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  • May 21, 2020 6:32 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    You’ve probably noticed “Congrats Grad” painted on car windows, “Class of 2020” décor in every grocery store, and plenty of graduation-themed social media posts to know that soon, many are finishing up their senior year in high school and moving on to bigger and brighter things.

    Although this year, most seniors are unable to walk across the stage or collectively throw their caps into the air, many are “virtually” celebrating their achievements.

    Here are six of our favorite products to gift grads and make them feel extra special!

    Graduation Cap-Shaped Fan


    SAGE #52366

    Cheer on a senior in your life and be their biggest fan. These graduation cap-shaped fans are the must-have summer accessory, especially with the temperatures quickly rising. And for parents moving their college-bound seniors into the dorms in August, these fans will help them cool off in between loads.

    Car Flag and Mount


    SAGE #64008

    Make a wave with this “Class of 2020” polyester car flag and mount. Add a logo to the flag to create increased brand exposure and spread the celebration when driving around the neighborhood or picking up that curbside to-go order.

    Leather-Bound Journal


    SAGE #57117

    Organization and managing assignments are key during college. What better way for that than with this leather-bound journal, featuring a weekly, monthly, and yearly schedule. Students can tote these good-looking journals to the classroom. Plus, the addition of a logo on the cover is A+ for brand awareness.

    Box of Chocolates


    SAGE #52303

    Gift the grad a sweet treat with a box of four delectable chocolate truffles. Not to mention, the cap-shaped box is a nice touch as well!

    Flash Drive Silicone Bracelet


    SAGE #65302

    PowerPoint presentations take a lot of time and energy. This flash drive silicone bracelet will help students keep track of their projects, all while driving traffic to the brand that is imprinted on these bracelets.

    Desk Organizer


    SAGE #52020

    As mentioned above, organization, when in college, is key! This desk organizer comes with everything a senior needs to keep everything in order. We promise the roommate will right away ask the question, “Hey, where’d you get that desk organizer? I need that!”

    Even with social distancing in place, there are so many ways to celebrate graduates. These are just a few product ideas to help get you started!

    *Cue “Pomp and Circumstance”* (yes, look it up!)

    Used with permission from SAGE

  • May 21, 2020 6:25 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Want to Achieve Success?
    Embrace These Tenets5/19/2020 | Cliff Quicksell, Cliff's Notes

    I recently stumbled upon some archived readings; this one in particular came from IBD or Investor’s Business Daily. I thought the core of the article was brilliant and I would like to extrapolate my thoughts in hopes that it will help give you a jumpstart for the balance of your year.

    How you think is everything: my daughter and I were involved in a pretty serious accident several years ago. When the car finally stopped rolling I realized very soon that my car was totaled.  My daughter, 16 years of age, at the time, looked at me and said, “Dad, we’re both ok and safe…and it’s just a car, we can get another new car”. I learned from that lesson that there are many ways to view a situation, positive or negative, choose wisely.

    Remember your roots: think back to where you were, things may have been better, but I would reckon, if you looked hard, things today are much better. When we take a moment to see from where we have come and where we are today, those thoughts should give us inspiration to move forward. Additionally, this retrospective view should bring tolerance and compassion for those less fortunate than you. Do what you can to give back and pay it forward.

    Make your dreams your goals: Take the dreams you have today and plant them as future goals; stop wishing and start doing. I had a friend of mine that was seriously in debt. I remember having a chat with him, he mentioned he had this dream of being debt-free, not owing a soul. He mentioned that “NOW was the time to put a plan together and work that plan” and remarkably, 10 months later my friend’s dream/goal was realized…so can yours!

    Never stop learning: once you have knowledge, apply it. A good friend of mine Barry Roberts once said that; “Knowledge without action is useless”. Applied knowledge, if used in a positive way can lead to remarkable discovery. Never feel you are too old or too tired to learn. I used to own a martial arts school, I had a gentleman come to me and said, “I would like to my Black Belt”, he mentioned it had been a “life-long dream”.  I told him it would be a hard road, but he could do it if he really wanted it. Eight years later at age 78 he was presented with his first degree black belt. Quite an achievement! What is your new learning opportunity?

