t’s so true that the world is open for sharing and exploring, giving and taking – thanks to digital technology. Goods are available from far and wide. For example, China has been in the news for several years now as it is a fast-growing nation with tremendous manufacturing power. Walk into any non-food or pharmacy retailer and look at how many products feature the “Made in China” sticker – there are tons. In fact, of the $505.6 billion worth of imported goods in 2017, $70.4 billion were manufactured in and shipped from China, according to the US Census Bureau.
Saunter over to a vintage or antique mall and look at the products of not-too-distant yesteryear for sale – many have “Made in USA” engraved, embossed, screenprinted. Some even have the specific location – a town/city and state!
But “Made in USA” is more than just a stamp or proud declaration. It is a legal term set forth by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), which explained in a press release that
Consumers who see "Made in USA" on a product expect that claim of origin to be truthful and accurate. "Made in USA" means that "all or virtually all" the product has been made in the United States. That is, all elaborated the FTC, significant parts, processing and labor that go into the product must be of domestic origin. Products should not contain any — or only negligible — foreign content.
And it matters. A very recent case should illustrate the importance of ensuring that the products you as a distributor sell to your customers as “Made in the USA” meet that claim. According to an FTC press release, a proposed FTC settlement – including a financial judgment – with a marketer of promotional products reminds companies of the need to substantiate their Made in USA representations.
Gennex Media LLC sells branded wristbands, lanyards, temporary tattoos, and other promotional products often distributed at trade shows or given to customers or employees. Gennex – which also does business as Brandnex, BrandStrong, PMGOA, and Promotional Manufacturing Group of America – prominently promoted its promotional products on websites, in social media, and on YouTube as “Made in USA,” “USA MADE,” and “Manufactured Right Here in America!”
But according to the FTC, in numerous instances, the products were wholly imported from China. In the future, Gennex is prohibited from making unqualified U.S.-origin claims unless it has proof to establish that the product’s final assembly or processing – and all significant processing – takes place in the United States, and that all or virtually all ingredients or components are made and sourced in the U.S. The order includes a financial remedy of $146,249. Once the proposed settlement appears in the Federal Register, the FTC will accept public comments for 30 days.
“This should be obvious, but you can’t say your products are made in the USA when most of them are made elsewhere,” said Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “When companies like Gennex make this false claim, they hurt both people who want to buy American and companies that really do make things here.”
In their study published in the March 2021 issue of Marketing Science, Kong and Rao investigated the impact of the “Made in USA” claim on consumer demand. They stated that the claim is a disclosure not legally required on consumer-packaged goods however it is a claim made by many companies (sometimes deceptively, e.g., Gennex). They found that there was a decline in demand following the removal of the “Made in USA” claim of four products from companies making the false claim.
You can check for a Made in USA Certified® seal; it is the only registered Made in USA Certified wordmark from the US Patent and Trademark Office.
Dick Nelson, CEO of MarcoPromos, comments, “Advertising with made in the USA promotional items is the ideal solution for any organization that wants to increase brand awareness while supporting the local economy.”
As promotional campaigns go, there are thousands and thousands of products to match your clientele's promotional needs for nearly any reason. Suggesting a tie-in with a national month, week, day, or holiday, is of course, always easy. Let’s take June for example:
National Safety Month: Mediagraphics’ Hand Sanitizer Spray SaniSoothe 2-oz. (#2OZ1000); ProRose’s No Touch Tool (#364); Kross Inc.’s OSHA-Approved Hard Hats (#HH-15)
National Nursing Assistants Week (June 17-23): Berney-Karp Inc./Ceramic Source’s 15-oz. Ceramic Runway Mug (#E60-317); LimeLight’s Medium-Wide Bottom PolyPro Handle Gusset Tote (#PH-WT3)
Flag Day (June 14): Crystal World’s Stars & Stripes Optical Crystal Award (SP152M); Allied Products’ US Flag Medallion Flag Display Case (#83-28050); Cameo Line’s Patriotic Pencil (#650US-A)
Father’s Day (June 20): Laser Creations by Identification Systems’ Large Solid Maple Cutting Board (#CB1014); Laser Creations by Identification Systems’ Solid Hardwood Wall Clock (#WC409); Wolfmark’s Custom Knit Beanie (#C220K-790)
The exciting aspect about selling “Made in the USA” products is that it is relevant all year, for all activities and for all clients.
