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5 Ways to Improve Client Retention

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Improve Client RetentionFact: Over two-thirds of customers who stop doing business with a company leave because of the treatment they receive from YOU.

With times as tough as they are these days, that’s a telling stat. Your competitors might be doing something better than you, but that’s not why some of your business is leaving you in the dust. This month’s Wearables “Business Toolkit” feature is loaded with tons of great advice on everything from creating effective and cheap content marketing to going retail. Check it out here, and in the meantime here are 5 ways you can improve your client retention:

  1. Distinguish between a bad client and a difficult client
  2. Listen to your customers
  3. Have organized systems in place
  4. Nurture the relationship
  5. Follow-up is paramount to success

Tip of the Day – When to Call a Prospect

Filed under: Tip of the Day, Wearables

When To Call ProspectsGreat sales advice from the latest WEARABLEStyle newsletter … when to call a prospect.

You already know timing is everything. The cliché is particularly true when it comes to sales. Contacting a current or prospective client at the right time can be a pivotal step along the road to successful closing. So when is the right time to call? When it comes to existing clients, the answer is pretty straightforward: Learn their schedule and contact them at times that are convenient for them, says Adam Thornton, general manager at Match-Up Promotions (asi/264230). Adds J.P. Shea, sales development lead for American Solutions for Business (asi/120075): “You need to understand their wants and needs, and that includes understanding when they want to be seen.”

The best times to call prospects are in the morning before the business day gets swinging and in the late afternoon, when the day winds down, distributors say. “They can focus and think,” says Karen Hunter, owner of distributorship Head of the Hunt. “If you call in the middle of the day, they have so much going on and it’s harder to get somewhere.” A study from InsideSales.com testifies to Hunter’s assertion. The analysis, which examined three years of data from six companies, determined that sales associates had the most success contacting prospects and initiating the sales process when calling between 8 a.m.-9 a.m. and 4 p.m.-5 p.m. “We have seen our best responses from 7:30 a.m.-9 a.m.,” says Kevin J. Scharnek, president of 14 West LLC (asi/197092).

Additionally, the InsideSales.com study determined sales associates who contact prospects on Wednesday and Thursday stand a better shot of ultimately landing a deal. Still, that doesn’t always hold true in practice. Scharnek says Fridays have proved an excellent day to get ahold of prospects and turn them into clients. Hunter agrees. “If you’re still working to get clients at 3 p.m. on a Friday afternoon when everyone else has gone off for the weekend,” she says, “it shows you are going to be available to them when they need you.”

For more great apparel information and news from WEARABLEStyle, don’t miss the latest addition.

It’s a Dirty Job, But …

Filed under: Wearables

What is it about dirty jobs that makes them so revolting, yet so interesting at the same time?

Of course, unless you’re Mike Rowe and you work for the Discovery Channel’s aptly named “Dirty Jobs” TV show, nobody really *wants* a dirty job. The allure, I suppose, is the same as passing a car wreck – you just can’t turn away. Or, maybe, it helps one feel good about the boring-yet-squeaky-clean desk job they do for 40 hours a week.

Whatever the case, dirty jobs are so cool these days that Wearables magazine did a feature story this month on a handful of tough men and women who get good and grimy every day — and the apparel they wear during their working hours.

Introducing Dirty Jobs: Uniforms Edition!

In this article, Wearables spends the day at the following dirty jobs and learns a few things about the apparel worn to combat all kinds of nastiness:

  • Zookeeper – who flung poo?!
  • Mechanic – where body fluids flow! (auto bodies, that is)
  • Chef – great green gobs of greasy grimy … well, you get the idea
  • Crime Scene Clean-Up – use your imagination on this one

Ugh, now I have an urge to take a shower!

— DirtyD

Tip of the Day – The American Edge

Filed under: Tip of the Day

Made in the USALooking for a way to convince clients that American-made apparel is the way to go? Here are three ways to get them to see beyond price, and consider purchasing apparel manufactured by domestic factories:

  1. Quality: Yes, foreign goods can be cheaper. However, “Most people say that price is the most important thing. But it’s not always the most important,” says Howard Levine, who runs Alliance Graphics (asi/117905) and buys U.S.-made apparel. “Quality and service matter.” Stress with clients the higher quality of fabrics and construction that tends to be found on American-made apparel. Show samples of domestic and imported products to prove this point. 
  2. Convenience: What takes weeks sometimes for overseas manufacturers to deliver can take days for U.S. ones. Also, other issues like customs snafus and tariff markups can be avoided easily. Considering inventory and pricing problems that many apparel makers outside of the U.S. have had over the past 12 to 18 months, this is an angle that many clients would be interested in. Domestic manufacturers can have more of a just-in-time manufacturing model, affording them an edge in inventory and production time. 
  3. Markets: There are lots of groups that prefer or even require apparel made in the United States. They include unions, political campaigns, patriotic committees (who might hold a Fourth of July parade) and even big companies demonstrating their commitment to domestic manufacturing. Plus, overseas markets like Japan, which don’t have their own base of apparel manufacturing, tend to appreciate the high quality nature of clothing that can be imported to them from America. The international angle is one that can be the most fruitful for distributors looking to sell made-in-the-USA clothing.

From Counselor’s January 2011 issue.

Sales Dish of the Day: Sell High-End Apparel Decoration

Filed under: Sales Dish of the Day

Four ways to convince clients on the use of more expensive decoration techniques, from Deborah Jones, founder of www.myembroiderymentor.com, and Joyce Jagger, the Embroidery Coach (www.theembroiderycoach.com):

1. An embroidered garment is more durable than a screen-printed item, so the customer will be wearing it to the mall a year from now, instead of wearing it while mowing the lawn.

