Log in

saac times articles

  • March 09, 2023 8:50 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    I recently had the privilege to sit down with Denise Taschereau, a member of the PPAI Board of Directors and the CEO and co-founder of Vancouver-based distributor Fairware. Denise is one of the pioneers of sustainability in the industry.

    Despite developing the secret sauce of corporate social responsibility that drives her business, Denise is remarkably generous in sharing the recipe.

    Before she launched Fairware, Denise served as the director of sustainability and community for Mountain Equipment Co-op, Canada’s largest outdoor retailer. A significant part of her role was overseeing the company’s environmental programs and community grant-making, and she was struck by how difficult it was to get promotional products that reflected MEC’s sustainability values.

    Realizing this challenge was not unique to MEC, Fairware was born with a mission to source promotional merchandise that reflects the social and environmental priorities of the brands and organizations she admires.

    It’s not an easy task now, but it was significantly more difficult back in 2005.

    Part of Fairware’s magic formula is doing the research to protect the client’s brand. And they don’t focus exclusively on sustainability. They examine all the CSR pillars – diversity, equity and inclusion; community impact; and environmental responsibility – to make sure the products align with the client’s brand and values.

    I shared with Denise my concern that when it comes to sustainability in the promo industry, not every PPAI member is prepared with the right product and message to compete on the CSR stage. There are likely to be winners and, unfortunately, there are likely to be losers as well.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, while sharing the concern, Denise had a very pragmatic response: The idea of winners and losers is not unique to CSR. There will be winners and losers relative to digital transformation as well. Companies that embrace technology are going to win, and those who don’t will lose. CSR, technology, business strategy and all the things that drive innovation and resilience will position companies to be more successful and relevant.

    Denise is most concerned about our industry ending up on the wrong side of history. She rightly doesn’t want our industry to be perceived as out of date, out of touch and unsustainable.

    This isn’t related only to sales – it also applies to your recruiting potential. If you don’t evolve, you will be left behind by clients, which everyone fears. But more importantly, you will lose the talent war and be unable to attract younger, cooler and more interesting people to your team.

    Denise gave me a key piece of advice. She warns that if you are going to go down this road, you have to invest in the process, noting that this is not a marketing initiative – it must be baked into your organization’s DNA and operations. Savvy clients expect you to know how a product is made, where it’s made, what it’s made of, who made it and how they are treated, and what happens to it when you are done with it. Gathering and maintaining this data takes commitment.

    There are many roads to incorporating CSR as a fundamental element of your business. One road is to decide it is a brand differential and go all in. But that is not the only option.

    For most distributors, a more reasonable approach is to take small steps to curate products that align with your client’s brand.

    Here are a few tips for you to begin sourcing products that reflect your clients’ brands:

    • Use the FTC Green Guides as a script for what you can and cannot say.
    • Conduct an internal review of your key clients and determine if CSR is reflected in their corporate values. If it is, identify the CSR pillars that are most relevant and begin aligning product recommendations with those pillars.
    • Gather data about the products you sell. Start with the suppliers you do the most business with and begin to collect answers to the kinds of questions mentioned above.
    • Ask your supplier partners to indicate what they are particularly proud of and tell those stories to clients. Denise is quick to say there is no perfection in the journey toward sustainability. However, the scrapes and hiccups are powerful stories in the journey to improve.
    • Begin to analyze your own corporate footprint. This alone will make you more sensitive to the environmental impact of the products you source for your clients.

    There is no easy button for CSR. It takes time, it takes effort and, just like product responsibility, it is a journey, not a destination.

    But it is a journey of continual improvement that at the end of the day will benefit your client, your conscience and your planet.

    Stone is the director of member engagement at PPAI.

    Published with Permission from PPAI Media.

  • February 09, 2023 8:53 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)


    February 6, 2023Post

    No matter how long you’ve been in the business, sometimes we all have questions. And most people will tell you that when they need help, they ask their peers. Supervisors, colleagues, friends, and other industry professionals – these can be our greatest resources for information. That’s exactly why with SAGE Total Access, you can join your very own collaborative group in SAGE Community!

    Why join SAGE Community?

