Biz Tip: Be Nice to the Right People

photo from www.smiley-faces.org

photo from www.smiley-faces.org

I’ve said before that being nice is a powerful tool, and I still believe that to this day. But as someone focused on networking and growing my business, more powerful than just being a kind person in general is being nice to the right people. And no, that does not mean that you should suck up to your dream client, but it wouldn’t be a horrible idea to be extra-friendly to his or her assistant.

It’s disappointing to meet someone at a networking event, have a great conversation, follow up with him or her, and then be ignored. In that sort of situation, it would behoove any good networker to do a little digging and find a way to contact their business target’s assistant. And when I say “do a little digging,” I do mean a little – all you’d have to do is call the office’s main number and ask to speak to Mr. So-And-So’s admin. I’ll bet you will get through.

So once you have found this person, what do you do? I’d suggest telling him or her who you are, where you met their boss, and ask them to take a message. Then be sure to lay it on thick with the “thank you’s,” “I appreciate your help soooo much,” and the like. That might be all it takes to let your message float to the top of the pile!

If your efforts to reach out to your business contact via his or her assistant are successful, then continue your targeted niceness! Call the admin back and thank her again for her help. Then, when you actually set your meeting, be super friendly when you meet the assistant in person. Heck, you can even bring her one of your promotional marketing products as a gift – an engraved cell phone charger is always a good touch!

So, as a businessperson it always pays to be nice. And if you happen to be nice to the person who can get you an appointment with a potential new business contact, then you are definitely doing it right!

What is a Promotional Products Wholesale Supplier?

Gossett_Logo
I spend a lot of time writing about promotional marketing products, but I’ve never really addressed where they come from. Fortunately, Danette has that topic covered in her SalesPromotions.org site. Click here to learn the “birds and bees” of promo items!

3 Networking Articles Worth a Read

photo from www.hercampus.com

photo from www.hercampus.com

We are busy bees over here at Gossett Marketing – promotional items are in high demand after the holidays! Because our networking has been paying off lately in the form of orders, I don’t have too much time to write a new post on the subject. Therefore, I’m going to link you to three articles that are worth taking the time to read. We can all brush up on our networking skills now and again and these well-written pieces are sure to help you to do just that.

The first piece, via Inc.com and written by Christina Desmarais, covers networking for everyone from introverts, extroverts, and the socially awkward. Read it for great tips like setting a time limit to take pressure off of yourself at events.  Click here to check it out.

Whether you always hate it or just occasionally loathe the thought of immersing yourself in a room full of strangers, the tips in this post from Careerealism.com can get you through it.  Read it here.

Lastly, Careerbuilder.com has excellent suggestions for young professionals who are just beginning their networking journey. In my opinion they saved the best piece of advice for last – “recalibrate now and again.”  Decide which tidbit you enjoy the most when you hit this link.

Read these, absorb their wisdom, and go out there and network!

Running Billboard

The Miami Marathon and Half Marathon are coming up. I was an avid runner for years and have done the Half several times. While running is no longer my exercise of choice – I’ll now take The Bar Method over pounding the pavement any day of the week – I do still have a lot of the promotional t-shirts and caps that I received back when it was. Read below and find out just how much free stuff you get when you are a runner! And good luck to all of my friends who are competing in the races!

I started running a couple of years ago.  It’s something that I do a lot; however, I’m usually not particularly fond of it.  What I do enjoy: the free stuff!  When you run in a race, you get tons of goodies!

I recently participated in the ING Miami Half Marathon, and when I went to pick up my race bib I got so much stuff!  I filled my bright orange cinch bag from the University of Miami Health System with a running shirt, a lightweight cap, sports drinks, energy gels, even bandages with a company’s logo!  If I put everything on at once, I’d look like an advertisement for every running product known to mankind, so I just wear one piece at a time and serve as that company’s walking (running) billboard.