    Be persistent and work hard (smart) – you need to do both.  Speaker Jim Tunney told the story of persistence and hard work when he spoke about the Chinese Olympic Diver, He Xi and her rigorous training schedule. He summed it up pretty succinctly: ‘…four years of training, EVERY DAY for seven hours a day, up and down the ladder, dive after dive just for her final Olympic Gold Medal winning dive…which took less than three seconds…” that puts things into perspective.

    Learn to analyze the details at both levels – What you do today the micro things, how will they affect the big picture?  And what about the big picture or macro plans, how will they affect what you do or what you put into action today. Think both micro and macro to keep things on track and in perspective. An amazing speaker, Jesse Itzler summed this idea up in one short quote that he lives by every day, now I do as well; “Remember Tomorrow” – how will my actions today determine the outcome tomorrow, rather powerful thought!

    Focus your time and money – no truer statement has been made, “time is money” and your thoughts, ideas, hard work ALL have value. Place a dollar value on your time, if you do not value your time, how can you expect others to do so. The thought of getting paid for my knowledge never occurred to me, however when I implemented that change and determined my hourly rate it began to put my business on a path of higher productivity and profitability. What are you worth an hour?

    Don’t be afraid to innovate – change is inevitable, don’t fight it. Always be in a mode of evolution. Take a moment to GOOGLE™ the evolution of various brands: Apple, IBM, UPS FedEx; just do it (sorry NIKE, no pun intended) and see how these companies are always in the mode of change and innovation. Remember what I have always said, “if you’re not different, than you’re the same”.  Thomas Edison, in his quest to invent the light bulb, failed over 1,700 times, or as he put it, ‘I found 1,700 ways NOT to make a light bulb…’, how far would you go?

    Deal & communicate effectively – EFFECTIVE Communication IS the number one skill you should perfect to propel your business forward. How you communicate with your staff, clients and vendors will indeed lead to your success or failure…it is up to you. Are you an effective communicator? Good way to tell is; do people seek out your thoughts and opinions? Do people find you receptive? Do people find you approachable? You know! A big part of being an effective communicator is being an effective listener; an active listener. You have seen the people who seem to be listening but actually mind-drift and cut you off mid-sentence, look at their cell phones while you are speaking. Develop good listening skills, be approachable, be open to ALL possibilities and become an exceptional leader.

    Be Accountable – this one is tough. Pointing the finger inward rarely happens. Imagine if more people took responsibilities for THEIR actions, amazing things would happen. Being accountable means taking control of your actions and accepting the good with the bad as a result. I make it a point to always look inwardly first; I have made it a habit. It was not easy at first but now I must say it helps me focus on becoming better and better every single day in all aspect of my life.

    Take a moment to review these tenets, how did you score? If you keep these thoughts in the forefront and work to master and hone them daily, you cannot help to be successful.

    Until next time, continued good selling ~ CQ

    Used with Permission From PromoCorner

  • May 21, 2020 6:22 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    In turbulent times, it's not easy for sales managers to navigate the way forward. Everyone is struggling under the same worry and fear of the unknown. However, amid a storm, leaders must be able to rely on their team members to continue to deliver. The success of an individual team and an entire organization rely on everyone doing their part, even in a crisis.

    While you might not be thinking about those sales reps who continued to be highly engaged during the past months of COVID-19, you should take note of the employees who rose to the occasion. John Baldoni, an author, keynote speaker and executive coach, says the best leaders look beyond survival mode and spotlight the employees who continue to make things happen, even during challenging times.

    In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Baldoni's thoughts on what to look for in your team as the world adapts to life during a pandemic.