    Want a product recommendation? Looking for marketing suggestions or business tips? Join a community group in SAGE Total Access and interact directly with industry professionals and SAGE specialists. SAGE Community allows you to ask for help from other distributors in the industry who understand your business. In addition, participating in community groups is a great opportunity to network with other professionals.

    SAGE users are already discussing preferred suppliers, posting about unique products, and asking about best practices. If there isn’t already a group discussing your topic, creating a new group is easy. You can create a group to share with all SAGE promotional product distributors or create a private group to communicate exclusively with specific groups and colleagues.

    Here are a few tips for using SAGE Community:

    Start with Searching

    Before creating a new group or posting a question, try searching the boards for your keywords. If you need help finding a promotional item for lawyers, just type “lawyer” into the search bar. Looking for a garment supplier? Try searching “garment,” “shirt,” or something similar.

    Be Concise

    When you do decide to post, get right to the point. These groups are being used by hundreds of busy professionals. They are more likely to respond if you ask a direct question.

    For example, instead of: “Does anyone know of a good supplier for fountain pens? I saw a couple but wonder if there might be others out there. Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thank you.”

    Try rephrasing to something like this: “I’m looking for a reliable supplier for fountain pens. Any suggestions? Thank you.”

    Read and Respond

    Community groups are only as good as their contributors make it! So, participate, read through other people’s questions, and be sure to provide thoughtful responses. The more users that actively utilize the community groups, the more helpful they become! Remember, every time you post or answer someone’s question, you are helping to build a community of resources and support for everyone.

    Joining a Group

    To get started in SAGE Community, log into SAGE Total Access. Next, select Community from the left side menu. From there, you should be able to locate Groups on the right-hand side. To join a group, click the plus sign to add it to your feed. From there, you can comment, like, and even add new posts to the group!

    Adding a Post

    To add a new post to the group, simply click the New Post icon. You can add your topic and ask your question. You can even add a picture of a product from your photos or the product search. When finished, hit post! Group members and SAGE experts can now reply to your posts.

    Joining Multiple Groups

    You can also join multiple groups in SAGE Community by clicking the plus sign next to the group name. You can view one group at a time by switching tabs underneath the MY FEED bar in the upper left-hand corner.

    Unfollowing Groups

    To unfollow a group, simply go to the Groups tab on the right, and go to the group you wish to unfollow. Simply click the minus circle to unfollow a group.

    Creating a New Group

    To create your own group, click Create New Group at the top of the group’s column. From there, you can insert a name and description and add members to your group. You can also change who can access your group.

    We want to hear from you!

    SAGE Community is just one of the tools we offer to help grow your business. How are you currently networking with other industry professionals? Learn more about this exclusive benefit with SAGE Total Access by connecting with your Account Advisor today!

    This article has been updated from its previous publishing in 2016.

    Published With Permission From SAGE

  • February 09, 2023 8:50 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    It’s one of the most common sales objections out there: “We just don’t have the budget right now.” This phrase may sound like you’ve reached the end of the road, but there are many ways you can navigate the path forward.

    Ivan Kreimer, a contributor to the Nutshell blog, has asked some sales experts how they would respond to this objection. We share what he learned in this issue of PromoPro Daily. Read on for some expert tips and tactics on how to overcome the dreaded no-budget objection.

    Recognize the objection’s validity. Simply saying “I understand” can be a great way to neutralize the objection. Then you can follow up with something like, “How do you decide which initiatives get priority for funding?”

    Talk about pricing early. It’s smart to raise the objection even before the prospect does. This allows you to get ahead of any budget objections that may come after the prospect understands the value of your offering.

    Use strict criteria to qualify leads. Make sure you’re working with a decision-maker. You should also understand what it would cost the prospect to maintain status quo.

    Highlight the value, not the cost. If a prospect is concerned about the dollars, don’t talk about the money aspect — talk about your offering’s value. You can acknowledge they may not have the budget and then follow up with a statement like, “I see a lot of people allocate their budget for something they see valuable. And based on what you’ve said and my research, I believe we can really help your company.”

