Networking Season Is Coming

It’s basically the end of the summer. Seriously, it’s almost August and everyone is already starting to talk about back to school and even Christmas plans! It’s also the time that many business organizations re-start their networking events in earnest. Over the summer months there are limited events, come September you could have multiple events a night.

So how do you choose what’s the best use of your time?

Of course, you probably have your core groups you like to interact with, but maybe it’s time to expand that sphere and venture

Seek out new people and introduce yourself

Seek out new people and introduce yourself

out to network with some new industries. If you’re like me and my sales staff we utilize these networking events to expand our business development efforts. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve struck up a conversation with someone at an event and it’s ultimately resulted in us doing business together.

I admit, I like going to events where I know people. It’s comfortable. But it’s not always the best use of my time. While it may be good to re-connect with some clients at these events, many times I might just end up schmoozing with friends. Fun, yes, productive, no.

So, picking new events and getting out of my comfort zone is one of my goals for this fall. When going to those types of events I make myself act as if I’m one of the hosts. By that I mean, I walk up to people that are standing alone looking lost and introduce myself. They are relieved to be talking to someone and I’ve made some great contacts that way.

I also look for events that may be out of my usual business area. Miami is big. We have many business organizations all over town, so I actually plan on hitting some of the events in a growing business area of town. I am sure I will know a few people and of course I will seek them out at the events and ask them to introduce me around. Another great tool to work the room.

No matter what, plan to get a bit more this fall. We all recognize business is moving again, but if you don’t get out and be seen and keep your pipeline full, you may just get left behind.

Hope to see you at an event soon!

Happy Halloween!

I have to admit that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Everyone is in a festive mood. But I really like Halloween the most because it’s my birthday! Yep, I was born on October 31. A great day too because as a child I used to pretend that everyone was celebrating my birthday! Now I’m just happy that everyone is in a good mood on my birthday.

Pumpkin Bag

Pumpkin Bag

Halloween is also a time of year that many companies are participating in many community events. And of course they want to

give something to children and of course it should have the company logo on it. We work with many large companies that celebrate the holiday every year with bags or candy or other scary items. Of course, we all want the kids to have a safe time out there playing a ghost or gobblin.

So, there are many option that can help you light up the night, literally, for instance; glow in the dark bags, reflector stickers

Reflector BOO Zipper Pull

Reflector BOO Zipper Pull

orzipper pulls, light up sticks, flashlights and even light up ice cubes (in orange of course!). I particularly like these for the adults attending those night time trick or treating community events. Think about all the glowing cups!

Of course there are also many different types of bags for all the candy collected: paper, plastic, pumpkin shaped, even Jack-o-Lantern cinch bags!

Now, it is Halloween so the kids are really looking for candy. We want it to be safe too so you can have just about any type individually wrapped with your logo (think chocolate bar) or in a cellophane baggy (think candy corn), even popcorn in your company colors!

All are a great way to keep your company name in front of the community and show that you are a good neighbor.

So, let us know if we can help now before the date is upon us. Boo!

Giving Back

I don’t know about you but I think most everyone should give back to their community in one way shape or form. As most of you know, I’m very involved in the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce, on the Board, a Trustee, head of a committee that has three task forces and more. When I first started my business I was involved with even more organizations and I have to admit I burned myself out. Not that I didn’t find it all gratifying, I just found that I was exhausting myself. So I finally learned to say no.

That is until last week. A very dear friend asked me to chair an upcoming fundraising event. I didn’t say yes immediately. She saw the major hesitation in my eyes and maybe my hand tremble at the thought of letting her and the organization down if I accepted. But I did accept. Why?

If you’re in Florida, you may have heard of them, PACE Center for Girls. And they truly do save girls lives. I was the person thatPACE Logodid the “ask” last year at her fundraiser. Before I got up to the microphone two of the girls in program read their stories. They talked about how they had learned to have courage, patience and respect for themselves. They talked about how they now might have a future. Because you see these girls (ages 11-17) have had difficult starts to their lives, abuse, trafficking and may have had brushes with the juvenile justice system.

