private services and burial in his hometown in New York. To express your condolences to the family,  visit https://www.scheppfamily.com/memorials/james-william-huller/5200450/index.php.  

  • June 09, 2023 3:00 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Meet Rena Ashfeld, CAS, Sales Director from Spector & Co. in St-Laurent, Quebec. I had the opportunity to check in with Rena recently to see why Spector & Co. joined and plans to exhibit at SAAC Expo 2023.


    Why exhibit at SAAC?

    Spector & Co. opened a 100,000 sq. ft. state-of-the-art warehouse facility and merchandising studio minutes from the Las Vegas strip in December 2022. We are shipping approximately 75% of our products, including drinkware, pens, and notebooks.

    You can read more about the opening of the new facility here: Spector & Co. Opens New 100,000 sq. ft. facility in Las Vegas, Nevada.

    For us joining SAAC and exhibiting at the SAAC Expo 2023 places Spector & Co. in front of industry distributors on the west coast with fresh ideas and products. Distributors that we might not be able to reach from the east coast.

    Learn more about Spector & Co. and stop by their booth at the SAAC Expo 2023 in August.

     Heidi Selleck ~ The Vernon Company

  • June 08, 2023 1:00 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Rep. Bob Latta (R-OH5) reviews PPAI materials during a meeting Wednesday with Andrea Kramer and Michael Steeb of Findlay, Ohio distributor City Apparel.

    The resumption of in-person interactions with congresspeople was a welcomed return on Thursday during PPAI’s Legislative Education and Action Day, held live on Capitol Hill for the first time since 2019. But the industry’s talking points on the day also had a familiar feel.

    As LEAD’s name suggests, the first objective is always to inform senators and representatives about the size and importance of the promo industry. It represents a $25 billion sales market in the U.S. and employs roughly half a million Americans. Of the industry’s 38,000 companies in the U.S., some 98% are considered small businesses.

    Beyond those important figures for representatives to understand, the industry’s advocates drilled down on four primary talking points that have been vital to the industry going back to L.E.A.D. 2022 and earlier. Along with reading material on PPAI’s positions, volunteers left sample products with representatives and their staffs, including Promotional Products Work branded tumblers, hand sanitizer and more.

    A mix of regional association representatives from industry companies of all sizes and types, as well as PPAI staffers, L.E.A.D. participants brought up the same key messages in each meeting.

    Promotional Products Work

    Promotional products are the most cost-effective, memorable and longest-lasting form of advertising, participants told their representatives. The same marketing medium legislators use as part of their election campaigns can make a profound difference in the lives and businesses of constituents. Included in the message:

    • Promotional products are ranked the No. 1 most effective form of advertising to prompt action across all generations.
    • According to PPAI’s most recent Consumer Study, 88% of people remember the advertiser on a promotional product, and 85% of recipients do business with the advertiser on a promotional product.

    Country Of Origin Labeling (COOL) Online Act

    The nature of this industry’s complex supply chains and quick orders make compliance with the COOL Online Act (S. 1421) practically impossible. PPAI understands the importance of traceability. The Association has numerous resources available to help its members conduct their own supply chain mapping. However, adhering to these requirements poses challenges relating to dual sourcing, diversifying global supply chains, and fluctuating supply chains.

    • It is common for a single SKU number to be applied to multiple products found in different countries, especially in the case of apparel where the same shirt may be dual sourced based on various size or color preferences.

    The Industry’s Ask: We appreciate the bipartisan spirit and Congress’ intent to increase visibility into supply chains. PPAI understands and supports transparency as well. We have been educating our members about supply chain mapping and traceability. However, PPAI asks Congress to provide for the flexibility to identify multiple countries of origin for unfinished products sold online.

    Independent Contractors

    In this industry, salespeople willingly and intentionally choose to be independent contractors instead of employees. Promotional sales consultants have the ability to be their own boss, run their own business, and control their own destiny.

    We’re not in the gig economy and we take no issue with a majority of the PRO Act (H.R. 20). Our only concerns with the bill involve the ABC test and the broad definition that classifies all workers as employees. Unlike the members of the gig economy on which similar labor law proposals have focused, the relationship between independent contractors in the promotional products industry and their distributors is mutually beneficial for both parties.