    Drill down on the problem’s financial cost. The prospect may be working with a tight budget, but what is their problem or challenge costing them? Try saying something like, “What do you think would be a reasonable budget to solve that problem for you?” Remember that people don’t mind buying things, but they don’t like being sold to.

    No one likes to hear, “I just don’t have the budget,” but don’t take this as a sign that a deal is impossible. Try out some of the strategies above to move past this oh-so-common objection.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Ivan Kreimer is a contributor to the Nutshell blog. Nutshell is a web and mobile CRM and email marketing automation service.

    Published With Permission From PPAI Media

  • February 09, 2023 8:48 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Customer engagement is all about cultivating lasting relationships with customers. Rather than working with customers just once, companies can tap into customer engagement strategies to foster brand loyalty and repeat business.

    You can do this in numerous ways, according to Sammi Caramela, a contributing writer for Business News Daily. The key, she says, is to continuously maintain and strengthen customer relationships to build a loyal, engaged audience.

    In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we highlight Caramela’s thoughts on some of the most effective ways to boost customer engagement. 

    1. Cultivate a healthy customer lifecycle. Aim to make this lifecycle as long and prosperous as possible, Caramela says. You can do this by continuously improving the customer journey.

    2. Examine more than purchase data. Yes, it’s important to understand your customers’ buying history, but that’s not all you should take into account. Caramela says you should consider things like your customers’ channel preferences. Once you have this data, be sure to use it when communicating to your clients.

    3. Think like a big business. Small businesses should think like big businesses and act using available tools, Caramela says. If this means emailing more customers individually or making more calls, do it and know that you are targeting your best possible customer. And because you may run a smaller business, you can take advantage of your flexibility and try different approaches.

    4. Don’t overcomplicate it. You can create a detailed customer profile, but remember that you can also find out about your customers by simply asking them. Many people will happily offer information in exchange for something of value, Caramela says, so send out those customer surveys or start a customer loyalty program.

    5. Challenge assumptions. Something may have worked for you last year, but don’t assume it will continue working for you. Caramela recommends reframing your existing data and insights to ensure you have — and act on — the best available data.

    6. Establish your brand voice. You can improve customer engagement by embracing your brand voice in everything you create and every interaction you have. This helps you build an emotional connection with your target audience.

    7. Embrace social media. Caramela says channels like Instagram and Facebook are essential customer engagement platforms for businesses. To boost engagement on your company’s channels, try conducting giveaways, reposting content or encouraging followers to tag their friends.

    8. Invest in content marketing. From blog posts to videos, you can use all kinds of content to build relationships with prospects and establish yourself as an authority in the industry. Many experts believe video will be particularly hot this year, so if you only choose one content type to focus on, make it video.

    Different companies may use different customer engagement strategies. There’s no one right approach or single strategy that works best. Mix and match the ideas above to get and keep your customers engaged.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Sammi Caramela is a contributing writer for Business News Daily.

    Published With Permission from PPAI

  • February 09, 2023 8:45 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Use these special occasions to ignite your imagination for relevant – and distinct – client promotions.

    National Weddings Month

    February 17
    National Caregivers Day

    February 22
    National Margarita Day

    Product idea: Margarita? Martini? Margtini! This MargTini tumbler combines the best of both worlds, keeping favorite cocktails ice-cold. The MargTini prevents dilution and ensures your beverage of choice stays as fresh as the moment it was poured.

    Hirsch / PPAI 221823, S10

    National Nutrition Month

    March 10
    National Pack Your Lunch Day

    March 19
    National Chocolate Caramel Day

    Product idea: The chocolate and caramel gift box is perfect for anyone who loves caramel and chocolate. It has eight smooth, creamy caramels in a dark chocolate and sea salt shell. There are also eight milk chocolate pecan turtles with a creamy caramel center. These delicious sweets are packed in a stylish, red magnetic closure gift box, imprinted with your client’s logo in white and tied with a white grosgrain ribbon.

    Maple Ridge Farms / PPAI 114165, S8

    March 23
    National Chip & Dip Day

    National Brunch Month

    April 7
    National Beer Day

    Product idea: This 16-ounce beer can glass candle is already a favorite. Choose clear or amber glass and add a fragrance for winding down or setting a mood. These candles are 100% soy-based wax, and fragrances are paraben-free. Once the candle has been completely burned, wash out the remaining wax and continue to use the container.

