When You Wisch Upon a Star
Multi-line reps could very well be the unsung heroes of our industry. They are true road warriors, often spending cash right out of their own pockets to bring distributors new ideas and creative solutions with shiny logos all over them. And if you just ask, most will do free specs and virtuals and self-promo for you. Multi-line reps are super heroes.
Nowell Wisch is a veteran multi-line rep in California and other points west. He's been with TradeNet for over 20 years and has quite a few other great lines, such as Caro-line—the bandana people. He also volunteers as a photographer for SAAC, superbly so.
I love that guy because Nowell is Bold, Different and Memorable. Extremely Memorable.
One year at the SAAC Show, I saw him in the Trade Net booth and asked him how the show was going for him. He said, "Fantastic, I have made 90 scans today!" I looked at him funny. Just 90 scans? At the big, bad SAAC Show? I asked why that was fantastic, when other exhibitors had eight hundred and one thousand scans or more.
"Because," Nowell explained, "when someone walks up to my booth and asks me to scan their badge, hardly making eye contact with one foot out in the aisle toward the NEXT booth, where they'll ask to be scanned, I ask them if I have their permission to ask them a question before I scan them. Many of them just stand there, one hand on their badge, frozen like a deer in the headlights. Some just leave right then, but most give me the okay to ask the question. So I tell them that my question is, if they would give me just five minutes of their time to talk about their customers and some current challenges they might be facing, wouldn't that be more valuable than just scanning their badge? What if we have a meaningful interaction where I arm you with tools to sell promotional products during this short five minutes? Wouldn't you agree that was well worth your time?" Then, he would lose several more people. But maybe one person out of ten would agree that Nowell was right ... and then give him those five minutes. These are the people he scanned. Every one of those 90 people were ENGAGED and COMMITED to promotional success. For Nowell, those 90 were GOLD, even though he may have shocked 900 to find them!
That's one reason I love the guy. There are many others but here is the one I wanted to document for the purposes of this article. It's Bold stuff.
When Nowell does a sales meeting for his distributor customers, he not only presents and sells products from his lines. He also imparts wisdom and ideas. At every meeting he does and every educational session he teaches, he suggests you ask your customer - EVERY customer, EVERY time - these three questions:
- What is on your desk right now that I can help you with today?
- What is on your desk right now that you DON'T think I can help you with today?
- Who in your organization should I know that can use my services?
I love Question 1—that's a great way to get a new project or two to work on. Take it off your plate and put it on my plate and I'll take care of it for you. And Question 3 is the referral question, that's critical to do all the time, yet is only sporadically done. But it's Question 2 that is Blue-Gold Seer-Suckin' Protoplasmic Genius. Let's examine why:
You ask your client at Los Arms Hospital—a Dr. Fermond Strangeglove, "Is there anything on your desk that you DON'T think I can help you with today?" and he laughs, looks around and says, "Sure ... how about you look through these twenty job applications sitting here! I have to go through these and schedule interviews to replace not one, not two, but THREE nurses who have quit. Can you do that for me?"
Wow. There is a wealth of opportunity that Dr. Strangeglove has revealed. Do you see it?
Here's the answer.
"You've got your hands full there, Fermond. I can't help with the applications, but it sounds to me like you've got an employee morale problem here at Los Arms with so many nurses quitting. I need to put together an employee appreciation program for you. And you also need a recruiting program to get the word out here in the community that Los Arms Hospital is hiring and a great place to work! And some branded merchandise to use at job fairs and employment events. And let's plan an employee celebration barbecue in the parking lot next month with some 'We Heart Our Team' squeeze bottles and bandanas for everyone. Let me put some ideas together for you and the money you SAVE on placing ads, doing interviews and training and on keeping employees from leaving in the first place will more than pay for the investment in branded merchandise and rewards."
Just because THEY think you can't help, doesn't mean YOU can't identify multiple opportunities for promotional products to do that hoodoo that dey do so well. First you have to ask, then you have to listen. Really listen, because there are opportunities all around you.
Thank you, Nowell Wisch, for reminding us that fortune favors the bold. Also, there is no fighting in The War Room, Dr. Strangeglove.
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 comic fantasy novels entitled "Boofalo!" and "Shroom!" available at www.amazon.com. He often quotes classic movie lines in his daily life, so forgive him this eccentricity. After all, tomorrow is another day...