    The Industry’s Ask: Uniformly applying the worker reclassification provisions, or ABC test, will have a devastating impact on tens of thousands of jobs and businesses in the promotional products industry, depriving them from earning an income. Our industry is not the focus of the proposed policy change, therefore, we request an exemption.

    Global Value Chains

    Most of our products’ value is added domestically in pre‐production and post‐production

    • Production overseas of the base inputs is where the least amount of value is added. Although some promotional products are manufactured overseas, once in the U.S., these products are decorated and sold by American workers, and used to promote American goods and services.
    • At least half of the value of our products is added in the U.S. by American workers. A recent study commissioned by the S. Global Value Chain Coalition found that the U.S. adds as much as 75% value to the final retail price for apparel made overseas.

    The Industry’s Ask: Please keep the unique needs and interests of the promotional products industry in mind when considering legislation that impacts the success of our industry, for example trade policy that unintentionally raises costs for small businesses and consumers.

    Written by Josh Ellis, PPAI Editor

    Published With Permission From PPAI Media

  • June 08, 2023 12:59 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Every salesperson needs a clear mission, which is why every sales team needs a compelling mission statement. This is an important tool in guiding your sales team toward a common goal. It can give them direction, focus and inspiration.

    Josh Gillespie, the director of enterprise sales at PandaDoc, says leaders should think about their team’s purpose, values and ambitions when creating their mission statement. In a post on the PandaDoc blog, he points out some effective mission statements.

    For instance, American Express focuses on its customers and services, stating its mission to “Become essential to our customers by providing differentiated products and services to help them achieve their aspirations.”

    Want to create an inspiring sales mission statement for your team? Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily, where we share Gillespie’s guidance on how to write a great one.

    Identify your team’s main focus. What is the ultimate goal? For example, you might define your sales team’s primary purpose as getting new customers, retaining existing clients or generating revenue.

    Answer essential questions. Gillespie says it’s important to think about the values that guide your sales team’s actions and decisions. Put some thought into what your team does and why they do it. Also consider what your team hopes to accomplish.

    Put it all together. The next step in crafting your sales mission statement is to piece together your ideas into a cohesive phrase. Get creative and have fun, he says. Try incorporating different words to capture your team’s personality. Instead of using industry jargon, work in simpler language that paints a picture of what your team does.

    Spread the word. Now that you’ve written and finessed your sales mission statement, the next step is to get it out into the world. Add a page on your website for the statement, Gillespie says, and include it in social media profiles, job postings and press releases. Use promos in a company-wide campaign to highlight your new statement.

    Review periodically. Your sales mission statement shouldn’t stagnate for years. You can always tweak it and adjust it so it evolves with your team. Gillespie says it’s a good idea to refine the statement every so often to ensure it’s clear, impactful and straightforward.

    A well-crafted sales mission statement can pave the way for your sales team, helping align their efforts with your company’s overall goals and values. When you follow the guide above, you can create the ideal sales mission statement for your team.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Published With Permission From PPAI Media

    Source: Josh Gillespie is the director of enterprise sales at PandaDoc.

  • June 08, 2023 12:56 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Are you looking to add a few good sales reps to your team? Maybe you’re building a team from scratch, or perhaps you’re reinvigorating a team that has lost its spark. Either way, this isn’t a task that should be taken lightly.

    Renowned sales expert Anthony Iannarino says that sales is the lifeblood of any company. Without a strong sales team, it doesn’t matter how great your organization’s offerings – you need a group of standout sales reps with ambition and drive to keep your company growing.

    How do you begin to assemble a high-performing sales team? Read on. We share Iannarino’s expert guidance in this issue of PromoPro Daily.

    1. Develop a competency model. Iannarino says this is simply a set of skills and successes that clearly define what strong performance looks like on your sales team. Reps need to know what success looks like if they’re going to excel. When outlining your competency mode, Iannarino recommends including the skills sales reps need along with character traits such as discipline and accountability.

    2. Find the right reps. Once you know what you’re looking for, go out and find the right people. Make sure you include the traits and competencies you’re seeking in your job description. Don’t be afraid to consider less-experienced reps. Iannarino says it’s more important to look for people with the right attitude and mindset.