    Numo / PPAI 112597, S9

    April 11
    National Pet Day

    April 23
    National Picnic Day

    If this calendar is helpful or if you have ideas for ways that we can better provide this information, email the editors at magazine@ppai.org.

    Published With Permission From PPAI Media

  • February 09, 2023 8:41 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Email can be a great tool for keeping communication flowing smoothly, but it can also be a major time suck. It may seem like you never reach the end of unopened messages, and you may get repeatedly sidetracked trying to keep up with the influx of new emails.

    If your inbox has become a source of perpetual stress, read on. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we’re sharing some tips from writer Mary Squillace on how you can conquer your inbox once and for all.

    Be ruthless with your inbox real estate. Only keep emails requiring immediate action in your inbox, Squillace says. This keeps you laser-focused on what you need to address right away. File or delete the non-urgent messages.

    Create a “waiting folder.” Let’s say you need a response from a client or colleague before you can move forward with something. Rather than letting an email take up space in your inbox, drag it into a “waiting folder.”

    Get organized with subfolders and labels. You can use these to group together email chains or categorize different topics. When you’re looking for something, you’ll know exactly where to find it because you’ll know where you stored the communication.

    Set inbox rules or filters. Squillace says many email providers allow you to do this, which can help you quickly categorize emails without depleting your brainpower. You may want to create rules that sort emails into different folders or prioritize based on the sender. Then, you can take time at the end of the day to follow up or scan the emails you received.

    Create templates. Instead of tailoring a different reply for every email, Squillace says you may benefit from keeping some stock responses in your drafts that you can easily reuse.

    Schedule email-checking times — and stick to them. It’s easy to get caught up checking and responding to emails when you could be tackling more important tasks. To avoid this, close down your email and only check it during dedicated time blocks of your choosing.

    Turn off email notifications. For many, the siren song of your inbox notification might be too great a temptation, Squillace says. To avoid getting distracted by constantly checking your emails, just turn off the notifications. You can check in at your scheduled time.

    Use idle time for inbox cleanup. Do you typically scroll social media when you have a few moments in between meetings or projects? Try doing some quick email clean-up instead. You could delete spam, file things or send off quick replies.

    You don’t have to accomplish the elusive inbox zero. Instead, try some of the tips above to change how you handle your emails. Maybe this means creating calendar reminders for emails that need action or immediately unsubscribing from messages that no longer add value. When you gain control over your email, you can benefit from less stress, improved productivity and better organization.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Mary Squillace is a writer and editor who contributes to The Muse blog.

    Published with Permission from PPAI Media

  • February 09, 2023 8:32 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    As the ultimate customers of promotional merchandise, end-buyers’ experiences with and impressions of the products are a consideration in every campaign’s planning. Through initiatives like PPAI’s Promotional Products Work program and its upcoming PPW Expo, and regional trade shows held across North America, the industry is working to elevate clients’ understanding and perception of promotional products and work with them to better target their needs.

    Promo In The City Of Big Shoulders

    Several of the promo industry’s regional associations have incorporated end-buyer shows in their schedules for quite some time now. Next month, the Promotional Professionals Association of Chicago is hosting its own end-buyer show at the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

    PPAChicago’s Showcase 2023 on March 16 will feature more than 100 booths and an education session at which PPAI President and CEO Dale Denham, MAS+, will be speaking on the Association’s Promotional Products Work initiative.

    “Both exhibitors and distributors definitely benefit from the event,” says Dawn Janis, MAS, PPAChicago’s immediate past president. “Distributors are able to strengthen their client relationships, as at our Showcase, clients can ‘shop’ for ideas – they may see something that sparks a reminder about an event or project which has never come up in discussions with their distributor. There are so many products in our industry, it is impossible to show a client everything. Our Showcase gives the distributor a way to engage their client and present more ideas.

