Finding Your Spark

Finding Your Spark

Spark

How are you doing today?

“Eh… so-so.”

“I’m hanging in there.”

“Not too bad.”

These common responses are symptoms of a big problem. Your fire has gone out. Maybe you never had one in the first place, but if you want to succeed, I mean really succeed, you MUST rekindle it. Without out it, days drag on, projects become boring, and your work suffers.

Starting a fire from nothing is not only daunting, it’s impossible. So, begin with something simple, a spark. A spark is the excitement that you feel when you find a great new product for a client, the rush you experience after a good meeting, or the boost you get from a positive email. One spark is all it takes and sparks can be found everywhere if you know how to look for them.

You can find your spark by:

  • Having an honest chat with a successful colleague
  • Remembering why you got into the business in the first place
  • Thinking about your family and loved ones
  • Reading uplifting blogs or articles
  • Making a change in your job focus or career
  • Completing a SWOT analysis about your career and your life

Sparks can be found everywhere, but only you know where to look for yours. You have to be open to honest self-reflection. How did your fire go out and how can you rekindle that passion?

The most important thing you can do is admit that your passion and drive has left you. This can be very tough to admit. Most of us want to truck on and work through it. That’s never the answer. Address your issue right away and immediately start searching your life for your spark. When you do find it, be sure to take better care of yourself and the fire that drives you.

PPAI Expo

Tips for PPAI Expo Success | Attendee Edition

Are you planning to attend the PPAI Expo? Make the most of your time (and survive Las Vegas) by following these simple tips.

  1. Start show preparation at least a month before the event. This is when you call your clients to discuss their marketing calendar and promotional product needs. Your clients’ needs will become your shopping list for the show!
  2. Set appointments with suppliers to discuss specific client projects. This one-on-one time should be focused, fast-paced, and impactful. Don’t waste time!
  3. Have manners.
    • Don’t block the aisles.
    • Don’t interrupt a supplier or sales rep because you’re in a hurry.
    • Don’t linger in a booth and dominate a supplier’s time.
    • If you’re looking for free stuff to ship home for the kids… really?
  4. No need to visit every vendor, especially if they visit your office regularly. Look for the suppliers you don’t see often.
  5. Ask suppliers about their best selling products and hottest markets.
  6. Wear comfortable shoes. You’re going to walk between 5-8 miles!
  7. Everyone has a saturation point when you just can’t look at another cap, mug or pen. When you hit this point, do yourself a favor and call it a day.
  8. At times the night club or the craps table may be calling your name. Be prepared to say no (or at least turn in early).

Follow these time-tested tips and you’ll be able to get the most out of any industry trade show. Happy shopping!

Want to help an exhibitor make the most of their PPAI Expo experience? Send them our post on the topic!

PPAI Expo

Tips for PPAI Expo Success | Exhibitor Edition

The PPAI Expo is upon us. Haven’t started planning for it? Didn’t get the results you wanted last year? Do not panic! Follow these 8 simple tips and you’ll be on the track for PPAI success!

  1. Smile! Social media and email won’t help you here. Your smile is your brand. Practice it and use it often!
  2. Make eye contact. I’ve attended well over 100 product shows. I know I am “hooked” for a conversation when an exhibitor makes eye contact and smiles! Who can resist a friendly face and a smile?
  3. Act like you really want to be exhibiting. If you or your show staff don’t want to be part of the exhibit team, it shows. Save the time and money and stay home.
  4. Have a purpose! Use show time to build on friendships and business relationships. Know your top 25 clients and know what you want to discuss with them. Make a personal call to your top 25 the week before the show. Set a time and reason to talk. Probe for homework, quotes and spec samples needs. Your booth should not be a place to sling out catalogs.
  5. Don’t sit in the corner of your booth checking email! Better yet, forget the chair. I’ve seen hundreds of exhibitors who were relieved that I didn’t stop to see them. Make visitors feel welcome.
  6. Spring for the padded carpet in your booth. Your clients will stay to talk longer and your feet will thank you at the end of the day.
  7. Look sharp! Whether you wear a suit, business casual, or jeans and a pressed shirt, dress like you mean business! Impress your clients and be proud of your appearance.
  8. Stock-up on breath mints and hand sanitizer. You get the idea here.
  9. Follow-up on your show promises. If you said you would send a sample or spec or special pricing or resolve a problem–you have to deliver!