Used with permission from PromoCorner
Colleges offer leadership classes and working professionals can take continuing education courses, but most leaders develop their skills on the job. They learn to lead and engage their teams through experience.
Whether you aspire to take on more responsibility as a leader, or you want to help your sales reps grow into sales leaders, it helps to know some of the most important leadership skills that are often not taught in school.
Angela Civitella, a business leadership coach and founder of Intinde, says that if you want to lead an organization well, you should know nine things. We share her perspective in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.
1. Act swiftly. One of the most important leadership lessons is to seize opportunities. Rather than being indecisive or waiting around, act with purpose. Civitella notes that you can often fix a mistake later, but once an opportunity passes, it’s usually gone.
2. Quit micro-worrying. When you try to control all the little details to the point of feeling physically ill, you are probably micro-worrying. Unless you are trying to save someone’s life, there’s no need to get stuck in analysis paralysis, says Civitella.
3. Find satisfaction. Even if you are not particularly excited about something—a long call or meeting, for example—you should still look for the good in it. When you add contentment and satisfaction to what you do, you will often end up with a more engaged and happier team, says Civitella.
4. Establish genuine connections. Until you can safely meet face to face with prospects and clients, look for ways to connect with people digitally. Leaders know there is an art to establishing meaningful relationships, and they continually work at it.
5. Remember the value of hard work. There is no overnight success story, notes Civitella. No one will likely teach you that career success requires hard work and time. You get out what you put in.
6. Don’t neglect connections. Unless you nurture your connections, they are not really connections. It’s important to regularly stay in touch with your LinkedIn connections, Facebook followers and database members. Stay on people’s radar, says Civitella. Otherwise, you end up being just a faceless connection, and that’s not useful to you or anyone else.
7. Accept that mistakes happen. Another fact about leadership that no one will teach you is that failure doesn’t last. Even when you make mistakes, you can reset and reflect on what you learned. When you realize this, it makes things less scary and allows you to have a better mindset about all the moving pieces in your life, says Civitella.
8. Keep an open mind. The best leaders are happy to learn new things and always want to develop their skills. They rarely find something boring because they know they can always find something useful in it.
9. Embrace teamwork. Civitella loves the saying “teamwork makes the dream work.” She says leaders should always look for people who are solid team members. Otherwise, you risk conflict that can drain employee morale and productivity.
You won’t learn everything you need to know about leadership until you actually lead a team. However, you can give yourself an advantage by remembering the nine leadership lessons above.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Angela Civitella is an executive, business leadership coach and founder of Intinde.
Used with permission from PPAI
Napoleon Hill, the author of the famed business book “Think & Grow Rich” (TGR), once said “Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve."
POWER OF OUR BELIEFS
While many these days are familiar with the concept of “manifesting” back in 1937 (when Hill wrote TGR) this wasn’t a common phrase. Today there’s quite a bit of talk about all the positive that can come from manifesting. What isn’t so common is the dark side, rather the shadow side … or another way to put it the accidental causation of thoughts.
Every thought you have matters. Yes, affirmations are popular because in recent years more and more people have learned about the power of our thoughts more than ever. Out thoughts literally shape our reality (more than you may think).
When’s the last time you had a bad day?
Or perhaps when’s the last time you had something go wrong in business?
A good reflection practice would be to trace your thoughts.
The practice of tracing our thoughts is centered around solving issues from the root rather than a temporary “fix". We can look at one thought, action or thing that happens in life then work backwards. It’s just like reverse engineering the goal. Instead of starting with the end in mind, we literally start in our mind and work backwards to find how we got to where we are.
When it comes to negative thinking we often don’t have the awareness to notice we’re in a loop. AND by the way … a loop is basically being caught in a thought cycle that is … well, a loop… what feels like infinity of being stuck. We must break the loop of negative thinking to get past these negative thoughts.
WHY SO NEGATIVE?
I’ve noticed in the past year just how obvious it is that we shape our own reality. I’ll spare you my woo commentary and let you visit my Soul Seekr Podcast if you want to go deeper on the woo. But, what I would invite you to consider is that you do have the power to live your most ideal life.. And it starts with your thoughts.
Yes, positive thinking is the key. Yet, even though we can be positive most of the time; one slip up with what I call “negative manifestation” can put you back quite a bit.
