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Tip of the Day – How To Target the Big Clients

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Target Big ClientsWhen it comes to sales and marketing, it’s nice to have a steady stream of business from small- and medium-sized accounts, but it’s also nice to catch that big fish, know whatta mean? Counselor’s July Blueprint newsletter has some great tips on landing business from Fortune 500 clients. Here are 4 tips to whet your appetite.

  • Check back every six months. The timing might not be right the first time you pitch the decision-maker, but persistence can often reap rewards.
  • Don’t just tell people what you do. Tell a story. “If you say, ‘Well, I print pens and buttons sort of when someone makes me,’ they’re not going to be too thrilled about it,” says Tim Larson, owner and president of Skyward Promotions (asi/328465). “But if you say, ‘I do imprinted promotional products and last week I did blah blah blah and it was so much fun to be able to see my stuff there,’ and tell a story, they are going to remember you.”
  • Write an article in a regional publication or website. Even if you can’t get through the door of the company’s office, your services can still reach the manager’s desk. A concerted public relations effort will allow contacts at large corporations to find you.
  • Compete on quality, not price. “There’s a big difference for the client between going on the website and finding a lot of schlock versus you actually showing them two or three things that you think would be a good fit for the company,” says Drew Stevens, president of the business consultancy Stevens Consulting Group. “Think in terms of what the CEO wants.”

Hot Promotional Product – Text-Free Driver

Filed under: Hot Product of the Week

Text-Free DriverThis morning as I’m driving into work I notice this dump truck in front of me swerving from the center lane and into the left one. Then back to the center. Then to the right. Then … the shoulder.

My first thought was, what if this poor dude’s had a heart attack and he needs help?!

So, with the strength of a 4-cylinder, 128-horsepower 2003 Corolla at my disposal, I hit the gas and caught up to him in, well, eventually … and once I got there, what did I find?

Not only was he not having a heart attack or in any physical distress, but he seemed to be having a good ol’ time texting (and hopefully not “sexting”) with God knows who. OK, this is a major driving infraction. A huge penalty. If I had a yellow flag in my car I woulda thrown it at him. Instead, I began texting my friends at how appalled I was (Ok, that’s a joke …).

Anyway, this got me to thinking about a specific promotional product that would’ve been perfect for Mr. Swerving Dump Truck Texter Guy and how it could’ve prevented some awkward and dangerous moments for people driving on Interstate 95 South this morning in Central Jersey.

The “Text-Free Driver” is a little thumb band that can be worn by people before they get into a car to remind them of the dangers of texting and driving. From supplier BamBams (asi/38228), this is an awesome product for this day and age, and one that I certainly give a “thumbs-up” to (no pun intended)!

5 Tips to Tap Into Vertical Markets

Filed under: Tip of the Day

5 Top TipsFrom Advantages’ June 2011 issue feature titled “Work This, Work That“.

Ken Thoreson, president of Acumen Management Group, shares five tips for penetrating and earning sales in similar markets.

  1. Find out who’s affiliated with whom. “If you’ve had some success with hospitals, the thing you have to understand is that some doctors are associated with certain hospitals,” he says. “Obviously, work with doctors who have privilege at those hospitals.”
  2. Always ask for reference letters. “If you are in a market in which you’ve had some success and want to leverage that into a brand-new similar market, you have to have some justifiable reference letters from the successful market,” he says. “I would almost insist that part of the salesperson’s job is to request a reference letter from every person who purchased your product. It’s powerful evidence. There’s a saying in sales: Evidence defeats disbelief. If they don’t think a mug is a good tool, you can say, ‘That’s not what this credit union said.’”
  3. Understand what made your previous promotions successful. “What kind of impact did it have, and what benefits did the customer gain?” he says. “Once you understand those benefits, then you have to go to your new market and understand the business challenges they face, and see if those same concepts and benefits can be achieved.”
  4. Conduct surveys. “Do a formal survey three weeks after the promotion, and make it a part of the normal process,” he says. “You can gain quotes and statistics. What was the outcome of the promotion? Did it meet their business objective? Then, when you look at the new market, whatever the objectives are, you’ve got your selling tool.”
  5. Ask your current customers who they know. “I think it’s the salesman’s responsibility to follow up with a prospect and ask, ‘How did you like the promotion? Did it achieve what you wanted to achieve?’” he says. “If they say yes, the salesperson should say, ‘Great. Do you know anyone in related industries that I can call, and use you as a reference?’ That’s the easiest business a salesperson can get.”

ASI Education Gets A Makeover

Filed under: Education, site updates

For those of you who frequent our Education pages on ASICentral, you might’ve noticed that we’ve recently revamped some of the sub-pages, like Distributor Success, Sales and Marketing. Here’s why …

For instance, each of these sub-pages — which directly correlates to Education Tracks offered at our 5 annual ASI Shows — appeared very similar, almost identical upon first seeing them. Solution: Change the color of each page. Now, each one has an identifiable color associated with it. So if you see the color green, you know you’re in the Distributor Success page. You see blue? You’re now in Sales City, baby!