Have a great show! The PromoPlacement team will see you in Las Vegas!

Want to help an attendee make the most of their PPAI Expo experience? Send them our post on the topic!

Secrets of Promo Sales Superstars

Secrets of Promo Sales Superstars

Sales SuperstarThroughout my career, I have worked with many Sales Superstars.  From my observations, they have all shared some unique habits that made them Superstars.

  1. Sales Superstars view “No” as a temporary condition to be worked around or solved. “No” isn’t a stopping point or ending; it is a bump in the road to “Yes”!
  2. Superstars are client focused and work as the client’s advocate for pricing, terms, delivery charges and QC. They work as an extension of the client’s team to achieve a common goal. If they help the client achieve their goal, the Superstar wins.
  3. Follow-up habits fill the Superstar’s day. They spend their time servicing the sale and the client to be sure every order is done right and delivered on time. They check and check again to get everything right.
  4. Superstars are driven to maintain a higher lifestyle comfort zone than most sales reps. They like nice homes, great trips and expensive cars. Since money allows them to maintain this comfort zone, they are money focused.  Always remember that it’s a lifestyle the Superstar wants, not a dollar amount.
  5. Ok, I will say it… Sales Superstars can be a little quirky and their success gives them the right to be quirky! I will take a small team of quirky Superstars over a large team of average producers anytime. They are more driven to achieve.

If you have a Sales Superstar on your team, consider yourself lucky!  Give them the tools they need for success and watch them go.  A Sales Superstar in their stride is a thing of beauty!

Promo Sales Assistant

So You Want a Promo Sales Assistant?

If you have a great promo sales assistant, count yourself as being very fortunate!

However, the challenge of producing the extra revenue needed to justify your sales assistant must be considered. In my experience there are many sales reps who develop the sales volume and need for an assistant. When logically added, an assistant will help a sales rep increase revenue.

Like many situations in sales management, logic doesn’t necessarily apply. Here are the reasons why:

  1. Sales reps are often not good managers. The skill set needed to be a great sales person and generate revenue is not the same skill set needed to delegate, manage, set expectations, and develop accountability. Assign a team lead to supervise sales support personnel, and make damn sure they understand sales.
  2. Lack of vision limits the sales rep’s concept of what they can accomplish. I have seen sales reps take all day trying to explain the tasks to be completed by a sales assistant. As a result, he worked longer hours and his sales dropped while a frustrated and talented assistant struggled to help him.
  3. Duties are not divided in a simple way. I like this method. The sales rep sells and sales support does everything else—including guide the day of the sales rep. It might sound crazy, but I don’t want great sales reps on my team doing tasks that can be completed by someone at a lower wage rate. If you do nothing else, put this simple rule in place to be sure sales reps are building relationships, identifying and filling needs, and closing deals.
  4. Don’t be a micro-manager. While your detail orientation might make you great with client and sale specifics, it can make you a difficult supervisor and a failure as a manager.
  5. Your sales assistant should be your opposite. You are the ying; they are the yang.  This balance makes a team work best, helps avoid duplicate efforts, and naturally divides turf and tasks.
  6. Trust is the key to successful sales support/sales rep relationships. Sales support trust that you will sell and maintain the need for their job. They expect you will assign tasks and get out of their way. And they know you want to sell more and make more money. The sales rep must trust that everyone’s best interests are aligned with one goal—increasing sales and income.

A great sales assistant is a rare find and the gives the sales rep a tremendous advantage. If you have a sales assistant, take the time to get the relationship right on Day 1. If you employ sales assistants be sure you are measuring sales rep margin contribution with the reps added cost. And you must provide proper management of both sales rep and assistant.