I feel that it’s human nature oftentimes to look at the negative… you know play the victim role and say to ourselves “why me”, “why’d this happen to me” etc. I’d invite you to reframe these thoughts into “this happened for me” rather than to me. These simple shifts in thinking can make a world of difference in altering our reality.
If you take one thing away from this post, it’s this … be mindful of what you are thinking and have the awareness to trace your thoughts to reframe them (if they happen to be negative) back to the positive track.
Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve” - Napoleon Hill.
Will you allow yourself to have the awareness to ensure that your thoughts will support the life of your dreams?
To Mindful Living,
Sam Kabert is the creative director of SwagWorx and the creator and co-host of the podcast “WhatUp Silicon Valley!” A risk taker who embraces permanent beta, Sam is leading the transformation of his family-run office supplies business into a promotional products powerhouse. Sam can be reached at Sam@SwagWorx.com.
Most sales professionals would classify themselves as Type A. They’re highly competitive, ambitious and ready to take on any challenge. While Type A salespeople have the drive and goal-oriented personality to excel in a sales career, there’s something to be said for Type B sales professionals. While these people do not typically enjoy competition as much as Type A professionals, they contribute in many valuable ways. Type B sales reps usually enjoy collaboration and tend to be intuitive and empathetic.
Bestselling author and LinkedIn influencer, Travis Bradberry, says that Type B professionals are not always as vocal as Type A people, so they sometimes don’t get as much recognition. In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we discuss Bradberry’s thoughts on some common characteristics—and contributions—of Type B professionals.
1. They are more relaxed. Professionals with a Type B personality may get labeled as less energetic, but that’s not the case at all. They care just as much as Type A professionals and work just as hard. However, Bradberry says Type B professionals see achieving goals as a journey instead of a sprint. These people are just naturally more laid-back in how they approach their work and goals.
2. They have a plan. Bradberry points out that Type B professionals know what they want to achieve and how to get there—they just tend to keep their plans to themselves. They don’t need someone to oversee them and keep them on track.
3. They care. Sometimes, people with a Type B personality are viewed as indifferent or disengaged. Bradberry encourages leaders to watch out for this misconception because Type B professionals care deeply. In fact, they care enough to work at the pace at which they are most effective. If they did not care, they would allow themselves to be rushed and compromise quality.
4. They are happy where they are. According to Bradberry, people with a Type B personality don’t dwell on what’s next because they are content where they are. They enjoy living in the moment without worrying about what they can achieve tomorrow.
5. They are healthy. Because Type B professionals are typically more laid-back than their Type A peers, they also tend to be healthier. Taking a more relaxed approach to business and life means they suffer less from everything from heart disease to insomnia, says Bradberry.
6. They see the best in others. Since people with a Type B personality do not view life as a competition, they are often quick to cheer their colleagues on and support them, says Bradberry.
7. They do not like to be confined. At their core, Type B professionals like to do things their own way. They work best when they can color outside of the lines, notes Bradberry. This is helpful on sales teams because these professionals can see the big picture, rather than get bogged down in the details.
8. They work well with others. Sales professionals with a Type B personality know how to collaborate and how to give credit. They are happy to share all the ups and downs that come with working as part of a group.
While you may have more Type A than Type B professionals on your sales team, there’s room for both personality types to thrive in sales. Whether you are hiring or you want to help your current sales reps grow, remember that Type B professionals have the characteristics to achieve and succeed—often at a high level.
Source: Travis Bradberry is the cofounder of TalentSmart®. He is also a bestselling author and a LinkedIn influencer.
The goal with any sales outreach email is to capture the attention of potential buyers. You want them to see your message and feel compelled to open it. Many sales professionals have the right intention with their emails, but they get no response. According to Aja Frost, HubSpot’s head of content, it could be because they are using wording that is all wrong.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Frost’s thoughts on the seven sentences you should immediately stop using to begin your sales outreach emails.
“My name is … ” If you typically lead with this sentence, your prospects are probably too bored to continue reading. Names are usually hard to remember because most people are not that interested in them, notes Frost. And when you are sending an email, beginning with this sentence is redundant. The recipient can see your name in the “from” field or your email signature.
"I work for … ” Frost recommends removing this sentence from your repertoire because it’s uncreative and unoriginal. It is also like planting a sign in the prospect’s brain that says, “I’m trying to sell you something!” It’s okay to mention your company but weave it into your email naturally. Don’t lead with it.