    Out-of-the-box thinking. In the current global climate, now is not the time for conventional thinking. You need fresh insight and new ideas. Is there someone on your team who always seems to look at data differently than everyone else? Maybe they see patterns and can make projections that prove helpful. Baldoni says that when the world is turned upside down, leaders must recognize the thinkers who construct ideas by joining concepts from different disciplines.

    Critical thinking. To steer ahead through a storm, leaders must be able to think strategically. The best sales professionals should also be able to reason with precision and propose solutions that address problems, notes Baldoni.

    Quiet leadership. Teams need introverts and extroverts to thrive. While extroverts often get the spotlight, Baldoni advises leaders to look at what the introverts on their team have quietly achieved over the past couple of months. Who are the reps on your team who have continued to push forward without calling attention to themselves? Remember those people.

    Confidence. The best leaders exude confidence—in themselves and in their colleagues. Throughout the crisis, who has demonstrated unwavering confidence? How has this person inspired others to want to follow their lead? Baldoni says it's important to look for confidence in your team members because people feel good about following confident leaders.

    A spirit of teamwork. Leaders must know how their actions affect others. That's why a team ethos is so important, especially during seasons of uncertainty. No one knows what the future holds or how business will look as the world adapts to the coronavirus. When you're looking at your sales team, take note of those individuals who work to create camaraderie and teamwork.

    Trustworthiness. Baldoni encourages leaders to consider their employees who always pull through. Who are the people you can count on for their reliability and expertise? Do others look to them as a trusted resource? Don't overlook these trustworthy team members and be sure to acknowledge their valuable contributions.

    While you may have hired your team members for specific sales traits, you should also notice how their other traits have shone through in the past couple of months. When you look for traits such as confidence, leadership, and a commitment to the overall team, you know you have assembled a team that is poised to adapt to any challenge.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: John Baldoni is an internationally recognized keynote speaker and executive coach who provides his services via video conference. Baldoni has written 14 books, including MOXIE: The Secret to Bold and Gutsy Leadership and GRACE: A Leader's Guide to a Better Us.

    Used With Permission from PPAI.

  • April 22, 2020 8:29 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)
    PPAI_logo2019_new2_257693.png
    A Video Message from PPAI President & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE
     
    Paul_Bellantone_1024288.jpg
     
    Dear PPAI Member:

    I hope this latest update finds you doing well. It’s week 4 for me and the PPAI staff to work remotely and learn to live with the COVID-19 new normal. While it doesn’t appear that we will be headed back to the office anytime soon, we are starting to see some good news across the country as social distancing seems to be having the desired effect. Hopefully, we are beginning to turn the corner.

    In the meantime, it’s certainly not business as usual for PPAI or our industry. I’ve alluded to it multiple times in previous updates, we are all having to make some very tough decisions. What’s different about making these tough decisions, as Seth Godin pointed out in a recent blog, is for the first time, challenges and tough decisions are not individually unique as they may have been in the past. With the coronavirus pandemic, we are all experiencing difficult times as a result of the same incident. And, as a result, it’s virtually impossible to get away from it. Everyone is talking about the same challenges and grueling decisions. That is making it even tougher to remain positive.

    But with trying times and difficult decisions comes the opportunity for creative solutions. For PPAI it’s finding ways to:
    • bring you the content you desire today
    • offer you social and business interaction platforms
    • generate learning opportunities
    • and facilitate business
    I hope my previous updates have shown you how we are doing just that. Because while it may not be business as usual, business still needs to get done. You still need to communicate with customers. You still need to maintain a brand presence, and you still need to focus on the future—regardless of how uncertain you may be about what the future holds. 

    PPAI UPDATES: 

    Supplier Business Updates Editing Made Easier – The most viewed page on PPAI’s Coronavirus Update webpage is the Supplier Alert page. This is where industry suppliers are updating their status as it pertains to any business disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve now made it easier for suppliers to keep that information up to date. Suppliers can simply login to their PPAI My Site account and add the latest information. 