Their stories brought tears to my eyes literally. And as I got up to speak I realized I was all choked up. So, I stood in front of these 200 people and told them that there was nothing more I could say if those two girls stories hadn’t touched their hearts enough to maybe pull out their check books.

Amazingly I had people come up to me afterwards and said they were always planning to give but after I got all choked up they felt they should give more. So, when I was asked to actually chair the event this year, I thought back to those stories and realized the only answer I could give was yes.

I hope that everyone has found that organization that touches their heart, because you get back so much more than you give.

Are you Ready for Football?

This past weekend my boyfriend and I reviewed the fall calendar to mark all the days we’ll be hosting a tailgating party at University of Miami Football games. Yes, the season is right around the corner. And I admit we like to be “fan” decorated. We have the tent, a flag, table, cooler, tumblers and chairs all with the University logo.

But with all that, we still aren’t considered to be that logo’d!  There are those that have logo’d grills, bars, tailgates, hitches, signs

Tailgate in Style!

Tailgate in Style!

on their cars, games and so much more . There are so many ways you can show your team spirit (yes, I have a special cap I wear with my team color attire). We do many items for clients that are sponsoring a game, having an event at a game or just enhancing team spirit for their employees.

One of my favorite’s at the early games are the hand fans (remember, we are in Miami and while the north may be enjoying some fall cool weather – it’s still hot here in September). I try and grab a couple that first game so I have them for the rest of the season.

Unfortunately, it does rain sometimes so many companies are ready with rain poncho’s with the company logo and the teams so you can still be the “hardy” fan and stay for the game. Seat cushions are great as well because those seats can be hard after a while or hot!

Now of course one of the biggest items is the clear tote bags. We talked about them last year and if you’ve been to a sporting event in the last 12 months then you know you can only take in a clear tote of a certain size. Many companies last year were scrambling trying to get them and most of the manufacturers were caught off guard and were out of stock. There are plenty now, but don’t wait too long to order yours!

Of course, there are also the really extreme fans with inflatable mascot’s, pools, cooler chairs and of course temporary tattoos and beads. So, no matter your team or your spirit, we can help you make sure your brand stands out for this season!

Why Be Involved

I met someone today via phone that came through an introduction by the Greater Miami Chamber of Commerce. We have very similar businesses and yet quite different. We came away from the conversation agreeing that we will complement each other’s services quite nicely and we expect to be doing business together in the near future. That’s networking at it’s finest!

However, in the course of our conversation she asked an interesting question. Why are you so involved at the Greater Miami Chamber? And it gave me pause because there isn’t just one answer. One, I do like to give back to my committee and being a business person it fits that I can help other businesses with their development. Secondly, I have gotten a lot of business from my membership. But it’s more than that. I enjoy it. I enjoy meeting new people and introducing them to others.

Yes, I spend a good deal of volunteer time with the Greater Miami Chamber. I am on the Board of Directors, a Trustee member, Chair of Business Excellence (that overseas three important task forces), an Ambassador and on the membership committee. Whew. That is a lot! But to me it is time well spent.networking

For one, I enjoy the camaraderie of the membership. I’ve met some amazing and inspiring people. Many of them have become friends. I enjoy the interaction with other business people. I enjoy learning from them and from the programs the Chamber puts together. I like staying well informed about my community.

We talked about the time spent. Yes, at times it can be quite a bit and at times it can be overwhelming to me. But in the long run I get so much more out of it. My business benefits from it and so do I.

If you are in the South Florida area and want to check it out, let me know. I’d be happy to help. If not, I encourage you to get involved with your local Chamber of Commerce. And once there and involved, don’t forget to ask for the business!!

Effective Trade Show Tactics

For many industries the fall is Trade Show season. I’ve exhibited at many trade shows and open houses over the years and some have definitely been more successful than others.

For me, early planning for the show was a big component of the success. I like to know who will be attending and try to tailor our booth presentation and gifts accordingly. Some shows will actually give you a list of the attendees ahead of time so you can send them an invitation to come to your booth. Of course, you need to be prepared with a hook. Bring this card for a free gift for instance.

And “that” free gift can be the key to successful traffic to your booth. You don’t want to be giving out something that is really cheap looking; you want something that will make people stop and talk to you.

