"Give Me Some Sugar, Baby!"
I am a year or two into my fourth decade in the promotional products industry. I have a lot of experience and a lot of solutions under my belt. (I also have some pretty sharp slacks under my belt, but this isn't a fashion blog, so don't confuse me with the facts.) The point is ... there are always opportunities to learn, to grow, to approach things fresh and different, to keep yourself energized and productive no matter how long you've been at this branding game.
I had such an opportunity last month. One of the many duties I have the pleasure to perform is as the Editor of The SAAC Times, the monthly newsletter of The Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC). I've been doing this for about three years and enjoy working with the SAAC staff to produce what many consider to be the best regional newsletter in our industry! Last month, I was editing the current issue. It's easy, when editing, to focus on spelling, punctuation, sentence fragments and errors and not to actually PROCESS the information. But one article, about appreciation and giving thanks, was so well done, it really resonated with me. And I learned something. And I made a change in our daily activities here in the HALO Branded Solutions Chatsworth office because of it.
The article talked about thanking clients for orders. All clients and all orders, big or small. Showing sincere appreciation for their business by sending them a HAND-WRITTEN thank-you card in the MAIL with a POSTAGE STAMP on it. Remember those? Not an email or a text. But actually picking up a pen and writing out a card with genuine human feeling and, if you're left-handed, ink-smudges. Further, it talked about thanking suppliers for coming in, buying lunch and hosting a presentation.
I loved that. I immediately put that into effect here in our office. I'm with a large distributor. In most cases, HALO Branded Solutions is one of the top five customers of most any large supplier. They already give us the best pricing, prioritized service, special rebates and other perks. They come in to see us weekly. I have supplier meetings scheduled through the end of this year ... we're already full up to 2014. So, they love Halo, we love them, they come in frequently ... and we rarely think to say "thank you." We give them orders ... lots of orders. They produce them and we pay them and everything is fine ... but we hardly ever say those magic words.
Until that SAAC Times article.
So, now, we send hand-written thank you notes to our Southern California area reps and supplier partners who come by to see us, to make a presentation, to bring in lunch or afternoon treats. I have my office manager Rosalba take care of this, and she does a great job. And now I have valued suppliers THANKING ME for THANKING THEM. I feel good about it and they feel good about it, and the next time I need something extraordinary, I'll most likely get it not because we're Halo but because there is positive energy and appreciation working. And this goes for anyone, large or small.
Sprinkle that sugar. You have the power to make someone's day simply wonderful. Show appreciation, really mean it, and say thank you ALL THE TIME. You'll feel great and positive energy will imbue your every move. Suppliers will be thrilled to hear from you not because of the orders you book, but because they LIKE you.
As my friend Ash says to the Army Of Darkness ... "Give me some sugar, baby!" He was trying to make it with some hot demon hellion, but the message is ... be grateful, communicate it often and your business partners will fall over themselves to help you succeed.
Rick Greene, MAS, is the western regional vice president for HALO Branded Solutions, a past president of SAAC, the editor of The SAAC Times and the author of two novels entitled "Boofalo!" and "Shroom!" available at www.amazon.com. "Shroom!" will soon be made into a major motion picture starring Zach Braff, Angelina Jolie and Danny Trejo, directed by Steven Spielberg. Unfortunately, this is taking place in an alternate universe. To get there, we need to be aboard the Enterprise during an Ion storm. Like that's going to happen!