    Pyramid Award Submission Fees Waived – Being able to show clients your award-winning campaigns is one of the best ways to help position you as a solution provider as your clients look for ways to rebuild their businesses. I know it may not be on the top of your list right now, but as mentioned earlier, we can’t lose sight of the future. So let’s celebrate creativity, innovation and collaboration. No fees for submissions or return costs for the PPAI Pyramid Award 2021 competition. The competition will be open April 27–May 29, 2020.
     
    Helpful Advice in PCT – Every day our team is offering up a dose of practical advice and thought-provoking ideas in Promotional Consultant Today. Recent issues tackled topics such as how to approach selling in a global crisis and shared tips for dealing with unexpected change. You can find all issues here and subscribe for free to get PCT delivered to your inbox every day. 

    Tech Summit Cancelled – Another tough decision has been made. We’ve decided to cancel the 2020 PPAI Tech Summit, which was scheduled for September 21-23 in Austin, Texas. However, keep your eyes open for details on a virtual Tech Summit. 

    ADDITIONAL HELPFUL LINKS:
    Please know that I continue to hope and pray for all of you and a resolution to this crisis in the near future. I’ll end with a quote from the same Seth Godin blog. “The boat is really, really big and we’re all in it.” Seth Godin
     
    Let’s stick together, help each other out and know that the promotional products industry is and will be around to help our neighbors, communities and nation bounce back from this. And for that, we can feel proud!
     
    Sincerely,
     
    https://images.magnetmail.net/images/clients/PPAI/PB_Signature.jpg
    3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, TX 75038 • www.ppai.org • 1-888-I-AM-PPAI • fax 972-258-3004 • www.facebook.com/ppai.hq
    PROMOTIONAL PRODUCTS ASSOCIATION INTERNATIONAL
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  • April 17, 2020 12:23 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    COVID-19 - This too is a Defining Moment

    The experience we are all sharing right now of a worldwide pandemic is a Defining Moment for all of us.

    4/16/2020 | Paul Kiewiet, Pursuit of Purpose

    When we speak and write about generational themes, we often reference shared major moments in life that define a generation. For the generation prior to Baby Boomers it was Pearl Harbor and World War II. Many Baby Boomers can describe where they were and what they were doing when JFK was assassinated. For Gen Xers, the Shuttle Challenger disaster is a singular moment and Millennials were shaped by the events of September 11, 2001. For Gen Z, the Great Recession of 2008 disrupted family life in their formative years. Many have asked what will the new Generation be named — the one who follows X, Y (Millennials) and Z? Already, demographers are labeling the youngest among us as Gen C for Coronavirus.

    We should remind however, the events mentioned above in the context of understanding generations have profound impact on everyone. The experience we are all sharing right now of a worldwide pandemic shutting down our worlds and creating havoc with our businesses is a Defining Moment for all of us.

    I recently recorded a podcast with Bobby Lehew (skucast with Paul Kiewiet) about a time when multiple disappointments and set-backs totally upended my life and my plans. At a most shocking moment of betrayal, anger and hurt, I called a friend out of desparation and received life-changing advice. “Paul, he said, “you are experiencing a Defining Moment. What you decide to do with it may determine your future.”

    Because of this advice, I was able to make value-based decisions that did indeed allow me to choose love over hate, victory over victimhood and clarity to see opportunities that opened up in front of me.

    As this pandemic rages through our country and the world and our businesses dry up and loved ones get sick and we cannot see the end or a way out it is time to remember that “This Too Shall Pass.” There is another side and a way out. We may not know what the future holds but we do know that nothing succeeds like resilience. Getting knocked down doesn’t matter as long as you just keep on getting up. If you need a moment to wallow or to mourn the past, take it and then get back up and move on.

    This perfect defining moment is going to be very uncomfortable. We seem pretty hardwired to not like change. But growth requires change. Trust this moment and live here. No one can go back and change the past. So let go of the shoulda’s. The past does not exist.

    Don’t worry about the future. Plan for it yes. React in the present moment with today’s reality and don’t write fantasies about how bad it’s going to be. The future is fantasy. It is not real. This moment is the only reality and right now, you have what you need in the now.