    “Suppliers rave about the PPAChicago Showcase every year. Attendance is great and both clients and distributors are engaged. Suppliers feel confident showing their products to a client and potentially having more impact on decision making.”

    The regional’s trade show illustrates many of the best practices in hosting events catering to both distributors and their clients:

    • As it is an end-buyer show, no net pricing is discussed.
    • Name badges for client guests show only a name and who is hosting them.
    • After the show, exhibitors will have the information they need to follow up with the distributor who invited the client.
    • Additionally, SAGE is handling the show’s registration and lead retrieval, so distributors will know where their clients visited on the show floor.

    The Showcase has proven popular with PPAChicago members, with 1,000-1,200 distributors and their clients attending each year. This year’s highlights include a New Product area, where suppliers are encouraged to submit their latest goods for display. And the night before the show, PPAChicago is hosting a pre-show part for attendees and exhibitors to mix and network.

    End-buyer Shows Throughout The Industry

    PPAChicago’s Showcase is one of many industry shows that cater to end buyers. Regional association events like the Michigan Promotional Professionals Association’s Promotions That Roar show and the Specialty Advertising Association of Greater New York’s Summer Showcase give distributors’ clients a first-hand look at all the industry’s suppliers have to offer.

    Distributor companies in the industry are also bringing in their clients to give them an up-close look at what suppliers have to offer. Madison Heights, Michigan-based distributor Creative Specialties (PPAI 104311, D5) is collaborating with a group of Midwestern multi-line reps to co-host a show this month for their customers.

    “One of our top multi-line reps, whom we’ve known for many years, made us an offer to set up an end-buyer show for just our company, that we thought might be an excellent way to reconnect with our clients that in most cases we haven’t seen since the Covid pandemic,” says Joe Thomas, owner and president of Creative Specialties.

    End-buyer shows are also available north of the border. Promotional Product Professionals of Canada has sought to support distributors and their clients through its TOPS+ series of shows. The five-city tour – which ended last week in Winnipeg – brings distributors and their clients together with suppliers to see the latest and greatest promotional products.

    “Buyers who attend our events with their distributors always walk away with new ideas,” says Jonathan Strauss, president and CEO of PPPC. “The value in distributors bringing their clients is confirmed by the same distributors returning year after year with clients. And I always hear anecdotes of clients calling their distributor asking for an invite to our event.”

    Added Value

    For companies who participate in end-buyer shows or who host their own, like Creative Specialties, these events have proven to translate into increased sales.

    “Distributors can showcase the valued connection they have with the various suppliers,” says Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, president and CEO of Cliff Quicksell Associates. “I find this to be empowering. End-users can see the scope and vastness of our medium in one place.

    “It’s an ‘eye opener’ for end-users to see the magnitude of what is available.”

    The account executives at Creative Specialties have experience with several end-buyer shows and understand the advantages they represent.

    • “End-buyer shows help distributors connect with clients on a more personalized basis,” says Darlene Thomas. “We ask our invited clients to bring other team members they felt would benefit from attending an event like this. It’s a great way to delve deeper into a company or organization and meet possible decision-makers from other departments or divisions that you may not have direct access to.”
    • “End-buyer shows are a great way for our clients to get a behind-the-scenes look at a portion of our research process and allows them to collaborate directly with our reps on their specific projects,” says Andy Haffey, MAS. “They become more invested by being a part of this process and leave with the same excitement that we have after leaving a show like The PPAI Expo.”
    • “No matter how many times you try to explain it, clients don’t always grasp what we can really accomplish,” says Michele Chapie, MAS. “Once they start to see the different items, they get a better understanding of what we can do. It opens the door to new thoughts that even the client might not know they had. They start linking items to different projects.”

    Buyer shows’ benefits aren’t limited to just distributors and their clients. They serve exhibitors as well.

    “To a large extent, it is impossible for a distributor to know every supplier’s product line,” says Quicksell. “The opportunity for the supplier is with their knowledge, they know the right questions to draw out answers and opportunities from the end client. That advantage in-turn helps the supplier give assistance to the distributor to hopefully close the sale.

    “The other advantage is suppliers can uncover opportunities quicker than a distributor which flattens, or shortens, the potential sales cycle.”

