Source Your Inner Iron Man
It's the age of heroes. I love how the adventures of Iron Man, Captain America and Thor all link together in the blockbuster Avengers movies. Plus we've got the X-Men and Spider-Man raking in box office gold this summer, and now it looks like Superman and Batman are on track to meet up with Wonder Woman in 2016, which will lead to a Justice League movie in 2018. Heroes are everywhere.
In fact, if you are Bold, Different and Memorable, I can direct you to a hero right now. Go look in the mirror. There. A hero. You're looking at one.
I had lunch today with a friendly competitor and picked his brain about what makes him successful. My sales force at HALO Branded Solutions is fortunate to have a massive marketing department to help with an annual marketing activity plan, regional sales managers (like me) across the country to mentor and problem-solve, a programs department to respond to RFPs and help land the bigger opportunities, and so on. But my pal works for a small regional distributor and doesn't have this firepower behind him. He told me two years ago when he shifted over from the supplier side to the distributor side that he'd be wildly successful, and he booked $800 thousand his first year. He told he he'd hit more than $1 million in his second year ... and he did. This year, his third, he is on target to exceed that $1 million by a few hundred grand.
How did he do it?
What makes him such an amazing superhero?
First off, it's his attitude. It's how he's wired and how he thinks. Last year he was at LAX waiting for a flight and saw a woman at the bar in the American Airlines Lounge being clumsily hit on by some drunk. He didn't turn away—he saw a damsel in distress! He walked over and said to her, "I'm so sorry I'm late, have you ordered my drink?" She smiled at him and he leaned in and whispered, "You looked like you needed some help!"
He saved her with that smooth Bond move. The drunk moved on and they started chatting, exchanged business cards and—lo and behold—she was the vice president of marketing for a Hollywood production house. Now, and this is important, he didn't go over with his hero moves to land a new client ... he didn't even know she was in marketing at all. He did it because he is a hero. And heroes always win.
It's a state of mind.
Her entertainment industry account is now one of his big new clients and they have a great "meet cute" story.
I asked him what he does to make himself Different and Memorable. What separates him from the pack?
He told me that two years ago he decided that product safety was going to be HUGE—a real differentiator in our industry... and most every industry. He took it upon himself to take education classes in product safety, to fully understand how to help protect his clients' brands, and position them to be fully compliant and only work with suppliers who were completely transparent and fully versed in this area. He can talk Prop 65 and FDA regulations and Secure Source and CPSIA safety standards.
It's what he leads with when he makes presentations. Because he took 30 hours of classes on product safety and he is an authority on product safety.
That makes him Bold, Different and Memorable. And it makes him his clients' ever-lovin' blue-eyed hero.
If he can do it, you can do it. Be a hero. Look for opportunities to swoop in and save the day. Source your inner Thor or Wonder Woman. He's in there. She's in there. Wearing satin tights. I love the satin tights.
Be Bold. Be Different. Be Memorable.
Rick Greene, MAS, is the western regional vice president of HALO Branded Solutions, a past president of SAAC and on the PPB Editorial Advisory Board. His comic fantasy novels "Boofalo!" and "Shroom!" are available on Amazon.com.