    Acceptance of the my present experience did not come easily or comfortably but two teachers appeared with words I could own. Ekhart Tolle in “A New Earth” wrote, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” And Byron Katie reinforced that thought with the instruction to “Love What Is.” It is the only reality you have so you can love it or suffer. The only two choices.

    Paul will be presenting a webinar on this topic “When It Rains Lemons” on Wednesday, April 22 at 12:30 EDT. To register for this free webinar visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8678262065348870668

    Paul Kiewiet MAS+ is an industry speaker, writer, consultant and coach. He serves as the executive director of MiPPA. Kiewiet was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame and the MiPPA Hall of Fame. He served as Chairman of PPAI in 2007. A former distributor, he founded Promotion Concepts, Inc in 1982 and worked with some of America’s most valuable brands including Coca-Cola, Kelloggs, and Whirlpool.

    Used with permission from PromoCorner.

  • April 17, 2020 12:17 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Michele Wieckowski
    Bic Graphic 

    What is your title/role within your company?
    Field Sales Account Manager

    What do you like best about your company?
    The best part about BIC graphic is the feeling of family. I honestly felt that I was part of a family from the moment I got hired. Everyone is so willing to help one another and the customer. That feeling of camaraderie stretches between every department, not just sales. We are an organization that is supportive of us championing our own ideas and always striving to be “one team.”

    How were you introduced to the promotional products industry?
    Honestly, I saw a job posting for BIC graphic and applied. I’ve always been a consumer of BIC products and admired the brand. What’s better than working for a company that you truly believe in the products? Industry wise, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but as I am sure everyone in the industry can relate; I was hooked from the very first interview!

    If you had to pick one, what is your favorite promotional product?
    Just one?! Oh this is a very tough question! But, I have to go with the CLG pen. I know that sounds silly but my grandfather always had one in his pocket and it reminds me of him helping me with homework. It’s funny that a pen can bring back so many memories. I also love how you can have a different color on top and bottom of this pen. My favorite combo is “Navy” and “Berry Crush.” But, Pop’s favorite was maroon and always placed in his front pocket.

    Tell us something about you that most people may not know.
    I’m originally from Scranton, PA. Yes, from that show “The Office.” Although, Dunder Mifflin isn’t real Scranton was a great place to grow up! It was also the home to my dance company where I taught ballet.


  • April 17, 2020 7:43 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Above photo: Dustin Burnett (in hat), a co-founder of Allmade and owner of print shop Nothing Too Fancy, visited Haiti, as have all the leaders of Allmade's co-founding companies, to see firsthand the work the organization supports and to meet the people who benefit from it.

    Vancouver, Washington-based supplier Allmade was founded by the leaders of nine screen-printing companies, who saw an opportunity to make a difference in the environment by using fewer resources and bettering the lives of people living and working in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Together, Ryonet, Printed Threads, Mel Lay, Nothing Too Fancy, Superior Ink, Barrel Maker Printing, Maui Screen Printing, Rockford Art Deli and Synergy Media Ltd.—companies that purchase hundreds of thousands of t-shirts annually to sell to printers as blank canvases and to customers as customized, printed shirts—combined their industry knowledge to focus primarily on the human and environmental impacts of t-shirt manufacturing, while continuing to provide clients and end users with high-quality, fashion-forward tees. 

    “This founding group, with the support of the rest of the screen-printing industry, has a unique opportunity to influence the apparel market by suggesting and offering socially and environmentally responsible alternatives to our customers, who are often unaware of the exploitative nature of t-shirt manufacturing and its environmental impact,” says Ryan Moor, CEO of Ryonet and co-founder and chief visionary officer of Allmade.  