    3. Use the right sales approach. The best salespeople in the world will struggle to succeed if they aren’t using an effective, modern approach, Iannarino says. Make sure you define an approach that will create maximum value for your customers and prospects.

    4. Keep up with regular sales training. Don’t neglect training once your sales reps get their footing. The sales environment is constantly shifting, and prospects’ expectations are always changing. You can counter this, Iannarino says, with regular sales training.

    5. Provide one-on-one coaching. This can help improve each individual rep’s confidence and performance. Think you don’t have time to coach? Iannarino says this is a big mistake – you don’t have time not to coach.

    6. Clearly communicate goals and objectives. This is key in building an exceptional sales team. Iannarino advises creating a set of team goals around creating opportunities and generating wins. Then, make sure to communicate those goals clearly so everyone knows what they need to do to succeed.

    Always take time to build your sales team in the right way. Don’t rush the process but go through the steps above to ensure you’re recruiting top-tier talent.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Published with Permission From PPAI Media

    Source: Anthony Iannarino is an author, speaker and sales expert. He’s the founder of B2B Sales Coach & Consultancy, a boutique sales coaching and consulting firm.

  • June 08, 2023 12:52 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    If you’re like most people, you spend a good portion of your workweek in meetings. The higher your level in your organization, the more meetings you are likely to attend. For example, the average CEO spends 72% of their time in meetings. Here’s the kicker, though – most of these meetings don’t accomplish much. Research shows that about 71% of meetings are unproductive.

    Poorly run meetings can have many negative impacts, according to executive coach Dr. Luis Velasquez. Among them include a decline in performance, cohesion and success. That’s why it’s important for leaders to understand why meetings get derailed. When leaders know what to look for, they can address the issues before they get out of hand.

    Keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily for Dr. Velasquez’s thoughts on four common meeting derailers to avoid.

    1. Tackling unsolvable problems. Dr. Velasquez calls these “gravity problems.” This is when your team gets caught up discussing a challenge or issue that’s fundamentally unsolvable at the team level – much like the force of gravity. Focusing on these kinds of problems can drain your team and leave everyone frustrated.

    2. Making too many assumptions. This could mean making assumptions about others on your team, which could lead to a culture of mistrust and suspicion. Or it could mean making excessive assumptions about a specific issue without having any validations. The bottom line is that assumption overload can lead to negative consequences beyond just derailing your meetings.

    3. Fielding negative thoughts. Unproductive thinking patterns, which Dr. Velasquez calls “annoying negative thoughts” can affect meeting outcomes. Watch for these negative thoughts in the form of all-or-nothing thinking, overgeneralization and catastrophizing. Meetings could also get derailed if you spend too much time reassuring a team member of the validity of their idea.

    4. Chasing squirrels. Dr. Velasquez says some people have difficulty staying focused on the purpose of the meeting and introduce unrelated tangents – or squirrels. For example, if you called a meeting to discuss project specifics and a team member continues circling back to details on a separate project, your team is getting sidetracked. This squirrel chasing wastes time and frustrates other staff members.

    Don’t let your meetings end up wasting everyone’s time. Bring more focus and clarity to your meetings by staying aware of the derailers above.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Pubished with Permission from PPAI Media

    Source: Luis Velasquez, MBA, Ph.D. is an executive coach who works with senior leaders and their teams to become more cohesive, effective and resilient. He is the founder and managing partner of Velas Coaching LLC.

  • May 17, 2023 1:42 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Hello, SAAC! As your new president, I want to update the association on what has been happening and highlight our upcoming events.

    The installation dinner was a sold-out event! We finally had an opportunity to recognize and thank the past presidents who guided us through the pandemic. Thank you to Tara Villanueva, Stephen Ropfogel, and Bob Levitt. We also had the privilege of bestowing the SAAC Honorary Life Membership on Robert Collins, who has served our association and its members for more than 35 years. What a touching recognition and acceptance speech by him!