If you’d like to see some of my fellow billboards crossing the finish line, watch this YouTube video:

Logos, Logos Everywhere

Plane

Being in the promotional marketing business probably makes me more cognizant of logoed items than most.  But whether or not think about it as often as I do, you are surrounded by branded items.  I was at Miami International Airport last weekend, and I was astonished by the sheer number of logos I saw!  They were on people of all ages and on all sorts of products, including:

–          Bags: Computer Bags, Backpacks, Totes, Cinch Bags, Duffels, Rolling Bags…

–          Caps

–          Toiletry kits

–          Apparel: T-Shirts, Polos, Sweatshirts, Shorts, Sweatpants

–          Cell Phone, iPad, and Kindle Covers

–          Travel Pillows and Blankets

–          Silicone Bracelets

–          Passport Covers

And those were just the items that people had brought with them into the airport – think of the logoed items in cars, homes, and offices!  They’re everywhere and they make a big impact!

Act Like a Star When Networking

Red Carpet The Hollywood award season is in full swing, and I think we can learn a lot of valuable business networking skills from movie stars as they sashay down the red carpet.

Accept Invitations
Often when I see coverage of awards show arrivals I think to myself, “what on earth is she doing there?” because seemingly-random celebrities show up where I do not expect them. Maybe it’s a TV star like Jennifer Aniston who is attending the Oscars instead of the Emmys, or just an actress who has fallen off of my radar. Well, to answer my own question – these celebrities are there because they were invited and because it is excellent exposure.

I occasionally get invitations to networking events that make me scratch my head because they seem so random – I’m not a doctor, so why are you asking me to attend an event for them? I also get so many invites from our chamber of commerce that I’m tempted to ignore them. However, if you are invited and you can make it, you should show up. Just like a celebrity at an improbably event, it’s a great opportunity to be seen and that always makes you – and your company – more memorable when a customer needs your goods or services.

Be Picky
I love the show Ellen, and one of my favorite segments that she does during awards season is she sends normal people to the red carpet to interview celebrities for her. Generally, before they know that the people waving a microphone at them are associated with Ellen, the stars walk right past them and head to Ryan Seacrest and the other well-known entertainment reporters. However, once they realize that these non-celebrity interviewers are associated with a national talk show, they always stop to chat.

While I feel that it’s rude of the stars to walk past people who would like to interview them, I understand that they need to be picky. They have a limited amount of time to walk the red carpet so they want to maximize their publicity. It’s a good lesson for us as we attend networking events: we can afford to be choosy when it comes to the people we talk to. Now, I’m not saying that you should ignore someone who strikes up a conversation if you don’t think you’ll ever work together; however, I do think you should limit the time that you spend with that person and focus on those who really are potential customers. And if he or she gloms onto you, excuse yourself to the restroom or have a friend rescue you from the conversation so that you can really work the room to your advantage.

Go Glam
Whether or not they truly feel that way, movie stars seem to ooze confidence on the red carpet. They get gussied up and strike their best pose and essentially act like they own the place.

Similarly, you might not feel overly confident if you walk into a networking event without knowing a soul there – so fake it! Wear a nice outfit: that always makes me feel more self-assured. Then throw your shoulders back, hold your head up high, and do just what the celebrities do – act like you own the place!

Promo Products Production Times

alarm clock
If you work with a promotional marketing products distributor, then you will learn that he or she can provide you with completely customized items. He or she can also probably deliver some imprinted items to you very quickly – maybe even on the day of your order! However, your distributor most likely cannot get you totally customized items at breakneck speed.

Here’s the thing. If you order a custom promotional item it takes time to create. A supplier will need to create a mold, dye fabric, tweak machinery, have quality control tests run, or take any number of other steps to start producing your customized product. Doing so could take months! And most of this is done in China or other far-flung parts of the world, so delivery adds additional time to the process.

Promotional products that can be delivered super quickly are a bit less involved than their custom counterparts. They arrive at our suppliers’ warehouses completed and when an order comes in, they’re pulled, printed, boxed, and shipped. It’s a fairly straightforward process and you can still get awesome marketing items by going this route.

If the timelines for ordering custom versus stock promotional items seems logical, it is. Clearly starting from scratch and creating something totally unique will be a lengthier process than picking out a t-shirt and silkscreening it with a 1-color logo. However, we quite often get last-minute requests for highly customized items, and I always feel bad telling my customers that we can’t do it. So if you want something really special, be sure to plan ahead and order your promotional materials early!

