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Kiwi's Coaching Corner

By Paul Kiewiet

About Paul

Useful tips to help you get from where you are to where you want to go. Paul Kiewiet, MAS is an industry veteran providing business and life coaching, industry consulting and facilitation, and professional development services through BrandKiwi LLC.

Selling Smarter

Rosalie Marcus
Speak Now and Sell More!
Apr 15, 2014

How would you like a powerful marketing strategy that can position you as a leader in your field, put you...

Promotional Fashionista

Colleen McKenna
3 Ways to Style an Imprinted Tee
Apr 15, 2014

Imprinted T-shirts are in with the fashion elite. Here's how they are styling the tees....

Beyond Words

Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+
Adapting Your Style
Apr 14, 2014

Many of us have taken a behavioral style inventory at some point in our careers. While the intent of these...

Guest Blogs

Guest Contributor
The Anatomy of Emotional Marketing
Apr 11, 2014

You've probably heard the old adage: "It's the thought that counts." This could not be any truer, especially in business. When...

The Hot Button

Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
Even Retirees Are Doing It
Apr 9, 2014

Even older clients who grew up with the "one-size-fits-all" adult T-shirt as their world are choosing to buy FASHION TEES....

Not So Technically Speaking

Dale Denham
Go Mobile or Go Home
Apr 8, 2014

I am, without a doubt, the most mobile CIO in the USA. Name one other CIO that is so committed...

Million Dollar Mindset with Greg Muzzillo

Greg Muzzillo
"Free Crab Tomorrow"
Apr 7, 2014

Joe's Crab Shack offers free crab tomorrow. That's because it's never tomorrow. All we have is today. I've talked to...

Compliance Chat

Jeff Jacobs
Promotional Products: When Swag Goes Wrong
Apr 4, 2014

We all love swag. From T-shirts to stress balls, free stuff is fun except when it goes awry. Goldman Sachs...

Jeff's Rant

Jeff Solomon, MAS
Discover the Truth About Bad Companies!
Apr 3, 2014

Responding to a need in our industry, a group of savvy distributors and suppliers have come together to create a...

Quick Thoughts by Cliff Quicksell, MAS

Cliff Quicksell, MAS
6 Reasons Why Marketing Fails and How to Prevent It
Mar 31, 2014

When it comes to marketing, there are no guarantees. A great marketing idea that is poorly implemented or incorrectly presented...

Be Dazzled

Elise Hacking Carr
Go Green or Go Home
Mar 26, 2014

Earth Day is right around the corner. Need ideas for upcoming promotions? Here are three products that scream "I <3...

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Memorable

Rick Greene, MAS
5 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Land New Business
Feb 26, 2014

LinkedIn is a happening place. It is the unsung hero of social platforms and it can indeed be used to...

Mike's Blog

Michael Cornnell
Ads on NBA Jerseys: An Inevitability?
Feb 24, 2014

The NBA may be stating that they're no closer to on-uniform ads than they were in 2011, but that doesn't...


Kyle Richardson
New Year, New Site, New Magazine
Jan 31, 2014

This week, we announced the redesign of our home page and magazine. Let us know what you think about the...

Big Picture Promo

Matt Kaspari, CAS
Meeting Clients Where They Are
Oct 24, 2013

Promotional marketing is at its best when it empowers a client’s brand, meets his or her objectives and fits within...

My Two Cents

Rick Brenner
For Promotional Product Sales, Protect Your Client's Brand
Jun 3, 2013

Whether you are selling to a global brand like Nike or to your local YMCA, no single asset is more...

Friday Sales-thought of the Week!

Dale Limes, MAS
Reverse Engineer Your Sales Success
Mar 18, 2013

Steven Covey reminds us that when setting goals ... "Start with the end in mind." That is to visualize the...

Editor's Notes

Nichole Stella
The Perfect Match
Mar 5, 2013

The Super Bowl has also become the Ad Bowl, where brands duke it out to see who has the funniest,...

The Sales Challenge

Bill Farquharson
Think and Succeed
May 29, 2012

What would happen if you woke up in the morning and your first thought was, "I am never going to...

Creating More Purposeful Sales Conversations

Lisa Leitch, CSP, MAS
Under 100 Days to Achieve 2011 Goals
Oct 20, 2011

It's hard to believe, but there are fewer than 100 days left to achieve 2011 goals! Are you on track...

How Sharp is Your Axe?


Have you ever attended a PGA golf event, an NBA basketball game or any other professional sporting event? If you have, you may have witnessed the continuous “sharpening of the axe” that the best of the best undertake. At a major golf tournament, you will see your favorite players on the range or on the practice green not only hours before their tee time, but often after their round is finished and the sun slips down over the horizon.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Give me six hours to cut down a tree and I’ll spend the first four hours sharpening my axe.” Your axe is the problem-solving ability you bring to your clients. If you are still doing the same things that you were doing five years ago and watching your personal productivity decline, you’ve probably got a pretty dull axe.

Management guru Peter F. Drucker said, “There is nothing so useless as doing efficiently that which should not be done at all.” Many of us have become very efficient at keeping our Facebook status up-to-date but haven’t yet learned how to use social media as a means of positioning ourselves. We may be well-versed on “what’s new?” in terms of product but don’t have a clue on how to use promotional products to solve organizational problems.

Make 2013 your year to invest. Invest in yourself. Have the courage to try some new ways of sharpening your axe. (Remember: Your axe is your ability to solve problems). Don’t just wait for your clients to ask you for stuff. Study their organization and proactively suggest solutions to problems and suggest more efficient ways to achieve results. When you try new things, it will be uncomfortable at first. Be ready for that and sharpen your axe anyway.

Lincoln’s quote suggests spending two thirds of your time in preparation and one third on actually doing. Those making millions of dollars in the world of sports probably spend up to ninety percent of their time in preparation and practice. We can learn from them if we want to earn like them.

1. Know Your Stuff.
Get very good at what you do. If you want to be a top earner, you’ll need to become world class at what you do. No one can snooze their way to the top in this business. Knowing your stuff takes a lot of study, a lot of hard work. It means a commitment.With as many problems that organizations have, why not pick one or two and become an expert in a narrow area of need? Be an inch wide and a mile deep.

2. Keep Learning.
If good is good enough, ignore this advice. But if you want to be the best, if you want to aspire to greatness, develop an appetite for continuous learning. Learn to love learning because it never, ever ends. Just when you think you got it, it changes, it morphs, it moves. The only way to bring real, innovative ideas to your customers is to be continuously learning. That means going to trade shows early for the education. It means asking a lot of questions. It means taking or auditing classes.Take time for webinars. Sharpen your axe.

3. Learn from the Best.
Imagine that you could bring your clubs to that PGA tournament and hang out with the pros as they practice their craft. Or you could hit batting practice with Derek Jeter. Well, in your chosen profession, you can.When you volunteer at your regional association level or when you raise your hand at a PPAI event, or when you sit in a professional development session at an ASI Show or sit in on a webinar — when you do those things, you find yourself elbow to elbow with the best of the best. With million-dollar producers, with the CEOs of multi-million dollar companies, with industry Hall of Famers. You’ll find them exchanging business cards with you and generously sharing their success secrets.

Make this the year that you commit to sharpening your axe and only doing efficiently the important things to grow your value.


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