    It all started when leaders from these screen-printing companies traveled together to Haiti, though it was a vision long shared by the leaders individually. “Being in the apparel industry for 15 years as a decoration supplier, I always had an eye on getting into blank apparel. Better shirts equal better prints, equal more success and higher value in the industry, after all,” says Moor. He was approached by one of Ryonet’s customers, who runs the Global Orphan Project (GO Project), a nonprofit in Kansas City, to accompany them to Haiti and help GO Project with its efforts in orphan prevention and job creation. In 2016, Moor, along with his wife Amanda, and sons Cohen and Brody, took their first trip to the country—where nearly 60 percent of the population lives under the national poverty line, according to the Central Intelligence Agency—where they were first exposed to the realities of the apparel manufacturing industry there. “I was blown away with what I saw,” says Moor.

    In Haiti, Moor was confronted by a country infiltrated with “poverty, child abandonment and environmental destruction driven by low [pay] and the lack of jobs.” He also learned that nearly 80 percent of the orphans in Haiti’s orphanages have living parents and family who simply don’t have the means to care for them. And when looking closely at the apparel manufacturing business, he learned about “the massive amount of water, chemicals and oil used, and the impact of over-made, poor-quality apparel” on the environment. “This drove us to start Allmade, a movement to break the cycle of low-cost, low-value and low-impact apparel and turn it into a shirt and an industry that feels great, does great and makes an impact on people and [the] planet,” says Moor.

    So far, Allmade has produced about 1.3 million shirts, made with an eco-friendlier tri-blend cotton, and has saved 637 million gallons of water—Allmade’s shirts are made using 70-percent less water than a standard t-shirt—and recycled 7.8 million plastic bottles, with each shirt preventing six plastic bottles from entering landfills. Allmade has also officially partnered with GO Project to help with its work to prevent children from entering Haiti’s orphanages by creating ethical, living-wage jobs; an effort that has segued into the creation of the Transition Academy, which, Moor says, “teaches a young generation ethical, wage jobs and life skills to reverse the poverty cycle.”

    PPB spoke with Moor to learn more about Allmade’s efforts.

    PPB What initially drove Allmade’s mission to give back to the community and to manufacturing apparel in sustainable, earth-friendly ways?

    Moor Frankly, it’s everywhere you look. If you trace root problems of global environment, health and poverty, it is a vicious cycle, [and] doing something different breaks up and reverses [the cycle]. Cleaner oceans and garbage patches equal recycling water bottles and paying people in developing countries, where, according to the Plastic Bank, 80 percent of the world’s ocean trash comes from. There are so many more things, [like the amount of] water, chemicals and pesticides used. I recommend educating yourself, [watching] the True Cost documentary and [reading] Dana Thomas’s Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes and Yvon Chouinard and Naomi Klein’s Let My People Go Surfing. These are great resources and how we started learning. You can just Google “environmental impact of apparel” and go into a huge rabbit hole.

    PPB Tell us about Allmade’s tri-blend fabric and how it helps with the company’s sustainability goals.

    Moor First is the global footprint. We make our fabric in the USA and in North America, using Texas organic cotton, requiring less transportation and a lower carbon footprint. We use Tencil Modal, made from trees, known to have almost six percent of the environmental impact of cotton: less water, fewer chemicals and a closed-loop carbon footprint. We use recycled water bottles, though still polyester, which is preventing bottles from turning into ocean waste and micro plastic.

    PPB Do Allmade’s leaders participate in community service initiatives, whether domestic or overseas?

    Moor All of the Allmade team has been to where we make things, both giving their time and money to help the missions that we give back to. I think actually going versus sending money is having such a big impact. You share what you did, what you learned and inspire others to do the same.

    PPB What’s in store for Allmade in 2020?

    Moor There is a huge industry announcement coming this month that will involve a major partnership and massive investment in the product, from how easy it is to get, to what is available to make an impact. We are fortunate and excited. People care and the industry is talking about sustainability—buying what is right and good is not what is cheap. You, if you are reading this, are making it happen. Feel your  impact!

