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Sales Tip of the Week – Marketing Tactics

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

marketingLooking to add a few new marketing tactics to your current approach?  Advantages magazine has some tips on how to boost your companies visibility.

Reach out to people on LinkedIn; attend a networking event; start a blog; speak at association events; conduct a webinar or teleseminar about your products; set up a Facebook page or Instagram account to post pictures of your clients using your products. When people see you everywhere, they will say, “Wow! I see you everywhere. I should do business with you!”

Sales Tip of the Week – Offer Options

Filed under: Fun, General, Sales Tip

optionsYou always want to present your clients with at least two product options.   Advantages magazine shares tips on how to explain the differences between a budget-sensitive item and a better-quality version that’s slightly more expensive. 

Discuss the materials from which they’re made and how they’re constructed. What, if any, special features or functions does the more expensive item offer? Talk about return on investment and cost per impression as you compare and contrast quality. Does spending a few more cents per piece on better quality mean that the cost per impression might actually be lower than that of the cheaper product? Usually it does, which ultimately sells the budget-minded client on the higher-priced option.

Tip of the Day – Break into the Education Market

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Education MarketIf you’re looking to break into the education market, check out these tips from our successful reps.

HARTOWICZ: Have a great idea on how the program is going to run. Do a lot on the front end before you approach schools. It really helps to know how you’re going to work on your end. And make sure that you’re going to be able to handle it!

HIGGINS: Be active and visible in your community. Go to scholastic events, because visibility and accountability are key.

HINSHAW: Everybody knows somebody who’s in school. Just go and talk to other PTOs. I brought items I had done for another school and showed them to my prospects.

TARADASH: Try and get an introduction to someone and drop off some items. We attended homecoming events where all of the clubs have booths. Get to know those people on a more casual basis.

O’DONNELL: There’s more than one person who buys. It might all funnel through one person, but some people are in charge of recruiting new students, while others work with employees. There are opportunities in both, so recognize that there’s more than one door that can open.

From Advantages’ October 2010 issue.

Tip of the Day – Ways to Generate a Creative Tagline

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Though Jeroen Bours, the founder of New York City-based Darling Agency, may not be a familiar name, readers are likely familiar with his work. The co-creator of MasterCard’s “Priceless” campaign and co-creative director on Liberty Mutual’s “Responsibility. What’s your policy?” effort, he has helped coin some seriously memorable slogans. Here he offers tips on devising out-of-the box taglines to help make promotions stick.

  1. When you have a product or a message to tell, brainstorm what you know of that product, and write down what it’s all about. 
  2. Talk to the people who help create the product, from the ground level to the top. “I love talking to people who actually make the gadgets, who put it in the box,” says Bours. “Before you know it you’ve got great market research right there.” He gives the example of working on a brand message for Hamilton Beach. Its engineers work on familiar products (like coffee makers), but often while making useful improvements (such as the no-pot coffee maker that keeps the coffee fresher). A typical compliment among engineers – not prone to effusive congratulations – was “good thinking.” That became the company’s successful tagline.
  3. Dig into the details of the product and the company, and you’ll find a story. Bours gives the example of going to a baseball game with his son: “I spent a lot of money – the tickets were a little expensive and I wanted to spoil him with popcorn and all these things,” he says. “But, out of all this we have the kind of conversation where the kid looks at you and they say something and you say, ‘Oh my gosh, this is the next level of childhood I just witnessed.’ ” From this evening, Bours came up with the idea for “Priceless.”
  4. Look at the story and find the one or two or maybe five words (if you’re lucky, it’s one word) that tell you what the product, the company or the service stands for. “It’s like a pyramid – it’s hidden in there,” Bours says.
  5. Don’t make it a claim. “Make sure that the tagline is saying something,” Bours says. “Don’t make it, ‘We’re better than everybody else.’ ”
  6. Consider the line, but don’t fall in love too fast or too slow. “It’s dangerous to fall in love with something too fast, but also dangerous not to fall in love with it – there’s a danger that you have something really good but you throw it away, because you’re over-thinking it,” Bours says. 
  7. Make the promotional products as high-level as the brand message. “If I send you a pen for Liberty Mutual, maybe it will say on the pen, ‘This is the pen with which you’ll sign a contract with your parents that you will not text while you drive,’ Bours says. “Now the pen is not a pen anymore – it’s a challenge.”