    We ended the evening with the installation of the 2023 officers and directors. I want to welcome and thank them for their service thus far:

    Officers 2023

    President – Jeff Stevens, WesCo Marketing

    Vice President – Amy Williams, CAS, AB Unlimited Worldwide

    Treasurer – Heather Valle-Laird, Logomark

    Secretary – Ryan Paules, Radar Promotions

    Immediate Past President – Bob Levitt, MAS

    Directors 2023

    Danny Henderson, C&C Marketing, Powered by Proforma

    Kimberly Horton, FPS Apparel

    Victoria Schmitz, CAS, Goldstar

    Heidi Selleck, The Vernon Company

    Mary Skeen, AIM Smarter LLC

    Steve Parker, MAS, The Magnet Group

    The SAAC Expo committee has been working hard on the show this year. Our new theme is the “SAAC Experience,” and the event will take place August 16-17, with setup on August 15. Hosted end buyers are welcome on the show floor on Thursday, and PPAI’s Dale Denham is our keynote speaker, sharing tips for maximizing merch in promotional budgets.

    We have listened to your feedback and are creating more networking opportunities, too, including a happy hour after the supplier set up on Tuesday from 5-6 p.m. Distributors are welcome. It will take place on the Center Terrace overlooking San Diego Bay. We also have a welcome happy hour networking event on Wednesday after the show at 4 p.m. Tickets are required for the “SAAC Experience: Game On!” event, which includes dinner, a cornhole tournament, outdoor games, and a DJ for music and dancing.

    Other committees are also hard at work. The marketing committee is updating our newsletter to include more relevant content, upcoming events, and focus on association members, and the events committee has planned a bowling and networking event in May in San Diego, more bowling in OC and LA in June, and fun events in other regions to come. Please support their efforts and take advantage of some in-person time together. We look forward to seeing you at one of the upcoming events!

    Jeff Stevens
    SAAC President

  • May 17, 2023 1:38 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Are you a New Year’s resolution kind of person? I am not. While I believe strongly in setting goals, I have never been inclined to set them around a calendar year for the sake of tradition.

    A few years ago, I noticed a trend among some of my colleagues and friends. In place of setting a specific resolution, they are choosing a word of the year.

    If you’re unfamiliar, choosing a word of the year is something that is done instead of, or maybe in addition to, setting a specific resolution for the new year. The idea is that you choose a word that will guide and inspire you throughout the year. It is said to be a powerful way to set intentions for the coming year, allowing you to focus on a way you want to feel or what you want to experience in the 365 days ahead.

    One of the things I like most about this concept is that there isn’t going to be a specific moment of ultimate success or failure – it’s a lot more practical and realistic to how we lead our lives than to create a resolution that is likely to go out the window before February, anyway. With a word of the year, your focus may ebb and flow throughout the 12 months, and there will always be opportunities to improve and refocus.

    This is one of those moments of refocus for me. The word I chose at the beginning of 2023: intentionality.

    As we’re heading into the summer months, many in the promotional products industry, including me, are entering a season of increased business travel. This means lots of opportunities to network and a great chance to introduce intentionality to your networking.

    Weaving intentionally into your networking will provide a far more effective approach to helping you reach your goals.

    Here are a few tips that I’ve learned along the way:

    1. Define your goals. Before you start networking – in fact ,before you determine where you want to be networking – it’s important to know what you want to achieve. These could be company or individual goals.

    Whether your networking goal is to learn from others, build your networking, find resources or something else, it’s important to set clear and specific goals. This will help you get the most out of the time you invest in networking.

    2. Know your strengths. Determining ahead of any given networking opportunity how you can rely on your strengths to approach the situation will help set you up for success. Knowing your strengths is also important in determining how you want to present yourself and how you want to differentiate yourself from others. This will help you create a strong personal brand that will resonate with others.

    3. Be strategic. Networking isn’t just about meeting people. It’s about identifying and building relationships with the right people – people who have the potential to help you achieve your goals and grow both personally and professionally.

    Make sure to build in time to be intentional about how and who you are building your network with.

    4. Follow up. Networking is not a one-time event – it is an ongoing process of relationship-building, so be intentional about the need to stay in contact with the key people you meet. Following up after an initial meeting and staying in touch are equally important components of the process.

    Intentionally put aside time from your regular routine to connect with your network. It’s easy for this to take a back seat to the hustle and grind of our day-to-day life, especially for anyone in sales. But we must make sure to have a plan in mind to stay top of mind with your most important contacts.

    As I continue my year of intentionality, I’m looking forward to putting this advice to work at PPAI’s North American Leadership Conference and Women’s Leadership Conference in June – I hope to see you there! 