Branded Items Key for Sucessful Show

Branded Items Key for Sucessful Show

Of course, if your budget allows, we like to recommend you have levels of gifts to give out. Something for everyone, then a slightly nicer item for a new potential prospect and then an even nicer item for those that actually talk to you and now seem like a qualified prospect. Think, Good, Better, Best! It works.

I’ve attended shows where people were standing in line to talk to an exhibitor so they could get the better or best gift. Of course, you may waste some time, but you may also leave with some great new “hot” prospects.

There are several schools of thought on the actual type of gift. No matter what you want it to represent your brand. I’ve never understood people that would give away an item and not tie into their company or promotion. We do have levels of gifts. Our recent primary gift was a ruler that was also a mini office that included post-its and paper clips inside. On the outside is our logo with the tagline “Where Effective Promotions Rule”. Our “better” item is a journal book with pen. It’s neon orange and our logo looks like it’s glowing. Then our “best” item is a USB. All are always appreciated and I can definitely point to new business received as a result.

Are You Nice?

I have to say that we here at Gossett Marketing like to think of ourselves as nice. Really. To be perfectly honest, I try to make that part of our mantra. Maybe it’s because I’m a southern girl and was brought up that way, but I do believe you get more with honey than vinegar.

Nice WINS!

Nice WINS!

I am constantly amazed that clients and vendor partners mention how “nice” we are and how they enjoy coming to see us. That we are so responsive we are and seem like we want to help. I’m not saying this to toot our own horn. I do believe we always have room to improve. As a matter of fact, we have a new employee and she came to us from the world of Disney. That company is known for their outstanding customer service. And it’s true. On her first day answering the phone when I called in I was so impressed with how I was greeted. It showed me once again that we can take our “nice” to yet another level.

And it made me realize that maybe we need to start a “nice” campaign. I know I am guilty sometimes of trying to quickstep in front of someone with a cart full of groceries at the check-out line. When what’s my hurry, I can’t wait 5 extra minutes?

I do believe we all need to take a breath and slow down. I think we’d be nicer and happier if we did. I do find myself getting agitated when I drive in a hurry. In hindsight I probably would only save a minute or two, but at the time it seemed imperative I make it to the head of the pack.

I think we get so distracted with that long to do list we all have, multi-tasking beyond rationale that nice gets lost in the shuffle. If we are nicer and think about the other person more I think we will reap some tremendous benefits. If we’re not in such a rush maybe we’ll make a new business contact or friend.

So, as we slow down this summer, maybe we can take that slower process with us into the fall and then maybe we will all be nicer and get more accomplished as a result. Take a moment and re-group and look at your office environment – are you all considered “nice?”

Think Pink!

Yes, I do mean let’s think Pink in July. As fast as the year is going by the upcoming Breast Cancer Awareness month promotions for October will be here before we know it. Last year we had a number of clients call us at the end of September looking for pink items for programs they were initiating during October. Unfortunately all the manufacturers were sold out. Yes, sold out. It happens more often than you can imagine.

I know how difficult it is for many to think ahead, especially in this day and age of instant gratification but the reality is that there are limits to what is available. Most of the items are made overseas and shipped to the United States and decorated locally. Our manufacturer partners try to judge the level of need and order accordingly. Some items are more popular than others obviously so if you don’t plan ahead you may not get what you really want and need for your promotion.

Travel Tumblers Are Always on the Go

Travel Tumblers Are Always on the Go

Pink Accents Work Too!

Pink Accents Work Too!

So, what’s hot (pink!) this year? Of course for walks shirts and caps are always a hit, but don’t forget shoelaces and lanyards too. Also drinkware is a great long term reminder with the various tumblers, cups and travel mugs available. And let’s not forget bags. Pens are always useful and bags are one of the longest kept and seen promotional items available (behind a shirt of course). That’s why last year every pink bag that I searched for in early October was SOLD OUT! And given the fall is also football season you may want to try one of the clear NFL approved bags that has pink trim!

So during the summer slowdown, maybe you can carve out some time to think about the best say to remind everyone how important Breast Cancer Awareness is this October. And of course, let us know how we can help!

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