“Did you know … ?” This line sounds like an infomercial, which can immediately turn off potential buyers. Instead of trying to create urgency with a question like this, Frost suggests using intriguing stats that are personalized to the prospect’s specific situation.
“Congrats on … ” This is another opener to avoid in your sales outreach emails. Offering a generic congratulations can come across as lazy. Instead, you will likely see more success by getting ultra-specific with your congratulations. For example, instead of saying “Congratulations on opening your new branch!” you could say, “I saw that you just opened your new office in Phoenix—congratulations! That is really exciting growth—especially an expansion in the Southwest.”
“I’ve been thinking … ” When you begin a sales outreach email with this line, you come across as self-interested, says Frost. Instead, just invert your statement. For example, instead of saying, “I’ve been thinking about your recent acquisition of Infinity Sports, and …” just switch it to “Your acquisition of Infinity Sports on Tuesday got me thinking …” Remember that you should never begin an email talking about yourself, notes Frost. It should always be about the potential client.
“I hope you’re doing well ...” While this opener is polite, it’s also extremely bland. It’s better to dive right into your message, according to Frost. This will save you space and you also have a better chance at catching the buyer’s attention.
“Did you find what you were looking for?” By using this sentence to begin your sales outreach emails, you risk confusing the recipient. Even though you may have sent them a piece of content or a link to a video, they may not know what you are referring to. That’s why it’s important to get specific. Say something like, “Did our pricing page have all the details you need?” or “Do you feel ready to move forward with the campaign after watching our case study videos?”
Instead of using vague or dull opening lines in your sales outreach emails, change your wording to make it customized for each potential buyer. Sometimes, a few simple tweaks to your phrasing can be just what you need to kick off a productive conversation.
Source: Aja Frost is HubSpot’s head of content.
Used with permission from PPAI Media
"I was doing some research, and based on what I'm seeing, I'm going to need you to reduce the price on those tumblers twenty-five cents per unit."
Have you ever argued with a client over a request for a price reduction?
Granted, most of us won't get into an actual argument with a prospect when the time for price negotiation rears its head, but we ALL have been in situations like the one presented in the sentence I heard from my new client on the other end of the line. I've sat with countless salespeople batting around ideas and counters for a request like this one, but most of the time, the salesperson caves, the price gets reduced, and the order begrudgingly gets written.
This time was different. You see, during the discovery phase of the sale, I found out that the owner of the business was a veteran who had fought for our country. I also found out that they were a military family, and their youngest son had lost his life in combat. As a father with a child in the military myself, that loss carried a lot of weight with me.
As we proceeded with the steps necessary to pick the most appropriate product for their objective, the client decided they'd like to choose a tumbler. As a PromoCares veteran, I was well aware of the Patriot line of drinkware from Hirsch Gift, and I proudly presented that product as the appropriate tumbler for the job.
At our next meeting, I explained the connection between the Patriot line and Homes for Our Troops, the non-profit benefactor of 20% of the proceeds from these particular tumblers. As this information's significance became apparent to her, my contact leaped from her chair and raced out of the room, returning excitedly with Bob (the owner) in tow.
"Tell him what you just told me!" she said.
As I recounted the connection for Bob, his face contorted with emotion. What began as grief quickly turned to surprise, and a mega-watt smile flashed across his face as he internalized what I was explaining.
"Tonia, let's be sure to explain why we chose these when we hand them out at the picnic. It's one thing to get something nice from us, but once people realize the connection, I think they'll be even more proud to show them to their friends," Bob said as he headed for the door. "Roger, you've got MY vote; just make sure you take care of Tonia."
Imagine my surprise when our subsequent discussion included the previously referenced request for a discount. This was NOT one of those times I was going to give in, but I needed to find a polite way out of the problem.
"Tonia," I said, "I understand the nature of your request, but I have to tell you that I won't be able to give you that which you're asking. I CAN sell you another tumbler at the price you're looking for, but I cannot discount the Patriot tumblers, as their price is a reflection of the contribution they're making to Homes for Our Troops."
Silence. As the old salesperson's saying goes, "The next person who speaks loses." The pause was pregnant and becoming uncomfortable.
"Fine," she said. "What am I supposed to tell Bob if we don't get those?"
By tying the product we were selling to one of their core values, I had created value. When Bob realized his staff would cherish the product more because of the story that came with the product, the decision had cemented in his head. Tonia wasn’t just buying tumblers any longer; she was creating a narrative that accompanied the product. A narrative that was worth the premium.