2. An embroidered item is easier to care for than a screen-printed item. It can be washed like any other garment without turning it inside out or removing it early from the dryer.

3. Adding one-of-a-kind or exclusive designs to apparel (such as a custom monogram) will raise the value of the item and give customers the feeling of wearing designer clothing without the high-end price tag.

4. Offering uncommon add-ons such as sequins to a pair of jeans or a denim shirt can increase the item’s perceived value much more than a normal embroidered design and can command a much higher retail price. – Shane Dale

— From Counselor‘s 2009 State of the Industry

Apparel: The Survey Says!

Filed under: Research, Survey

My sixth-grade teacher once asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up and, without hesitation, I blurted out “Game Show Host!” Of course, this admission became increasingly odder and more uncomfortable as each male student after me proclaimed aspirations of a more manly nature … you know, like cop, fireman or breakdancer (did I mention these were the 80s?). My shortsightedness to feign an interest in what was cool or acceptable at the time resulted in a good, old-fashioned playground pummeling, and I never again spoke about an interest in game shows … until now!

Plunked in front of a TV set like Martin Tupper, I was raised on a healthy diet of “Press Your Luck”, “$50,000 Pyramid”, “Card Sharks”, “Jokers Wild”, and … my all-time favorite … “Family Feud”! Richard Dawson was the host with the most, the epitome of smooth, a suave and sophisticated gentleman with a wry wit and intense charm who knew how to schmooze the ladies and steal kisses from the mouths of wives whose husbands clapped and watched. A genius! And I wanted to be him.

And today I get that chance … well, minus the kissing.


With this month’s release of its annual Apparel Sales Survey, Counselor magazine has given me the opportunity I have waited a lifetime for … to take the big stage and ask you, the family audience, questions about a topic that we have surveyed — in this case, distributor apparel sales.

DIRECTIONS: I’ll provide you with the question posed to industry distributors along with their top answers in random order, and you try to guess which one is the most popular. The winner gets, well, not much, maybe a mention in the blog and a Coke or something, but it’s the best we can do with the economy and all. So be sure to send your answers to feedback@asicentral.com with a listing of all your answers. Got it? Then let’s play the feud!

QUESTION 1: In 2008, what percentage of total annual distributor sales from promotional products does apparel represent? Top 6 answers are on the board:

  1. 51-75%
  2. 11-25%
  3. no apparel sales
  4. 26-50%
  5. 1-10%
  6. more than 75%

QUESTION 2: In 2008, which category specified had the highest percent of distributor apparel sales? Top 4 answers are on the board:

  1. women
  2. children
  3. men
  4. unisex

QUESTION 3: Relative to all distributor promotional products sales, how would you say sales of apparel have changed over the past year? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. decreased
  2. increased
  3. stayed the same

QUESTION 4: How did distributor sales volume in uniforms change within the past year? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. decreased
  2. increased
  3. stayed the same

QUESTION 5: What are the top three purposes for the promotional apparel distributors sell? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. company uniforms
  2. spiritwear/athletics (cheerleading, booster clubs, etc …)
  3. employee/consumer incentives

QUESTION 6: What are the top markets of apparel purchases? Top 8 answers are on the board:

  1. non-profit
  2. financial
  3. manufacturing
  4. education/schools/universities
  5. health/medical/hospitals
  6. restaurants/travel/lodging
  7. associations/clubs/civic groups
  8. professional services (real estate, lawyers, etc …)

QUESTION 7: Which category specified represents the highest percentage of overall distributor apparel sales? Top 5 answers are on the board:

  1. bags/totes
  2. golf shirts
  3. t-shirts
  4. sweatshirts
  5. caps/headwear

QUESTION 8: How important do distributors believe brand names are to promotional apparel sales? Top 5 answers are on the board:

  1. somewhat important
  2. neither important or unimportant
  3. very important
  4. not at all important
  5. somewhat unimportant

QUESTION 9: What percentage of distributor wearables purchases are manufactured outside the U.S.? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. 16%
  2. 64%
  3. 8%

QUESTION 10: Compared to 2007, has the amount of product distributors decorated in-house changed? Top 3 answers are on the board:

  1. decreased
  2. increased
  3. remained the same

QUESTION 11: What percent of all distributor apparel purchases are blanks? Top 5 answers are on the board:

  1. none
  2. 91% or more
  3. 11-50%
  4. less than 10%
  5. 51-90%

Don’t forget to send answers now and check the blog often for results. Of course, if you want to see how you did, just check out the updated Apparel Research section of ASICentral for the Counselor Apparel Sales Survey … but not before you send your answers!

“Love ya, will see ya here on the feud” (I just had to sign off like Richard — he’d be proud.)


Wearables Apparel Design Awards

Filed under: Awards

Here it is not even 2009 yet and already we’ve got our first Awards listings of the new year!

Hot off the press, the 2009 Wearables Apparel Design Awards page is now live and available on ASICentral.com by clicking here.

In this second annual awards program, Wearables — one of our seven magazines (www.wearablesmag.com) — went in search of the most attractive and functionally designed apparel and ad specialty accessories to hit the market. The following are the categories represented in the awards:

  • Best Accessory
  • Best Embellishment
  • Organic Apparel & Accessories
  • Outerwear
  • Performance Polos
  • Recycled or Repurposed Apparel & Accessories
  • Trendy Hats
  • Use of Color in Apparel & Accessories
  • Woven/Button-Front Shirt & Blouses
  • Readers’ Choice Award

So, what are you waiting for?! Check out the Wearables Apparel Design Awards now!



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