    Watch the video as Moor recaps his first trip to Haiti here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3UntGCD-Fo 

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications

  • April 17, 2020 7:42 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    As a leader, you might be wondering how you can support your team members and build camaraderie when everyone isn't in the same place. Traditional team-building activities call for face-to-face interaction, which is currently ruled out. However, writer Sylvia Moses says that just because you're working remotely doesn't mean you can't connect with your team in meaningful ways.

    If you want to spark some fun and bring a smile, try some virtual team-building activities. We share a few of Moses' ideas in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    Create a weekly "live" virtual office. It's one thing jumping onto a conference call and another to bump into someone casually at the water fountain. Moses says this idea involves creating a live feed of the entire team that keeps running perpetually through the workday. You can use Google Hangouts or Zoom or create virtual "rooms" where people can jump in to see who is doing what.

    Run a virtual campfire. While you can't duplicate the actual wilderness, you can recreate the stories and the s'mores. Moses suggests creating a virtual campfire outside office hours. Consider sending your team members a care package with s'mores and campfire-scented candles. You could ask musically talented team members to play music or share songs.

    Host daily standups over coffee. To add some variety to the standard meeting, Moses recommends hosting your daily standups over everyone's morning cup of coffee or tea. It creates a shared ritual that everyone can participate in.

    Host an interactive virtual hangout. What do you do in an online hangout? According to Moses, you can explore a variety of full-fledged interactive experiences, not just a bunch of video feeds. For example, Kosmi lets you create a virtual room where you can play poker and classic video games.

    Host team member quizzes. The larger and more distributed the team is, the tougher it is to know the people you're working with daily. Moses says you can fix this by hosting "member quizzes." Pair two team members together and give them prompts that help them get to know each other better.

    Conduct virtual office tours. Ask team members to host virtual tours of their offices, suggest Moses. Give them freedom to be as corny or funny as they want to be.

    Play virtual Pictionary. Moses says adapting this classic game to a virtual medium requires a few tweaks. One person (usually the team lead) must play the dealer who selects cards and shows them to each team member on their turn. The team member can then dry the card either digitally or on a piece of paper/whiteboard with the camera pointed towards it.

    Invite team members to name that song. For this team-building activity, Moses say the first step is to play the first few bars of an old song and then ask people to name the song. Track scores in a simple spreadsheet. The person who gets the most guesses right wins. Nostalgia is a powerful glue and can help people to relax around each other, notes Moses.

    Even though your sales team may not share a physical office space anymore, you can still help them feel connected. Try the ideas above to forge friendships and build camaraderie.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Sylvia Moses is a writer for Business 2 Community, a site that covers breaking news and top trends in digital marketing, social media, content marketing, social selling and social business.

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications.

  • April 17, 2020 5:51 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    If you’re struggling with how to sell in these current times, you’re not alone. Many sales professionals wonder about the appropriate way to reach out to customers or prospects. Some wonder if it’s wrong to sell in times of uncertainty or turbulence.

    Chris Donato, co-founder of the Same Side Sales Movement, admits he often rewrites his emails or texts to be sure he doesn’t come across as insensitive or opportunistic. These are unique times, and it helps to know how to appropriately and empathetically contact prospects and clients.

    If you find yourself second-guessing your sales approach, keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. We share Donato’s best practices for selling during a global crisis.

    Remember there’s no right or wrong. Donato reminds sales professionals that there’s no clear-cut answer on what to do. Since we’ve never experienced anything like the COVID-19 global pandemic in our lifetimes, we have no previous experience to fall back on.

    Be human. Since there’s no precedent, it’s difficult to make decisions. That’s why Donato says it’s so important to tap into your humanity. Before you take any sales action, whether it’s a sales call, a direct message on social media or a cold email, connect with what makes you human. Reach for love, compassion, empathy and fellowship. Donato says to let these emotions guide you in these current times.

    Treat people right. It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing, notes Donato. Many people freeze in a crisis. While there are plenty of examples in nature that prove the best survival tactic is staying motionless, Donato says sales professionals shouldn’t stick their heads in the sand. Others are depending on them to grow and retail customers in order to survive a downturn.