Your clients don’t deserve the value of the connection if they’re not willing to pay for it. Simply put, you can’t have the story AND the discount.
Roger has spent 20+ years making complex concepts more understandable for both buyers and sellers alike, and has devoted the majority of his recent career to injecting purpose via philanthropy to his sales and marketing efforts. He’s intent on making the world a better place and his nirvana exists at the intersection of Mission, Passion, Profession and Vocation. He loves the outdoors and seeks memorable experiences whenever possible. Contact Roger at firstname.lastname@example.org or 810-986-5369.
Ever feel like projects keep kicking off but never seem to end? Has working from home blurred your workday boundaries, making it impossible to unplug at night or on weekends? Are you already exhausted just reading those two questions?
You are not alone. That low-buzz anxiety may seem alienating, but it’s actually extremely common, even if your Instagram feed tells a different story. Throughout the pandemic, at home and at work, we’ve all been asked to do more with fewer resources. And business-as-usual? That’s long gone, baby. Even prior to the upheaval of 2020 that we are still navigating today, we’ve become an always-on culture, where work permeates every aspect of our home lives and vice versa. So, what steps can you take to better limit stress, work more efficiently, and reclaim that precious work-life balance?
Here are a few small strategies you can implement right now:
Establish Boundaries on New Work
If your project list is so daunting that it’s paralyzing your productivity, with new items continually added to your plate and seemingly none of them getting completed, take a breath. Cut yourself some slack. And most importantly, ask whoever’s moving the work your way to assign urgency levels to each task to help you better prioritize.
We all know how it gets to this point: Everyone wants their project to be at the front of the line. But when each task is hot, and all projects are emergencies, you’re being set up to fail. The best way to dig yourself out of a hole is to go to your boss with your project list and politely ask for their help. Be sure to get clarity on your role and boundaries for each task, discuss specific urgency levels, and ask them to assign each with High, Medium, and Low priority.
This helps in multiple ways: First, you’ll leave with an action plan—which is way better than a non-action plan, like idly watching your inbox as it slowly spirals out of control. Second, seeing your task list laid out helps your supervisor notice how much work they’ve directed your way. You might be their go-to person (take it as a compliment, you’re probably killing it!), but actually seeing the weight of your list can serve as a wake-up call for your boss.
And finally, simply identifying which tasks aren’t a priority is extremely valuable for your mental state. Remove those from your list and set them to the side. Sure, you’ll need to do them eventually, but it’s one less “today problem.”
Give Yourself Small Wins
Do you sometimes have such a large, complicated project that even thinking about it makes you irrationally tired? Step away from the couch and put down the blanket – this is no time for a procrastinap. We’re going to get through it together!
Break big projects down into several smaller tasks
Sometimes the phrase “small wins” seems interchangeable with “low-hanging fruit.” But when you’re working on something large and complex, breaking it into smaller pieces is a very valuable win. Start by outlining the work and defining its stages—that little act of project management results in something extremely valuable: a plan for success.
Get directional feedback early
On larger projects, it’s very tempting to make your idea bulletproof right out of the gate. We’re all guilty of this: You want to blow it out, shave down the rough edges, and make it stakeholder-ready before you share anything. But what if your vision isn’t their vision? Rather than backtracking later after hours of work, seek gut checks early in your process. Make sure your idea and plans are clearly defined, then share them in broad strokes. Once you get a sign-off, you can build out the next step. Then, the next.
These agile check-ins save you time overall, and they give your boss or client confidence in the project’s progress.
Find a small task you can complete in under 30 minutes
Completing small tasks is a proven psychological motivator. What if you blocked off half an hour to clean out your inbox, organize your files, or wrap up a loose end? Once you’re done, you can cross that off of your list, giving you a much-needed sense of accomplishment. Cross a few more off at different intervals throughout the day, and guess what? You’ve set an avalanche of productivity in motion. Way to go! You’ve eliminated a few tasks, cleared some physical and/or mental clutter, and now you can better focus on the larger tasks at hand.
