Thank Those Who Refer You

If you’ve ever read this section of our blog before, then you probably know that the Gossett Marketing team is very involved with networking. We do so through our local chamber of commerce, running and golf groups, and more recently via Twitter and other online channels. You get it: we’re out there, we network, and we want you to do the same! So what if you are already a networking pro? How can we help you take it further?

Well, if you are networking successfully then certainly you are getting referrals. You’ve met so many business contacts through your efforts and you have made such a great impression on them that they want to help you grow. I sincerely hope that this is the case, and if it is, then kudos to you! Other than assisting the individuals and companies to whom you’ve been referred, what do you do when you’ve received a glowing recommendation from a business contact? One thing that I like to do is to say thank you with a hand written note and a gift – nothing extravagant, just a token of appreciation that makes me stand apart from the pack.

One gift that I’m loving right now is a nice metal pen inscribed with my referrer’s name. Sure, you can give them something that is imprinted with your company’s logo, but personalizing the pen helps to ensure that they do not lose it, plus it shows that you took the time to think about them – you’re not just giving out a promotional product that is taking up space in your gift closet.

If you know your referrer very well, then you can give him or her something more personal. Does he enjoy wine? Then what about a pretty corkscrew or bottle stopper? Or if she’s a golfer, then a ball marker would come in handy. Maybe she talks about her dog all of the time – get Fido a colorful bandana! The world is your oyster, I’d just be sure to have any of these items imprinted with your company’s name to keep you top of mind.

If an individual takes the time to refer you and your services to his or her business contact, then certainly he or she deserves a thank you. If a thank you and a smile go far, then think about how much your referrer will appreciate a thank you and a gift! And every time they use that present, you and your company will come to mind.

referral

July 4th Promotional Products

Apron

The 4th of July is coming up. Of course it is a day in which we all celebrate the birth of our nation, but it can also be a day to celebrate your brand! Give your customers and employees one (or more) of the promotional products listed below – they’re perfect on the 4th and all summer long:

Caps: protect your customers’ skin with an embroidered cap.
– Beach Towels: your logo can be huge on these!
– Sunglasses: it’s always great to have an extra pair.
– Coolers: ideal for picnics or days at the beach.
– BBQ Tools: yes, you can put your logo on these too! Great for, well, barbecues!
– Hand Fan: they’re inexpensive and have a large imprint area.
– Sunblock: put your logo on high quality sunblock, something everyone should use.
– Matches and Lighters: your employees have to light their grill and sparklers.
– Koozies: they work for beer or soft drinks.

If you’d like some additional ideas, contact the Gossett Marketing team! Have a safe and happy Independence Day!

And to get you excited about the holiday, watch this amazing fireworks display on YouTube:

Disconnect to Connect at Networking Events

Smart Phones We live in a very digitally connected world. I get it, we all have smart phones that allow us to talk, text, check e-mails, browse the web, post to Facebook, Tweet – it’s a huge amount of technology in the palms of our hands. I’m not going to lie, I’m addicted to my iPhone and find myself reaching for it more often than I should, and at times when I probably shouldn’t; however, there are certain times when I feel like playing on my phone is vastly inappropriate. One such time is at networking events.

I was at a networking breakfast not too long ago where a speaker was on the podium for far too long. I’ll admit that he was boring and that the information that he presented wasn’t groundbreaking, but I was there, and I guess my mom raised me right because I tried to give him my undivided attention. It’s the golden rule – treat others as you would like to be treated – and if I was giving a boring speech at the Coral Gables Chamber of Commerce, then I’d want those in attendance to pay attention to what I was saying! Well, I guess that most of the attendees missed that lesson because the vast majority were bowed over the smartphones that they had quasi-concealed in their laps.

Once the presentation had concluded, we had the opportunity to continue networking with those around us and I have to say that I really wasn’t interested in connecting with the people who had ignored the speaker. My first impression of them was that they were rude and self-important – too good to spend 20 minutes away from their smart phones and pay attention (or fake paying attention) to the gentleman who was presenting to the organization – so why would they bother with the likes of me? And, more importantly, why would anyone from the Gossett Marketing team want to deal with them?

I know, I know, I’m on a soap box ranting about technology to which I freely admitted I’m addicted. I’ll get off in a second, but I just want to hammer home my point. There is a time and a place for everything, and a networking event is neither the time nor the place for your smart phone! Use these events as an opportunity to connect with other attendees – and to disconnect from the digital world for an hour.

3 Tips to Foster Business Relationships

networking relationships

Of course the reason that any of us attend networking events is to build new business relationships. It’s easy to meet people at events, but it’s not necessarily so simple to turn those meetings into productive connections. It takes time and a good amount of follow-up to make yourself known and memorable to the people that you meet at an event, and even if you do put in the effort, there is certainly no guarantee that anything will come of it. So I’ve taken a poll of the Gossett Marketing team to see how this group of successful (and modest!) networkers does it. Here are 3 simple tips to foster the business relationships that begin at networking events.

