What Opportunities Are You Missing?
I am writing this piece on a business trip like I've never taken before. In the past, I've traveled a bit, presenting education sessions at trade shows and regional associations. I've attended amazing conferences, like the PPAI North American Leadership Conference. This year, I'm attending the ASI Power Summit. The relationships that are nurtured and the knowledge that is gained from attending events like these take professional development to a new level.
I find travel grueling, and continue to be amazed by our industry's road warriors who spend so much time in hotels and on planes. My thoughts on this are in the piece, "A Salute to Our Industry's Heroes." Love it or hate it, travel is how relationships are nurtured and business gets done.
I started this commentary on a red-eye flight from Los Angeles to Charlotte, N.C. to visit AdCapitol, a Made-in-the-U.S. supplier I am working with on our new SuccessFit 4 Life! program. It has have developed a revolutionary moisture management fabric that is like nothing on the market.
You have the opportunity to get one of these amazing Smart Tiers shirts and more cool stuff by supporting the Promotional Products Education Foundation (PPEF) with our SuccessFit at the PPAI Expo, benefitting the PPEF program. Check out this real-world product review in 100-degree heat. Learn more about SuccessFit 4 Life! at the Expo here.
From my own personal wellness journey, my team and I have created SuccessFit 4 Life! There is an opportunity for a select group of distributors to offer our turnkey SuccessFit 4 Life! program to clients. Health and wellness programs are hot. Check out what Blue Cross did using promotional products to support its brand in this Boston Globe article. The beauty of what we have created is that distributors are not just selling swag—they are selling a program with tangible life-changing benefits.
This is so important to me that I left the comfort of my home for a week and took a trip to expand the SuccessFit 4 Life! program and meet with some colleagues that are consulting with me on the project. If you would like to be considered for this program, let me know.
I heard some great music on this week-long trip. From a concert at the classic Ryman Auditorium to the reunion of The First Edition—a band from the '70s that my good friends were in. Downtown Nashville is packed with honky-tonks showcasing some awesome musicians who have yet to "make it." Yelp directed me to a small place that was clearly not too well-known, but the food was great.
The guitar player positioned behind the bar was talented and very entertaining. Because I came in early, I was the only person in the place. The musician started a conversation with me and was a good sport when I threw him a bit by requesting a song by a lesser-known Nashville group Blackhawk. They had great harmonies as shown in this video.
The place filled up and everyone was having a good time. He was engaging the customers, meeting their needs and seemingly was going to have a successful evening. I was generous at his tip jar and others followed suit.
Killing time at the airport on the way home, I hung out in the airport version of Tootsies, a classic music lounge in Nashville. When I arrived, again the musician on stage had it going on. The place was jumping and the tip jar was full.
The second guitar player came onstage starting by letting the room know that he works for tips, which of course would be the case. This guy was really good, but missed the opportunity to build a relationship with the packed audience. Not to sound harsh, but musicians like this are a dime a dozen in Nashville. Some get lucky and make it, but most work diligently to succeed. Playing Tootsies at the airport may not be glamorous, but you never know who could be listening. He never engaged with the audience, not only missing a chance to make some money, but also the potential for an even better opportunity.
Promotional products distributors are a dime a dozen as well. What are we doing to engage and be memorable to earn the business?
The airport version of Tootsies is a very tough gig, but the same can be said in our industry. To succeed, we have to connect with our audience and do what we can to meet their needs. In the case of this restaurant lounge, he simply needed to entertain the audience for a bit while waiting for their flights. This talented musician couldn't even get a token applause from the audience.
Why could one person offering the same "product" as another person have such a different result?
Buyers have all kinds of options. Are you showcasing the skills you have? Are you working your best to meet client’s needs and earn the business? What can you offer that a competitor can’t?
In today’s challenging marketplace, taking full advantage of the relationships we have to provide goods and services that benefit clients will be key to our successes. Consider what you can do to not miss opportunities.
Jeff Solomon, MAS, is affiliated with a Top 10 distributor company and also publishes FreePromoTips.com, a popular industry resource. The PPAI-award-winning FreePromoTips.com website and twice-a-month e-newsletters are packed with beneficial information. You can opt in to receive these informative twice-a-month e-newsletters here! Check out what’s new in the GP2: Good Products-Good Prices section of the site. Take advantage of free end-user-safe product videos you can share from the YourPromotionSolution.com website. You can stay connected to FreePromoTips on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or me personally on LinkedIn, my personal Twitter account and my Instagram account. Follow my occasional live broadcasts on Periscope: @JeffSolomonMAS