Reward Yourself – You’re Worth It
In this work-from-home era, it’s tough not to overextend. Remember to reward your accomplishments. Did you finish a draft? Take your dog for a short walk, fresh air will do wonders. Did you respond to a mountain of emails? Have a light snack and scroll through your social media for a few minutes – you might need to set a timer for this one so you don’t go overboard. If you’ve just finished back-to-back-to-back Zoom meetings, run a quick errand or start your dinner meal prep and save yourself time later. Taking intermittent breaks will allow you to come back refreshed and ready to tackle your next task.
Over time, implementing these small strategies will help you get your workday back under control. In the interim, if you want to reward yourself with a few more minutes of reading before you get back at it, check out these other productivity tips on the SAGE Blog: Improve Your Time Management Skills With SAGE Project Management or 10 Products to Help Boost Your Work From Home Productivity.
Used with permission from SAGE
The overarching theme we can expect to see in business and in technology this year is mapping out new territory, according to Fjord Trends 2021; the 14th edition of an annual market research publication produced by Accenture Interactive, a division of worldwide and billion-dollar digital agency network Accenture. The report, which focuses on how people, organizations and brands are meeting human needs, and which notes seven trends overall, states that with the chaos of COVID-19 came an awareness of what matters most. Having spent the duration of 2020 facing disruption in every facet of life, people are now relishing a renewed focus on and longing to help others solve their greatest challenges and prepare for a brighter future; something that has segued into change for companies, their services, their supply chains and their interactions with end users.
The seven themes, according to the report, are as follows:
Collective displacement: COVID-19 upended end users’ lifestyles, causing their homes, which were once intimate spaces, to also serve as schools, offices and workshops. Brands should help end users find their place in the world again by providing them with key experiences, and focus on new ways of communicating with others at a distance, while providing immersive, realistic digital experiences; texture, transparency and control are key experiential elements.
Do-it-yourself innovation: As people develop unique solutions or “hacks” to solve their problems—such as a parent and at-home worker using an ironing board as a standing desk, the report states—and use technology to communicate ingenuity, there is growth in creativity and the way platforms, like TikTok, are being used. The report suggests the line between customer and creator has blurred, and brands should view themselves as co-creators, considering their products or services as unfinished, and inviting users to build and expand on their own.
Sweet teams are made of this: Employees’ homes also functioning as their offices has segued into conversations about the ethics of remote work, such as appropriate wear for video calls and remote workers’ right to privacy. The report states there are four major areas of opportunity for employers—technology, culture, talent and control—and suggests companies “decouple” from the notion of a physical office space, and instead, design and plan to work in a virtual or hybrid environment.
Interactions wanderlust: As a result of pandemic-related concerns and precautions, people are spending more time indoors and in front of screens, particularly to connect with the world. The screen-time surge has led to a degree of sameness in templated designs. Brands should disrupt sameness by tailoring unique design, content and enjoyable experiences to best suit their audiences. Brands that provide live experiences, such as entertainment and performances, or networking and socializing, are encouraged to continue doing so, or go the hybrid route.
Liquid infrastructure: Because the way people are buying and experiencing products and services has changed, brands must reconsider their supply chain structure to provide satisfaction from the first moment to the last. Supply chains will be evaluated according to growth, flexibility and agility, in addition to efficiency, with a push toward local and sustainable options, and consumers are seeking full customization up to the time of delivery.
Empathy challenge: The pandemic shed light on inequalities across all industries and worldwide. Consumers are looking to engage with companies that are prioritizing what is most important to them and their mission, and developing company operations and stories (or narratives) around these priorities.
Rituals lost and found: A ripple effect of the pandemic was the cancellation and postponement of customary rituals, from birthday parties and holiday celebrations, to weddings, funerals and births. Being unable to participate in these life events has adversely affected collective well-being. Brands can help end users navigate the “new normal” by helping them create new rituals that suit their current lifestyles.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.
Used with permission from PPB.
For your sales reps to work cohesively, they should feel connected to each other. When your team members feel a genuine connection with their colleagues, they will be more likely to communicate better, help each other and work together to solve problems. Fortunately, you can foster collaboration in many ways by using different approaches to team building.
Thadoi Thangjam, a content marketer and digital marketing executive at Vantage Circle, has outlined six types of team building approaches that work whether your sales team is working from home or back in the office.
Keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today for Thangjam’s team-building ideas.
1. Activity-based team building. With this team-building approach, look for ways to give your sales reps a break from their daily routine. Try organizing an outdoor team lunch or a virtual team lunch if your employees are working from home. During the lunch, Thangjam says you can have your employees complete various mental or physical activities that will inspire laughter and boost moods.
