It's All in the Presentation
I love when real-life situations point me to meaningful business lessons. I'm a bit neurotic about this stuff, because I have learned so much from life's experiences.
My 14-year-old son has been pounding on me for a drum set. As a music lover and a drummer myself, I'm very supportive of his drumming. He has been using my "classic" 1970s vintage Slingerland maple drums, but as only a kid can, he's selling me on the idea that he needs another set of drums to call his own.
Nevertheless, I have my own agenda. I need him to work for me on web stuff and I'm happy to play bank in exchange for him working for me.
Recently, we went to see what should be some nice Gretch mahogany drums he found on Craigslist. As can be the case, we ended up in a not-so-great part of town at night in front of a funky house with no lights. There was a locked chain-link gate with a cardboard sign that said "YARD SALE" in marking pen. Behind the gate a variety of old dressers and junk were scattered about. It seemed that they have a permanent yard sale going on.
We called the seller on the phone and he came out with one of the drums, which we were able to view using the headlights of our truck. He brought out the other pieces and explained he was missing a mounting bracket. The whole thing just seemed uncomfortable to me. I'd be giving this guy hundreds of dollars for the few drum pieces and I needed to feel good about it.
But I didn't feel good about it. In the end I walked away, explaining that we wanted something a little more put together. The next day we were able to get a more complete set of PDP drums, an entry-level set from Drum Workshop (DW), a high-end drum company, from someone else for much less money—and we did feel good about it.
The reality here is that the Gretch drums are significantly higher-end and much better than the ones we bought. It's just that the "presentation" was so unfavorable I didn't want to do business with the guy. We would have paid more if the presentation was right.
On one of my Sunday morning motorcycle rides before church, I passed by our local swap meet. It was very early. There was a significant line of trucks and vans loaded with "stuff" waiting to get in to set up shop. I'm not a big swap meet guy but I know the vibe. I do confess to being a swap meet vendor in my youth, selling apparel including the ever-popular Mork vest. I'm dating myself, but these were the striped vests stripes Mork wore on the Mork & Mindy TV show. We made good money selling those things!
These recent experiences got me thinking about how companies in our industry present themselves to clients. Are we the cheesy-stuff seller that sends out e-blasts with some special low price on an item? Or do we position ourselves to offer beneficial marketing solutions that will benefit the client? An effective presentation enables us to earn a higher margin. This same is true for both distributors and suppliers. How we present ourselves is critical to how we are perceived.
I've been in this industry a long time as a garment decorator, distributor and a service provider through my industry resource program FreePromoTips. These years of experience have enabled me to see much. From my vantage point, I see that many distributors and many suppliers don't understand that it's all in the presentation. That's a big plus for those who "get it."
Are we effectively presenting the truth that we provide real answers to real marketing challenges? It's something to consider.
I've covered this concept in past FreePromoTips articles. Here's one entitled I Won a Chip Clip and Invested 100K!