Marketing in a Multicultural World

photo from fermun.org

photo from fermun.org

Very often I putter around the web looking for blog post ideas. Usually I’ll read an article and inspiration will strike, then I will write a piece of my own. However, sometimes I see something and I know that my opinion on the matter will never be as well thought out or eloquent as the article that I’ve read, and in those situations I’d rather just let my readers go straight to the source. Today happens to be one of those days. I just perused on post on Forbes.com called “5 Strategies To Avoid Embarrassing Marketing Missteps In A Multicultural World,” written by Carol Watson. I cannot top Ms. Watson’s thought processes, so please click here and enjoy her post!

Make 2015 Business Resolutions!

2013 resolutions
Happy 2015 everyone! I love early January because the whole year is a blank slate, so it’s a great time to figure out how to fill the next 12 months, be it from a budgetary, emotional, or even a physical standpoint (who hasn’t resolved to count their pennies, make peace with their in-laws, or start a diet at the dawn of a new year?!). Well, it’s also an excellent opportunity to resolve to make business changes. I, for one, am making 2015 networking resolutions to help me expand my business reach. Here they are:

  • I resolve to network outside of the box. I hit luncheons and after-work chambers of commerce gatherings, but I’m sure that there are networking opportunities that I missed in 2014. That’s why I want to take a computer graphics course – it seems like a great chance to meet individuals who manipulate artwork (and logos!), which means that they might need to put graphics on promotional products. If I can learn something and possibly pick up new customers on the way, that’s a win-win for me! Networking doesn’t have to happen at sanctioned events, so my goal is to keep on thinking outside of the box.
  • I resolve to get creative with my post-networking follow-up. Like most people, when I gather cards from others with whom I hope to do business, I e-mail and call in order to build those relationships. Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn’t. But if I do something creative, then I have a better chance of getting noticed. So I plan on connecting via social media – not just Twitter and LinkedIn, but it will be a nice touch to offer to write a guest post for their blogs. And I think I’ll go back to basics and send a follow-up note via snail mail. It’s another opportunity to get my information physically into another person’s hands, which should make me stand out!
  • I resolve to focus my networking. Sometimes when I go to networking events, I find myself floating from group to group, not meeting anyone who seems, well, promising. So this year, I plan on trying to make a list of the types of people and companies that I think will be good business prospects. Do they need promotional products? I want to meet them! Do they know everyone in town? Hopefully they’ll want to get to know me too, and we can refer business back and forth!

Now, like any new year’s resolutions, I can’t guarantee that these three changes will make a difference, but they’re certainly worth a shot. And if I find that one works better than the others, then I don’t mind changing courses and just following that path. Wish me luck!

What are your 2015 business resolutions? Leave them in the comments below.

Buying Promos? Think Logistics!

photo from www.wanderingearl.com

photo from www.wanderingearl.com

Most of the time when we advise our customers as to the type of promotional products that we think will suit their event, we base our recommendations on the theme. Are you hosting a dinner at the Zoo Miami? Maybe you should give a leopard-print bag as a parting gift. Is your meeting in a conference room of a very corporate-feeling establishment? If so, then I would suggest something business-centered like a padfolio. While choosing promo items that are appropriate is important, there is something else that I think is crucial to consider: that is the products’ portability.

Have you ever been given a take-home gift that you’ve left at an event because it was just too impractical to carry? I know that I have; in fact, I distinctly remember being given a large – heavy – book at some function that I just could not bear to schlep to my car during a hot summer day, so it stayed behind when I went home. That is such a huge miss for the company who furnished that promotional product! They spent money on a logoed item, so the whole point was for me to keep and use it, thus ensuring that I kept their organization top of mind. However, I neither kept it nor do I recall whose gift it was. That, my friends, is poor promotional marketing.

So before spending your marketing bucks on a product that is destined to be abandoned, think about how someone can get it back home with them. For instance, say you are planning a board retreat in a tropical climate. Your first instinct might be to give board members a fluffy, luxurious beach towel with your logo embroidered on it. That is definitely a great gift, but if said board members have to stick it in their already-full suitcases, then it might not make it onto their flights home. In that case, maybe a fabulous pair of imprinted flip flops would be a better choice. Or give them the towel and pair it with a roomy beach bag so that they have the extra space to accommodate the items that they have received.

Promotional marketing does not work if your target audience does not keep the items that you give them, so make sure that your promo products make sense thematically and logistically.

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