    Keep moving. Donato asserts that sales professionals must connect things that would otherwise be disconnected without their personal involvement. If salespeople don’t move with purpose, people lose their jobs and businesses go under. That’s why he believes that the best course of action is to keep going by serving others, solving problems and providing solutions.

    Tips For Initial Outreach Emails

    When reaching out to clients or prospects, Donato recommends keeping your communication to a maximum of three to six sentences. Aim to focus on:

    Facts, not fiction: Stay away from words such as “feel” and “think.” Instead, Donato suggests leveraging relevant statistics, facts or news from the client’s business or industry.

    Human-to-human interaction: Don’t say you “wish someone well” when reaching out to them for the first time. Donato says they’re not your friend—yet. Imagine they’re barely going to read your email. It starts at the subject line.

    A short and sweet pitch: Be sure to keep your hook short. Relay just enough information that they will be curious and will put forth the effort to respond.

    In these unprecedented times, there’s no guidebook on how to properly communicate with clients and prospects. The best guidance is to embrace your humanity, try to help others and keep moving forward.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Chris Donato is a career enterprise seller who co-founded the Same Side Sales Movement focused on bringing enterprise buyers and sellers together to drive business innovation.

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications. 

  • April 17, 2020 5:50 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    10 Tips to Work from Home (Without Going Crazy!)

    Great ideas to keep you productive and positive!

    4/8/2020 | Rosalie Marcus, Promo Biz Coach

    If you’re like many people in the promotional products industry you’ve been asked to stay at home and perhaps work from home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

    I’ve been working from home for many years, so working from home isn’t a struggle for me, although not being able to see clients, friends and my extended family is challenging.

    For those of you that may be new to working from home, you may be feeling frustrated and isolated. I’d like to share some tips that can make your day more productive and leave you feeling better.

    1. Set daily goals: It’s easy to get distracted when you’re working from home. Here’s a quick tip that will help keep you focused. At the beginning of every day write at least three things you want to accomplish that day. Doing this will keep you on track to what is most important. Anything you don’t accomplish goes on the next day’s list.

    2. Create a separate work space: Have a separate room or space dedicated to working. It will help keep you in a working state of mind and make you more productive.

    3. Establish boundaries. Let others know the hours you’ll be working and ask not to be disturbed.

    4. Make time for your children. When you have kids at home with you, it can be challenging. Block time for fun activities to do with them. Let them know that you have something special planned if they can let you work for a few hours. Make family time a fun time. Don’t expect to get as much work done as you would in the office.

    5. Get outside and get exercise: Take frequent breaks and get outside and get fresh air. It will make the day go faster, help you sleep better and it’s good for you! My best ideas come when I’m outside walking, the same can happen for you

    6. Listen to your favorite music. This is a stressful time. I don’t know about you, but music relaxes me, just be mindful of the type of music you listen to. For me, classical music is great for working, and rock music when I want to take a break and feel energized.

    7. Set up video calls with clients. When you can’t see a client in person, try a video call. Zoom (zoom.us) is free and easy to use. Additionally, take advantage of free supplier videos with product ideas that can help your clients during the crisis.

    8. Stay connected. Just because you can’t see people doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. Join the conversations with other industry peers on Facebook and LinkedIn Groups and PPAI Promo Connect.

    9. Finish a project. The plus side of being sequestered in your home is all the free time you have when there’s no place else to go. Have you always wanted to write a book? Now is good time to get started. Need to clean out your office? Start decluttering today. Whatever it is you’ve been putting off, now is a great time to start.

    10. Take great care of yourself. This is a challenging time for all of us in in the promotional products industry and the world around us. Follow the coronavirus guidelines, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing. You know the drill.

    Here’s to working and living successfully from your home! Stay safe and healthy!

    Used with permission from PromoCorner

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PO Box 2394
Camarillo, CA 93011

p: 805.484.7393   e: info@saac.net


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