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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.

Million Dollar Mindset with Greg Muzzillo

Greg Muzzillo
'Can't' Is a Four-letter Word
Oct 5, 2015

Most of us learned the four-letter words we shouldn’t say when we were in school. We heard the words in...

Ask the Accountant

Harriet Gatter
Do I Have to Collect Sales Tax for Out-of-state Sales?
Oct 2, 2015

Question: Do I have to collect sales tax for out-of-state sales? It depends, and it's complicated. State governments would like...

Jeff's Rant

Jeff Solomon, MAS
What Can We Learn from The Artist Formerly Known as Prince?
Oct 1, 2015

Since I recently wrote a commentary titled 'Are You Too Old To Rock,' I thought I would share another thought from the...

Lights, Camera, Promotion!

Brittany Hahn
The Mayor of Funkytown
Sep 23, 2015

Each Power Box has its own personality. Power Box 1 is really into dubstep music. He raves hard all weekend long. On...

Not So Technically Speaking

Dale Denham
Think About What You Just Did
Sep 22, 2015

My son did something wrong, and I want him to learn so he doesn't repeat the same mistake. I hear...

Guest Blogs

Guest Contributor
Ask the Accountant
Jul 24, 2015

Question: I am starting out as an ad specialty distributor. Is it better to set up my books on a...

Selling Smarter

Rosalie Marcus
Gotta Love These Supplier Best Practices
Sep 1, 2015

I’ve been in the promotional products industry for more than 25 years, both selling products and programs, and coaching and...

Be Bold, Be Different, Be Memorable

Rick Greene, MAS
A Cycle Of Engagement
Jun 10, 2015

In 2015, the journey of the promotional products professional in shifting prospects to clients is more challenging than ever. With...

Beyond Words

Rebecca Kollmann, MAS+
Swing All the Way Through
Apr 20, 2015

From time to time, I’ve written about a situation involving one of my kids, and after observing something recently, it’s...

Compliance Chat

Jeff Jacobs
The Exact Cause Was Never Determined
Apr 3, 2015

If you read what normally is in this space, you've seen a lot about the protocol it takes to manufacture...

Quick Thoughts by Cliff Quicksell, MAS

Cliff Quicksell, MAS
Measure the ROI at Trade Shows (Using the Right Mix of Creative and Promotional Products)
Dec 30, 2014

Every year more and more products are being introduced into the market, and after a while it all looks 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,...


Kyle Richardson
The Best Laid Plans
Jul 11, 2014

Why it's always smart to keep a planner with your schedule and important documents, and why it's never smart to...

Promotional Fashionista

Colleen McKenna
5 Soccer Promotions for After the World Cup
Jul 1, 2014

Studies show that Americans prefer soccer to NASCAR. Here are five items to sell to soccer fans....

Mike's Blog

Michael Cornnell
Interview with Jason Black, CEO of Top Distributor Boundless Network
May 19, 2014

Ranking #19 on the Top 50 List, Black shares his thoughts on the future of the industry and what has...

The Hot Button

Mary Ellen Sokalski, MAS
"How It's Made" Can Make You More
Jun 11, 2014

The show "How Its Made" is celebrating its 22nd season on television. How can we be a hit, season after season,...

Be Dazzled

Elise Hacking Carr
Got Control Issues?
May 14, 2014

Does chaos define you? How you respond to certain situations says a lot about your character. Here are five quotes...

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...

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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