2. Communication-based team building. Thangjam says communication-based team building is ideal for helping new colleagues get to know each other. One example of a team-building activity to try with your sales team involves a puzzle. Divide employees into small groups and give each group a jigsaw puzzle with missing pieces. Team members will need to find the missing pieces by negotiating with other teams.
3. Skills-based team building. This type of team building can enhance your sales reps’ skills while allowing everyone to have some fun. Thangjam recommends trying the “Back of the Napkin” challenge, which promotes creative thinking and teamwork. Divide your sales team into smaller groups and give each team a napkin and pen. Give them a series of problems or questions to solve by writing on the back of the napkin. The team with the best solution wins.
4. Personality-based team building. Your sales team is probably full of many types of personalities. Some people may prefer working in smaller groups or independently, while others may enjoy getting together in large teams. With personality-based team building, you can pair sales reps based on what they enjoy.
5. Problem-solving-based team building. Thangjam notes that problem-solving activities can improve communication, interpersonal relationships and mend differences to reach a common goal. To make this work for your team, introduce fun games or exercises and help your sales reps learn how to work together as a team.
6. Value-based team building. This kind of team-building approach works for both your team members and your organization. The goal with value-based team building is to create meaningful experiences for employees while contributing to society. This could be volunteering together, hosting a food drive or cooking for a cause.
Team building does not have to look the same every time. If you traditionally use the same team-building activities, try something new. By considering the approaches above, you can fine-tune your efforts to suit everyone on your team. You’ll end up sparking some fun and setting the tone for a positive work culture.
Source: Thadoi Thangjam is a content marketer and digital marketing executive at Vantage Circle.
Used with permission from PPAI Media.
By Gloria Lafont
When we need any kind of information, the internet is the first place we go—and we expect to find it within seconds. We usually do.
We are all aware that marketing online is important. But how important is it for the promotional products business?
It’s always good to have some facts at hand and not just go by intuition or hunches. Plenty of data proves that in the B2B space, buyers go to the internet. Let’s look at a few stats:
89% of B2B researchers gather information about potential purchases through the internet - Google
Before interacting with a website, the average B2B buyer conducts 12 different online searches - Google
In the promotional products business in particular, the online component of marketing is hugely important for growing your client base and sales.
There are three reasons why internet marketing is critical to the success of your promo business:
1. Buyers who are searching have an immediate need and are ready to buy.
People are researching vendors, and when they contact a provider, they have already done their due diligence and are ready to buy.
Keyword research tools such as Google’s Keyword Planner show that there are tens of thousands of searches every month, in each tens of thousands of different search terms related to promotional products.
That’s why, if you have high sales goals and need to add new clients to achieve those sales goals, it makes sense to invest in SEO and paid advertising. Showing up when people search is a surefire way to attract these ready-to-buy buyers.
2. People are googling you and your business.
You might think that you don’t have to pay that much attention to your online presence if you are not looking for aggressive growth. You are relying on referrals and a more personal approach by meeting people at functions, cold calling and other one-on-one types of activities. Maybe because you don’t have the bandwidth and prefer to grow slowly, or you just want to maintain the same level of sales.
The point is, when you meet someone new, or someone refers you, the first thing they are going to do is google you. If what they find is a generic cookie-cutter website (that says nothing about your personal approach to business, who you are and what you bring to the table) you’ve lost your chance of making a great first impression.
You will be judged by your website and social media presence—or lack thereof.
So google your name and business name and see what comes up, and do what is necessary to show up the way that you want.
3. People spend a great deal of time on social media. You need to be there.
People are checking in and out of social media all day long, and as they do they are discovering brands and following them.
Social media is a source in making purchasing decisions for 84% of B2B executives - Leadspace
You don’t want to leave the field wide open to your competitors. You want your brand to be the one they discover, follow and build familiarity with.
Social media also allows you to build relationships with your existing clients and stay top of mind. As you follow them and they follow you, you’ll be engaging outside of the business transactions. This is how relationships are built these days.
If you feel overwhelmed by the thought of digital marketing and how to put a plan in place, get help. You don’t need to go it alone. Just don’t be left behind.
Start by educating yourself. Take advantage of the free educational digital marketing resources, specific for the distributor business, available on ActionMarketingCo.com.
Used With Permission From promomarketing.
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