Next, our on-demand content was useful, but unaccredited. Solution: Offer users the same content, but give them the opportunity to get credit for it. By participating in our Advertising Specialty Institute Certification Program users can achieve their BASI/MASI degrees, which can only enhance their expertise and standing in the industry. Now, each page’s “On-Demand Courses” section offers a Featured Course as well as several links to other online courses, which links directly into our Online Learning Center (if you’re not a member, you’re prompted to join) where you can receive credit for watching/listening to our courses!

And as an added bonus, all of our content in the On Demand Courses section lets the user know how long the time investment will be and how many credits they will get for it (1 or 1/2)!

We’re really excited our new Education pages and how you are too. Let us know what you think by posting a comment below or emailing us at feedback@asicentral.com.

— Vinnie.edu

Tip of the Day – Safety First

Filed under: Tip of the Day

National Safety MonthJune is National Safety Month, and Advantages University is chock full of great safety program promotion ideas, as well as facts and figures.

For instance, did you know?

  • Nearly three times as many employees suffer injuries while not at work
  • At least 23% of all motor vehicle crashes each year involve cell phone use
  • According to the 2010 ASI Global Advertising Specialties Impressions Study, health and safety products generate an average of 86 impressions per month and are kept for an average of 4.1 months
  • The estimated cost of a fatal home injury is $2.9 million

So brush up on safety now and you might even learn a few things about how to target this important market.


5 Fashion Items the Industry Needs Now

Filed under: Uncategorized

My colleague C.J. Mittica, Wearables magazine editor and recent newlywed, takes on an interesting topic in this month’s cover story – 5 fashion items that are begging to be added to the industry.

It’s a fascinating, and bold, read, if I do say so myself. Why bold? Well, when you see the five items C.J. discusses, it’s just difficult for me to imagine the promotional apparel industry offering such products. But, oh boy, wouldn’t it be nice?!

The following are the five items, along with a teaser explanation on what we’re missing with them, as well as my take. For the complete story on five items the industry needs now, click here.


  • What We’re Missing: Peruse the footwear selection on ESP and you’ll find plenty of golf shoes and flip-flops. But despite all appearances, the majority of the world is doing more things than playing a round of golf or hitting the beach. Not only is footwear an essential part of a uniform, but it’s a defining proclamation by the wearer. So what could work? Consider a branded partnership with an iconic footwear style – something like what Dickies (asi/49675) has recently done by partnering with Converse and its Chuck Taylor All-Stars. Chucks offer instant brand currency and consistent retro cool.
  • My Take: Since I golf and go to the beach about as often as I watch Lifetime TV (not that there’s anything wrong with it), I gotta say footwear in this industry just, well, doesn’t do it for me. Chuck Taylor’s, on the other hand? Gold! Of course, I say YES!


  • What We’re Missing: Plenty of people are content going through life with a solid-colored wardrobe. But for those who want to let their personality shine, bold prints can certainly do the talking. Styles like florals, polka dots, argyle and tribal add a dose of visual pop without being too over-the-top. Plus, they are constantly in vogue among the fashionistas and trendmakers.
  • My Take: As a guy, I’m all about solids and the occasional pinstripe, but my personality shines just fine without any bold prints, thank you very much. But that’s not to say I don’t like them – just not on me. In my humble opinion, there’s nothing more beautiful than a woman in a nice floral print, preferably on a sundress. So I say YES!


  • What We’re Missing: There is nothing more all-American than a pair of blue jeans. And when it comes to clothing that is worshipped, the cult of denim is unmatched. So why is it so hard to get a pair of leading-edge fashion jeans in this industry? For one, the durability of denim is unmatched. Plus, jeans have emerged as a tried-and-true casual uniform alternative – something that can be dressed up with a blazer or dressed down with a T-shirt. Offer them at a sensible price tag (compared to what some people pay for jeans) and you’ll have people in blue heaven.
  • My Take: Here at ASI we not only have casual Fridays, but casual Mondays as well. And on every Monday and Friday you can count on me wearing one specific apparel: blue jeans. So, of course, I say YES!


  • What We’re Missing: It’s the great unexplored territory in the branded apparel industry, and it’s time that bottoms (especially for women) got their just due. We’ve covered jeans, but there’s a whole world of additional options out there – everything from skirts to trendy shorts to capri pants to high-end corporate apparel pants and more.
  • My Take: As a big fan of ladies’ bottoms, I give this a resounding YES! (And the garment ideas ain’t bad either!)


  • What We’re Missing: The modern classy dresser is a material connoisseur. They pay attention not only to looks, but texture and feel. So while industry manufacturers (rightly) love cotton and continue to push the limits of technical fabrics like polyester, bamboo and rayon, the classic fibers and weaves are left behind. Linen is a staple of summer cool and unique construction. Khaki has emerged as a versatile all-purpose fabric, ready to be deployed for down and dirty work or as an alternative trendy suiting option. Tweed is a winter favorite of men and a supremely durable choice. Chambray can be used for more than everyday workwear. It’s time to take these materials off the bench and insert them into the starting lineup.
  • My Take: There’s only one fabric for me, cotton. And it’s a big — albeit, expensive — part of the industry. You can keep your khakis and tweeds, and definitely linen. That stuff wrinkles when the wind blows. So, NO on this one.



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