    The PPW Expo

    Like the regional associations’ shows, Promotional Products Work and its affiliated PPW Expo – coming March 28 – seek to educate end-buyers on the power of promotional products and the value in working with a distributor. If nothing else, sending an invite to the event can help distributors stay top of mind for their clients without specifically soliciting business.

    The virtual PPW Expo helps buyers – hand in hand with the distributors who invited them – explore the vast world of promo products, ignite their creativity and engage them to work more collaboratively with their distributors.

    “A well-produced buyer show adds significant value for buyers of promotional products while reinforcing the importance of working with distributor partners,” says Denham. “Our industry needs more quality events that elevate promo to the buyer community.

    “Not every buyer will make time to attend an in-person event and not every city has an option for a quality in-person buyer show. That is why PPAI launched the Promotional Products Work Expo to reach buyers with a powerful online event that keeps promo top of mind and elevates promo.”

    Those interested in attending PPW Expo must be a qualified promotional products distributor or have received an invitation from a distributor. Buyers of promotional products that would like to attend should reach out to their distributor to ensure they are on the guest list.

    Author: James Khattak, News Editor, PPAI Media

    Published with permission from PPAI Media

  • January 16, 2023 10:45 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    As any sales pro knows, it typically takes a lot of work to land a meeting with a potential client. You may spend a significant amount of time researching prospects and then warming them up before that first call. Considering the effort that goes into securing that initial appointment, it’s critical to make the most of the meeting.

    However, this doesn’t mean you should go into the meeting in pitch mode. A post on The Center for Sales Strategy blog says that the best sales professionals use the first appointment to uncover business challenges.

    If you want to get better at those first calls, keep reading this issue of PromoPro Daily. We’re highlighting the post, which explains 4 ways to fully leverage first meetings with prospects. Spend a few minutes socializing with the prospect and then try the following tips.

    1. Let the prospect know your intention. Your goal is to walk away from the meeting with an assignment. What big problem is the prospect willing to spend money to solve? This is how you want to help.

    2. Show that you understand them. No one wants to be sold to, so don’t kick off the call with a sales pitch. Remember that prospects want to work with someone who gets where they’re coming from. The post recommends pulling from your research to demonstrate that you know something about their business.

    3. Ask thoughtful questions. It’s important to use this first meeting to discover the prospect’s challenges and problems. Don’t just wing it but go into the call with a list of prepared questions. You can then discuss how you can help the prospect solve their problems. The post points out the importance of your research in this step. You shouldn’t ask questions that you should know the answers to. Always ask open-ended questions that can prompt the prospect to share more about their situation.

    4. Don’t rush things. According to the post, when you first seek to understand, you’ll have plenty of time to be understood. In other words, you’ll have the chance to pitch your offering and close a deal. Take your time in the conversation and avoid pressuring the prospect to buy. This is how you can keep things moving along, rather than driving away the prospect.

    A positive first meeting can open the door to more conversations, which can lead to long and fruitful sales relationships. Use the guidance above to make the most of a first call with new sales prospects.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: The Center for Sales Strategy blog. The Center for Sales Strategy is a sales performance improvement company.

    Published with Permission From PPAI

  • January 16, 2023 10:42 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    You know the saying — it’s not what you know but who you know. Creating and maintaining connections can have a huge impact on your professional success. More than 80% of people say networking is essential to their career success, and around 41% say they want to network more often.

    While LinkedIn is great for networking — marketers say 80% of their leads come from the site — there are many places you can expand your web of connections. In this issue of PromoPro Daily, we share a post from the Atlanta Small Business Network blog that highlights some unique places to network and make connections.

    1. Coffee shop. Your morning latte could lead to a fruitful business relationship. The ASBN post notes that because coffee shops attract all kinds of people from many different industries, you could expand your network in new areas. Try striking up a conversation with someone. If the dialogue continues, have your business card handy so the other person has your contact info.

    2. Conferences and conventions. Events like The PPAI Expo provide prime networking opportunities. You can mingle and learn from others in the promotional products industry and build stronger connections with those you know. Just remember to reach out to people after an event so they remember your conversation.