    Tucker is the vice president of revenue and expositions at PPAI.

    Published with permission from PPAI

  • May 17, 2023 1:29 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    National Candy Month

    June 6
    National Drive-In Movie Day

    June 18
    International Sushi Day

    June 29
    National Camera Day

    Product idea: Reminisce or simulate a drive-in movie with this LCD projector. It delivers high-quality entertainment in vivid imagery. There’s a wide variety of multimedia functionality, allowing you to stream media via USB flash drives, memory cards and two HDMI connections. Enjoy streaming all types of movies, music and media through various apps by connecting a compatible streaming device.

    Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10

    National Picnic Month

    July 10
    National Kitten Day

    July 16
    National Ice Cream Day

    July 24
    National Tequila Day

    Product idea: Tacos have been trending for years, and finally tequila is having its moment. Featuring authentic classics like tacos al pastor and Baja-style fish tacos, Tequila & Tacos also includes entirely new spins – such as fried Brussels sprouts tacos or tempura-battered seaweed tacos cradling ahi tuna – paired with delicious cocktails crafted with the finest agave spirits, like a traditional tart Paloma cocktail rimmed with spiced salt or an eye-opening mezcal Manhattan.

    The Book Company / PPAI 218850, S5

    National Dog Month

    August 4
    National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day

    August 8
    National CBD Day

    August 30
    National Beach Day

    Product idea: This True Spectrum CBD Soothing Freeze Gel is ideal for athletes, weekend warriors or anyone with an active lifestyle. Used by chiropractors, athletic trainers, physical and occupational therapists, massage therapists, podiatrists and more to deliver a great topical relief, True Spectrum Soothing Freeze Gel combines natural ingredients that allow deep penetrating cold therapy pain relief in a convenient roll-on applicator. Made in the USA.

    Select Manufacturers / PPAI 110946, S1

    Kristina Valdez, PPAI Associate Editor

    Published with permission from PPAI 

  • April 16, 2023 7:33 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    A tendency to micromanage can strike even the most well-meaning leaders. They may want to produce the best work but feel the need to review and redo every item. Or, they may have difficulty delegating, preferring instead to do the work themselves. Whatever the circumstances, micromanaging can negatively impact the whole team by stifling creativity and crushing employees’ confidence.

    When it comes to micromanagers, consultant and author Marlene Chism says they fall into one of two groups: those who know they micromanage and those who don’t. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share some tips from Chrism on how leaders can get on the same page as employees and begin to overcome the need to micromanage.

    1. Put a plan in writing. Think about the deadline, responsibilities, shareholders involved and other details in any given project. Then, put together a written agreement that outlines everything. Chism says this can provide focus and prevent guesswork or rework. Written agreements prevent the back and forth, scope creep and disappointments that happen when there’s a lack of clarity or a lack of trust, she says.

    2. Book some check-ins. What are some benchmarks you could add to your calendar? When these are added at the beginning of the project, they can help alleviate the “are we there yet” conversations that can make employees feel like they aren’t trusted. Chism says designated check-in dates also serve as a reminder to use this time for communicating about unexpected obstacles and needed tweaks.

    3. Create systems of accountability. Micromanagement isn’t the same as accountability. Leaders will sometimes have to initiate difficult conversations about performance or behavior, Chism says. Don’t let the fear of being called a micromanager keep you from holding your team members accountable. She recommends documenting coaching conversations and setting up follow-up dates to ensure progress is being made.

    4. Don’t blindside your staff. Chism says it’s never a good idea to hold your comments until an annual performance review. You owe it to your employees to stop blindsiding them by waiting until a formal review to share your concerns or feedback. You might risk being called a micromanager if you have more frequent conversations, but it’s critical to keep open communication flowing in all directions across your company.

    Micromanaging ends up doing more harm than good — for leaders and their teams. To overcome this harmful habit, remember to document plans in writing and set aside time for regular check-ins. Keep your team accountable and talk to them openly and honestly. By tamping down any micromanagement tendencies, you can begin to create a culture of empowerment and trust.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    SourceMarlene Chism is a consultant, executive educator and the author of From Conflict to Courage: How to Stop Avoiding and Start Leading. She is a recognized expert on the LinkedIn Global Learning platform.

     Published With Permission from PPAI

Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) 
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