From Advantages’ Sept. 2010 issue.

3 Cold Calling Tips and Strategies

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Here are the success stories behind each selling strategy.

1. Your Lucky Numbers
Gifts galore.

Four years ago, Deborah Price, creative marketing consultant with Geiger (asi/202900), was getting shot down. After making some contacts with a security company at an event and following up with them for two years, they just were not interested in seeing her goods. But, she didn’t give up.

As an associate member of the Building Owners and Managers Association, Price was determined to break through to the security company. She sent them a giant fortune cookie with a personalized message about the tremendous success the prospect would have if they used Deborah Price. In addition, the cookie’s “lucky numbers” were her phone numbers.
After sending the cookie, Price lucked out on one of her cold calls. “I requested an opportunity to show them what I do – they don’t have to buy from me,” she says. In addition, she had no expectations. She knew that the prospect had a promotional products rep that they had been working with. Since the rep was coming in, the prospect allowed Price to come in and piggyback.

Eventually, Price got the opportunity to present her gift ideas. “In my head, more than likely they would throw me a bone. I figured that the worst-case scenario was that they’d continue with their old rep, but they’d give me the opportunity to provide candy for the receptionists,” she says.

The day of Price’s initial meeting was just short of disastrous. The address on her contact’s business card was in downtown Los Angeles, but the office was in Orange County. “It was off to a crazy, rocky, messed-up start. We’re all sweating and I walked in late,” she recounts. It turns out,  she wowed the client. She set up the conference room with beautiful gifts, including items from Leed’s and Cutter & Buck. She presented everyone with a folder of the items she was presenting. She also provided a “Thanks a Dozen” box filled with bagels and cream cheese for everyone. “They ended up buying those from me as well. It turns out that they were so wowed by my items and passion that they gave me the order for the gifts,” she says.

Since that meeting, Price has been the client’s only source for premiums and gifts. “It’s been amazing. I am their exclusive person. They told every salesperson to go through me for their giveaways and trade shows,” she says. Her total sales figures for the client are approximately half a million dollars.

2. Heartbreak Hotel
Don’t treat him like a hound dog.

When Dave Mann was selling copy machines, he knew cold calling was the way he had to go. “There’s not a lot of repeat business in that industry, so in order to be successful, it was 50 cold calls a day, rain or shine, sleet or snow,” says Mann, the director of national accounts for Promotional Designs Inc. (asi/300830).

When Mann switched industries into the promotional world, he applied the same formula and sold over $1 million in his first year. “I approach cold calling as, ‘What the heck, they are currently buying nothing from me, how much worse could it get?’ ” he says. To him, cold calling is true selling, and the rest is just account management. Most years, he sells about $3 million.

When Mann prospects for new clients, he finds pursuing a common interest works. For months, he called on a national music magazine publisher because it was 90 miles away and there wasn’t much other business in the area. He subscribed to the magazine and is a huge music fan, so he had some good ideas to present. The contact never called him back after numerous voicemails over about six months. “One day, I called the receptionist and told her my story and said, ‘What’s up with this lady? She never calls me back. What kind of person is she?’ ” he says. The receptionist told him that the contact was a huge Elvis Presley fan and her office was decorated with all kinds of Elvis memorabilia.

Mann waited several weeks, until August 16, the anniversary of Elvis’ death. He left a voicemail in an “Elvis” voice saying, “Hey mama, this is Dave. I too am a huge fan of Elvis and your not returning my calls has got me ‘All Shook Up.’ In fact, I am staying at the ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ until I hear back from you. Any true fan of Elvis would certainly call me back on the anniversary of his death. Please don’t treat me like a ‘Hound Dog.’” Within five minutes, the prospect called him back and said, “You got me.” After a good laugh, she scheduled an appointment with Mann. He mentioned that he had some good ideas, he did local imprinting and could provide some services that she wasn’t getting. He also ordered a pair of Elvis sunglasses and an Elvis wig, and arrived at the appointment wearing his new accessories. His contact greeted him with delight, hugged him and proceeded to steal his Elvis stuff for her office display.