  1. Have a reason to follow up with someone. After an event, it’s tempting to send out a generic “it was nice to meet you today” e-mail to everyone whose business card you received. Resist the urge! Instead, send a personal note that brings up the topics that you discussed. For instance, if you spoke with someone about a problem they are having, try presenting a solution in your e-mail. Not only will you look like a useful contact to have, but you will open up a dialogue that will help your relationship grow.
  2. Bolster your budding business association through social media. As Gossett Marketing’s blogger, I’m particularly fond of this idea – when I meet people in the real world, I like to then connect with them on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn because I find that it is a more casual, open way to connect than with them than by leaving stiff telephone messages. It’s amazing how quickly you can bond with someone via 140 word tweets!
  3. When all else fails, resort to snail mail. I think that everyone has been rejected when trying to build a business relationship with a new contact. You call, you e-mail, you tweet – all to no avail. At some point you have to throw in the towel (or else risk looking like a stalker). Before you do that, though, take the time to write the object of your business affection a quick note and mail it to him or her. Be sure to include your card, and just be honest about it. Say that you understand that he or she is busy, but that you wanted them to have your information. Everyone likes to get mail, so you know that he or she will read it, and perhaps it will move them to give you a call. If not, then at least they will have seen your name and company logo again – every bit of exposure counts.

I recognize that we aren’t reinventing the wheel with these tips, but sometimes networking – or the time spent following up after an event – can be frustrating. Rather than give up, try some different approaches. You never know, they could help you build new business relationships that could be profitable to both parties.

Emergency Promotional Products

Hurricane Andrew Ahhh, summer in Miami! While the whole Gossett Marketing team loves living here, summertime is definitely not South Florida’s best season, and we only have the weather to blame. Heat, humidity, daily rainstorms, plus the threat of hurricanes…aren’t we lucky?!

We were actually briefly threatened with a tropical storm recently. It didn’t amount to anything, but it was a good chance to make sure our “hurricane kits” were ready to go. If you do not live in the tropics, you might not be familiar with such a kit – it’s a stash of water, non-perishable food, flashlights, batteries, etc. that are necessary in the event of a major storm. I looked through mine during our brief flirtation with inclement weather, and I was amazed by how many promotional products have made their way in! I have copies of important documents (insurance records and whatnot) in a plastic sleeve from Suntrust. One of my flashlights was a gift with purchase from Ace Hardware. My cat’s supplies were in a bag that included a pet-preparedness checklist from her vet. And I had a first aid kit from the University of Miami.

I hope that I don’t have to utilize my kit this year, but if a big storm comes, I’m very happy to have it. And I’m grateful that I haven’t had to purchase all of my supplies. The hurricane-preparedness items that I’ve received from various companies give their brand exposure every time my family and I look at them, plus they’re quite handy to me!

Even if your company isn’t in hurricane country, surely your customers must need some sort of emergency kit. Maybe they are on the west coast and face earthquakes. Or they’re in the northeast and they need to be prepared for another “snowpocalypse.” No matter where they are, your giveaways can help ready them for an emergency – and your logo will get exposure to boot!

Seasonal Sales Boost Business

photo from shopcoralgables.com

photo from shopcoralgables.com

Coral Gables Restaurant Week is starting soon. It is an annual, city-wide dining event where participating restaurants offer 3 course prix fixe menus at a reduced rate.

Summer is a slow time in South Florida. It’s hot and muggy, so there are fewer tourists, and even locals try to leave town as often as possible. That’s why Restaurant Week is a terrific promotion for everyone involved: restaurants attract customers, and diners get a fabulous and inexpensive dining experience. Plus, I’ll bet some diners will like their meals so much that they’ll become regular patrons of a new dining establishment.

Seasonal promotions are a great tactic. We give our customers great pricing on promotional products year-round, but this time of year we like to give special deals on fun outdoor items – caps, sunscreen, and beach towels all come to mind. Our customers love these deals, and they’re great for business. Does your company do any special, seasonal sales? If so, tell us about them in the comments below.

The Gossett Marketing team is going to celebrate Gables Restaurant Week with a trip to Anacapri on Ponce tonight – yum!

Inexpensive Marketing at the Airport

Baggage Carousel I recently went out of town and ended up checking my bag. Upon my return to Miami International Airport, I had to wait for quite some time for my bag; as I stood by the baggage carousel I was surprised by how many people pulled suitcases off to check the luggage tag then threw the bags back onto the belt upon discovering that they weren’t theirs. Almost all luggage looks similar – who hasn’t owned a black, rectangular suitcase in their lifetime? – so I was shocked that the people who were pulling bags to see who owned them had done nothing to differentiate their belongings.

Then, on the opposite end of the spectrum were the individuals who spotted their bags as soon as they came out of the tunnel! Those were the people who did make their bags distinct. Many tied a colorful ribbon to their cases, some had different looking bags (mine is silver, which stands out), and many had noticeable luggage tags or handle wraps attached to them. Being a part of the Gossett Marketing team means that I have an eagle eye for promotional products, so I checked out all of those luggage tags and wraps, and I noticed that the vast majority of them were imprinted with a company’s logo.

