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Tip of the Day – Top 5 Supplier Mistakes

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Trash CanNow here’s a great little article that our supplier peeps will appreciate …

Mistakes and faux pas will happen, sure, but what are the top five supplier mistakes, as identified by industry distributors? That’s the question Supplier Global Resource went in search of for the March/April article titled, most aptly, “The Top Five Mistakes Suppliers Make.” In it you’ll find some great information about the mistakes and advice on how to avoid them, so check it out now! (NOTE: This article is password-protected and only available for Supplier members).

In the meantime, here are the top-five mistakes without the detail:

  • Failing to Follow Up on Trade Show Leads
  • Skipping Self-Promotion Campaigns
  • Mismanaging Inventory
  • Mishandling Orders
  • Lacking Quality Control Systems

2012 Best Places To Work Nominations Now Open

Filed under: Counselor Awards

Counselor Best Places to WorkFrom Counselor magazine:

For the fifth year in a row, Counselor is setting out to identify the industry companies that employees simply love to work for. These are the distributors and suppliers that have a loyal work force and that provide a work environment which employees want to go to every morning.

Counselor will be unveiling its annual Best Places To Work issue in September, and it will undoubtedly include an elite list of industry companies. Do you want your company to be considered? Getting involved is easy – and it’s completely free to participate. The only necessary qualification is that a company has at least 10 employees. To nominate your company, or any others in the market that you think deserve to be recognized, simply click here. Also, there’s no risk to participating. Only the honorees – those companies with the best scores from the survey – will be published in Counselor.

So, don’t delay. Click here to register your company to be considered for one of the most exclusive lists in the ad specialty market: Counselor’s Best Places To Work.

Tip of the Day – Client Retention

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Client RetentionDid you know … It’s seven times more difficult to get a new customer than retain an old one, according to GLU Consulting’s George Ludwig?

So it should come as no surprise that you should be devoting significant time and effort to customer retention. The March issue of Advantages magazine has a wonderful article titled “Pesky Clients: Tame Them or Toss Them?” that contains lots of useful information, from all the various types of client personalities to, you guessed it, how to retain them. Check it out now, and in the meantime, here are three great tips on retaining clients. Enjoy, and good luck!

  1. Meet with clients quarterly for a business review. Ask if you are meeting or exceeding clients’ expectations. Is delivery on time?
  2. Follow up with clients at specified times, using a mutually agreed upon method of communication (such as e-mail, phone call, etc.)
  3. Proactively reach out and provide value-added items approximately once a month to your best customers. Ludwig has sent business books, mugs and coffee, articles that are relevant to the customer, or even just a phone call.

Tip of the Day – Join the Cloud

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Join the CloudYou hear it everywhere, but what exactly does it mean to “Join The Cloud”?

Don’t worry if you don’t know — heck, I’m a tech guy and it’s a bit fuzzy (er, cloudy?) for me too — but March’s Counselor magazine aims to shine some light on that question in a hurry, as well as provide steps to succeed with the cloud. Check back in a few days for the March issue of Counselor magazine, but in the meantime, here are the six basic steps.

6 steps to “Cloud” success:

Step 1 – Pick A Productivity Suite
Step 2 – Consider Storage Providers
Step 3 – Leverage VoIP Technology (Voice over Internet Protocol)
step 4 – Organize With CRM Tools
Step 5 – Boost Security
Step 6 – Develop A Retrieval Plan

BONUS VIDEO! Check out our Counselor How-To Minute on Joining the Cloud.

Save the Date – Exclusive ASI Radio Interview with Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley

Filed under: asi radio show

Richard M. DaleyBig announcement from ASI Radio!

Former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley will be a special guest on ASI Radio on Tuesday, Feb. 28 at 10:30 a.m. EST. Daley, who will be a speaking at The ASI Show Chicago in July, has a wealth of leadership experience that he will share with listeners.

According to the ASI Show website:

TIME Magazine reports that Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley “is widely viewed as the nation’s top urban executive.” During his more than 20 years leading this major metropolis, he has governed proactively and implemented forward-looking policies. His innovative efforts have been emulated globally by government officials and business owners to generate substantial growth in job creation and business development.

So save the date … and don’t miss this show!

Tip of the Day – Tap Into the Automotive Market

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Drive Big SalesDid you know … In 2010 the automotive market yielded over a billion dollars in revenue for distributors?

Betcha I got your attention now! This month’s Counselor magazine has a great article titled “Drive Big Sales” which helps distributors target one of the fastest-growing markets in the industry … yep, you guessed it, automotive!

From the latest trends to tips on how to tap into this growing market, don’t miss this article. And in the meantime, here are three tips on how to increase your ability to get business from automotive clients:

  1. Target Employees. Jody Ferrerr, owner of The Perfect Promotion (asi/293518), a distributor in West Hartford, CT, pitches employee-focused products rather than items meant for consumers. Recently, her firm provided water bottles for a Porsche dealer’s employee wellness program. 
  2. Become Charitable. Want to build rapport with the local market? Many automotive companies insist that sponsoring local events, charity gatherings and other meetings in local markets is an effective way to gain consumer attention without being seen as car pushers. 
  3. Made in the USA Matters. With jobs heading overseas and the economy still facing uncertain times, any manufacturing done in the U.S. is appealing to auto dealers and others in the industry trying to connect with Americans feeling the crunch, says Carmela Wagner, vice president at Jack Nadel International (asi/279600). “ ‘Made in America’ is really patriotic again, both in car manufacturing and promotional products,” Wagner says, “whereas in the past it was really focused on price.”