Mann’s first order with the magazine was for polo shirts. Seven years later, he still does business with the client, even though his contact has since retired. He has been able to penetrate other departments within the account and continues taking orders for T-shirts, hats and other apparel items, pocket knives, chip clips, duffel bags and writing pads. He has sold approximately $200,000 worth of items to this client.
To this day, the receptionist still calls him Elvis.

3. While You Were Out
A memorable fax.

For Ryan Sauers, getting a return call required a creative push. The president/CMO of Sauers Communication (asi/319273) was trying to work with a religious-related entity in his area. “I called on them over and over again. They liked our company, we said all the right things, and they said they were serious about moving their business. The problem was, we couldn’t get them to move off dead center and pull the trigger,” he says.

The tough part for Sauers was that he knew the prospect, he just couldn’t get a return call. “I’d get the receptionist, I’d get voicemail, but I couldn’t get them on the phone. If someone is telling you that it’s a great fit, how do you get their attention?” he says.

About five years ago, Sauers went into the prospect’s office and noticed that the receptionist used a “While You Were out” slip. He decided to go in for the kill and make sure that his message got to the main part of the office. He took the slip and wrote, “Please call Ryan Sauers. He’s having a hard time reaching you. You’ve been chasing each other. Signed, Ryan Sauers.” He blew up the note to 8″ by 11″ and faxed it to the office.

Within an hour, Sauers got a call from the prospect asking when they could get together. In the first meeting, the prospect mentioned Sauers’ creativity, his confidence and his persistence. The prospect said his unique thinking was the push it took to provide an opportunity.

“We were able to develop a relationship and start talking about the people we knew in common. We set up a subsequent meeting with both of our staffs, which led to moving the first projects in our direction,” Sauers says. The new client started booking more orders with him, and eventually ordered apparel, giveaway items and brand-identity products. “This client has also helped get me business with its sister organizations,” he says.

The client has worked with Sauers for about four years now. “They were loyal to their other supplier and didn’t have a desire to change. It took something to get their attention,” he says. He now books about $25,000 per year with the client.

Even though Sauers’ staff thought the fax was risky, he has no regrets. “What would have happened if I had just quit? Try a different direction, try something off the wall. That was either going to work or bite me in the butt. I knew that fax would stand out,” he says.

From Advantages September 2010 issue.

Dress Me Up! The Sales Rep Interactive Feature

Filed under: General


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Last month, Advantages’  Editor and fellow Jerseyan Kathy “K-Hu” Huston suggested a fun and interactive online feature for an April story about first impressions. “Let’s play dress up the sales rep!” Kathy exclaimed in her usually buoyant way, and I was immediately intrigued. She had in mind the appropriate and inappropriate ways a sales rep should dress, but wanted to know if we — the Online Masters of the ASI Universe — could create a feature that allowed for dragging-and-dropping different pieces of apparel on scantily-clad male and female models.

Kathy, I said, we can do anything your little heart desires, and so was born the great Dress Up The Sales Rep Interactive feature!

Kudos to team member Craig for the design and functionality. Enjoy! 

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Advantages Gets an Online Facelift

Filed under: site updates

We just launched a redesigned version of Advantages magazine online, and we know you’re going to love it. The page offers current and archived articles, weekly “Sales Tips” videos, weekly polls that let you voice your opinion, and a lot more.

For those of you who can’t get enough of the monthly “Blast From the Past” page, you’ll be happy to know that you no longer have to wait an entire month to get your fix of funny: We’re now featuring a NEW “Blast From the Past” every single day! So make sure you log on, uh, every single day.

So check out the new and improved design (you can find it directly at AdvantagesMag.com), then post a comment or send an email to let us know what you think!



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