One tag that stood out in particular was translucent and when it was jostled too hard, lights began to blink around the edges. It was bright blue and had a bold American Express Travel imprint, and when those lights started to flicker it got its owner’s attention right away. It was probably a gift that she received when she booked a trip with the company – a $2.00 giveaway that is still giving them brand-building exposure whenever she travels. That’s inexpensive marketing that could potentially introduce their logo to an international audience, as well as reminding their customer (the bag/bag tag’s owner) to use the company to book her next trip!

Whether or not yours is a travel-related company, consider giving away promotional products like luggage tags or handle wraps. People need help spotting their suitcases, and for just a few dollars you can assist them. In doing so, you will also enhance your marketing whenever the recipient travels!

What Not to Do After a Networking Event

robot
I write a lot about networking – heck our blog has a whole category dedicated to it – so I always wonder if our readers think that the Gossett Marketing team is obsessed with building our business network. In a word: yes. Networking takes a lot of our time, effort, and dedication, but we firmly believe that it’s worth the endeavor, as it helps us grown in our community and beyond. If you’re not already a dedicated networker, then it’s time to start so that you can expand your business’s reach (and ultimately its profitability).

Regardless as to whether you’re new to business networking or if it’s old hat to you, I think everyone can brush up on networking etiquette. Last week I discussed what not to do during an event, so this week I’m focusing on what not to do afterwards. Here we go…

1. Nothing – You went to a networking event, met new people, and took their business cards back to work with you. Don’t just leave that contact information on your desk, never to be viewed again; rather, follow up with the people you met! Send a quick e-mail, invite them to connect on LinkedIn, give them a call, or even tweet them. Reinforce the bond you made at the networking event so that you can begin to forge a real relationship.
2. Too Much – On the opposite end of the spectrum from those who do nothing post-event are those who do too much. These are the folks who send an e-mail, then give the recipient a call an hour later just to be sure that they’d gotten it. And who not only connect on LinkedIn but start filling your Twitter feed and continually comment on your blog posts. These people mean well, but it’s overwhelming and, well, feels a bit stalker-ish. Ultimately, this strategy backfires, as the person with whom they are so desperately trying to bond begins to avoid the avid follow-upper!
3. Be a Robot – Now that you know the right amount of follow up, be sure that you’re doing the right kind. Often after networking with someone I, get a form e-mail saying things like “it was nice to meet you at the recent Chamber of Commerce event.” What event? What did we talk about? Do I really want to build a relationship with someone who can’t take the time to write a personalized e-mail? Absolutely not! But if I get an e-mail saying something like, “it was wonderful to sit with you at lunch yesterday, I enjoyed learning about the promotional products industry…” then chances are I will respond to the sender. He has taken the time to absorb our discussion and write me a personal e-mail, which shows me that his networking effort was genuine – I’m happy to consider someone like that a part of my network!

What it all boils down to is that you need to behave like a normal human being both before and after a networking event. I know that sounds strange, but treat others as you’d like to be treated, don’t bother them, but also don’t ignore them, and connect with them. That’s really what it takes to successfully network!

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

photo from miamism.com

photo from miamism.com

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Gossett Marketing team!

We are taking a couple of weeks off from the blog in order to celebrate the holidays. See you again in 2014!

Don’t Let the Holidays Sneak Up On You

photo from singlemindedwomen.com

photo from singlemindedwomen.com

It pains me to ask this, but have you started planning for the holidays yet? Because although right now it seems like they’re a long ways off, they really aren’t! It is time to start preparing. Here are three things to think about.

  1. The first thing to consider for the holidays is whether you are going to “Season’s Greetings” cards to your customers. While many corporations have gone green and turned to holiday e-cards, I have to say that I like to both send and receive snail mail. That’s what the Gossett Marketing team does because we think that they are more likely to be opened than e-mail. Plus, if you send something pretty or interesting enough, then the recipient might display it in his or her office – last year we sent seed paper cards, which could be planted after the holiday, and many customers still have them on their bulletin boards.
  2. After cards it’s time to figure out what kind of gifts you will be giving. As a promotional products distributor, I have to say that I think something logoed is the way to go – and trust me when I say that imprinted gifts do not need to be tacky. A good customer might like a high-end computer bag with a subtle, tone-on-tone logo or possibly a set of Riedel wine glasses with an engraved image on the base. And will you give your employees anything? Even if you decide to go with a bonus rather than a gift-gift, why not present it in a nice padfolio that they can use in the upcoming year? With your logo debossed on the cover, it is sure to gain attention wherever they take it!
  3. Lastly, how are you going to package the gifts that you give? I love custom-printed wrapping paper and ribbon foil-stamped with a logo because it makes still another impression on the recipient. But if you don’t have the time or budget for specialty gift wrap, then at least make sure that what you do use to wrap your gifts is in your company color. If I give my customers a holiday gift, you can be sure that it will be packaged in hot pink to reflect that of our logo! It might not seem very “Holiday” but it will scream “Gossett Marketing,” which is what I, and any corporate gift giver, really want after all.

Don’t let the holidays sneak up on you – take a moment to consider my three point list and get going!

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