Tip of the Day – Improve Cold Call Skills

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Cold CallingJust recently, Advantages magazine added a great new section called Reboot! where experts offer advice to distributors on how to re-energize their sales. This month’s feature focuses on how one sales rep, Jack Foley of Proforma Team Foley, was able to break through on cold calls and have great success. The article breaks down how he did, an action plan, stats and what role business cards can play in cold calling. It’s a quick, informative read that I recommend to anyone who dreads this task, but who also aspires to perfect it.

Enjoy! And in the meantime, here are 5 expert tips to succeed with cold calling:

  • Make it a warm call; do some research first (LinkedIn, Facebook, Google search, etc.). In most cases you will have a mutual connection or common interest.
    – Joe Sale (real name), DENT Marketing Solutions, DENTmarketingsolutions.com
  • Understand your product inside and out and believe in it (or get another job).
    – Stephen Roberts, marketing manager, timberwolfcorp.com
  • Shift your perspective to the fact that you are a salesperson and it is OK to sell. The world is driven by sales, and nothing happens until something gets sold.
    – Connie Kadansky, sales call reluctance coach and trainer, exceptionalsales.com
  • Figure out how your ad specialty items help your customers. Do they help grow sales, build customer loyalty, increase brand awareness? You should lead with how you help your customers because your prospects most likely have the same challenges that your customers do.
    – Wendy Weiss, “The Queen of Cold Calling,” queenofcoldcalling.com 
  • If you get passed to someone else, let them know that you briefly spoke to someone else who suggested you contact them (Hi, Nancy, this is Brandon with XYZ Company. I just briefly spoke with Tad Wilson in marketing, who thought you would be the right person to talk to for what we do. We specialize in …).
    – Brandon Pipkin, sales trainer and author, 21for21.com

Tip of the Day – How to Identify Eco-Friendly Suppliers

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Sense and SustainabilityKudos to Stitches magazine for a great article they did this month on a growing sustainability movement by apparel suppliers to help shore up eco practices for the benefit of the planet. Called “Sense and Sustainability,” staff writer Chris Ruvo highlights how hard some wearable suppliers are working to ensure sustainability … and to make this world a better place.

I highly recommend this article, and in the meantime here are 6 questions you can ask suppliers to ascertain if they’re really taking sustainability seriously:

  1. Are your manufacturing facilities certified by Worldwide Responsible Accredited Production? 
  2. Are you a participating company with the Fair Labor Association? 
  3. Do you have a formal, written internal policy that describes how you expect manufacturing partners to treat their workers and/or minimize the environmental impact of the apparel creation process? If so, how do you ensure standards are met? 
  4. Are there particular steps you’ve taken or systems you’ve put in place to mitigate the impact of manufacturing and transporting apparel on the planet? 
  5. What charities, nonprofits and/or humane organizations do you support? Are you involved in community outreach?  
  6. Do you produce an annual corporate social responsibility report that’s available for view?

State of the Industry Surveys 2012

Filed under: Survey

State of the IndustryIndustry people, it’s that time of year again!

Our fine Research Department is currently investigating the overall health of the industry for our annual Counselor State of the Industry report. Take a few minutes to fill out our survey and you could win some great prizes, including:

  • Distributors: 1 of 3 prizes totaling $1,500, which includes the grand prize of a $1,000 gift card
  • Suppliers: free ad in an ASI magazine

Distributors, click here for the survey.

Suppliers, click here for the survey.

So what are you waiting for!? Take our survey now!

Tip of the Day – Tap Into the Beauty Market

Filed under: Tip of the Day

CombI get a lot of compliments about my hair. Sure, it’s long, flowing and luxurious and resembles the cover of a Harlequin novel when the wind blows, but the funny thing is it’s flecked with grays and I use a shampoo that costs 99 cents and doesn’t have the word “botanicals” written anywhere on the bottle. Who knew, right.

Anyway, enough about my glorious man-locks.

This month’s Advantages magazine has a great story about the fashion market and how it’s ripe for the taking. Called “It’s a Beautiful Day,” it’s a good read for anyone looking for a little help in boosting those first-quarter sales.

Some great tips:

  • Beauty clients tend to be more creative than some other prospects might be, so they will expect to be dazzled by your brilliance. If you can show you can be a real member of their marketing team, or their sole marketing consultant, you’ll make an even more attractive proposal.
  • As with any new market, use your connections to get your foot in the door. Start small and work your way up.
  • You don’t have to offer nail files, mirrors and brushes to beauty clients. Although they are great staples, unique ideas help clients stand out and pay off for you and them.

Some dos and don’ts:

  • DO: Recommend tasteful items with a high perceived value, whether they are expensive or not.
  • DO: Focus on packaging. How will it be presented? Can you have the item placed in an organza bag or have a custom ribbon tied around it?
  • Don’t: Choose items that look cheap or can be found at a discount store.
  • Don’t: Ignore trends. Although there are classic items that always sell, many of your customers will want to be privy to the most popular items for each season.

Buona Fortuna!! (Good Luck!)

–Vincenzo (Fabio’s cousin)

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