    3. Social media sites. There are dozens of social media sites to choose from, and it is good to sign up and frequently post on multiple social media websites at once, the post recommends. This can grow your potential customer base.

    4. Job fairs. Even if you’re not seeking a job or recruiting talent, the ASBN post recommends attending job fairs. Why? Because you can get to know both attendees and the companies that are hiring for different industries. You never know how new connections can benefit your career or when you may be able to create a joint venture with different organizations.

    5. Alumni events. If your college or university hosts alumni events, take advantage of the opportunity to network with fellow graduates. The connection to your school makes it easier to interact since you already have a common interest.

    6. Volunteer opportunities. Are you active with any local charities? Every time you attend a volunteer event, you have an opportunity to gain recognition for your business.

    Some of the best networking may happen in unusual places. The next time you’re waiting in line at the coffee shop or volunteering in your community, try stepping out of your comfort zone and introducing yourself. You never know who you might be rubbing elbows with and what that connection could mean for your career.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: The Atlanta Small Business Network. ASBN is a source of business news, information, best practices and event coverage.

    Published with permission from PPAI.

  • January 16, 2023 10:40 PM | Christina Sanders (Administrator)

    Does anyone else think this way?

    Like an extension of the holiday season, The PPAI Expo has always been a marker on my calendar that signals the end of one year and the start of another.

    It’s an opportunity to relish time with friends, enjoy a little too much amazing food (and drink) and a reason to put off starting the goals I’ve been mulling over for one more week.

    So, now that it really feels like 2023, what should you do next, after The PPAI Expo, to make sure you capitalize on the business opportunities you discovered and set the stage for a year of growth?

    Read Your Notes

    Take some time to read through your notes from education sessions and meetings. You wrote down some great ideas, but if you never crack that magic notebook open, they are lost.

    Pick out some easy opportunities for quick impact and a few bigger projects that will be meaningful for you or your business. For the low-hanging fruit, implement change right away by creating a project plan, setting a meeting or shooting off an email to get the idea moving immediately.

    For a bigger project, create a SMART goal – one that is specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely – and set aside an hour a week or an afternoon a month to work on it until completion.

    Send Clients An Event Recap

    You just attended the biggest trade show in the industry, where suppliers released new products and you gathered great ideas and left with new connections – you need to tell your clients all about it!

    Share your pictures, tell them what excited you, give them a few ideas and share fun case studies you heard or new data. This doesn’t have to be curated to every individual client, but it can be – especially for your largest accounts.

    Secure Self Promo

    It is the start of a new year. Suppliers have new products and new budgets. Now is the perfect time to plan your own promos that will help you sell all year.

    Think about what you loved from The PPAI Expo. If you loved it, your clients will too. Ask your suppliers reps if they are running any self-promo specials. If they aren’t, they might still give you a great deal.

    Make January Matter

    January has typically been a slower month for many salespeople. Probably because we just spent the last month being less proactive than we usually are the rest of the year. That’s OK. Use this time to your advantage by reaching out to clients about their plans for 2023 and asking for introductions to people in other departments. Then, when those great self-promos arrive next month, you’ll already have a few new leads to start with.

    Take Advantage Of Upcoming Virtual Shows

    We all work hard to see everything there is to see at The PPAI Expo. But you are probably still going to miss something or forget something.

    Use The PPAI Expo Direct-2-U event on January 31 to keep your momentum going into the rest of Q1. The online event will have great educational content, supplier booths and product pavilions to keep your creativity flowing.

    Then, on March 28, the Promotional Products Work Expo will offer an opportunity to bring your clients into our world. The virtual event will host product pavilions to help you drive sales in Q2 and Q3 and education made for buyers on topics like planning a perfect golf tournament, engaging your community at summer events or preparing for back-to-school.

    After The PPAI Expo, it’s OK to take a deep breath. Put your feet up for a weekend or a week and get some needed rest.

    Then you can start 2023 strong.

    Davis is the business development director at PPAI.

    Published with permission from PPAI.

Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) 
3125 Skyway Circle N
Irving, TX 75038

p:972.258.3070   e: info@saac.net

Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software