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You waited until the last minute to order your client holiday gifts

So you haven’t even started thinking about your holiday business gifts?!  How will you thank your customers?  Oh, and your staff?? If you’re in a rush (again) this year, here is a list that will help your chances of getting that last minute order done.

Tower of Treats1. Have Your Information Ready

  • How many gifts will you need?
  • What type of gift (personal or business –related)?
  • What value would you like the gifts to be?
  • Will you want them decorated with your logo?
  • If yes, do you have the final digital logo artwork file?
  • What style/color do you prefer?
  • Do you have the approval to order?

image0182. What is the absolute date you need the gifts to arrive?
Factor in weekends and holidays. Many production facilities, offices and shippers are closed on weekends and holidays, so keep that in mind when you’re planning the gift-giving or shipping day.

3. Have a Plan B
Your first gift choice may be out of stock or the shipping time won’t allow it to arrive soon enough. Have a second gift in mind so you’re ready to switch, if necessary.

4. Beat the Rush
Once you make your decisions, keep things moving along. Year-end and holiday time is busy for everyone. The more people or businesses you can get in line ahead of, the better. Have an alternate person aware of the situation so any questions can be answered or proofs approved if you’re not available.

5. Be prepared with a grateful frame of mind!
image019There will be a lot of people trying to help you, but things may not work out exactly as you’d like them to. Be gracious and appreciate what can be done. Plan to work father in advance next time. Consider Happy New Year Gifts as an option! It might be a calmer time for you and for the recipients to enjoy their gifts.

Contact me to help with your business gift ideas! If you have the answers to the above questions, I’m sure we can find something you will be proud to represent your business. Our showroom is decked out with holiday gift-giving ideas so get over here soon!

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Has your company dress code gone awry

Summer is over so the risk of company dress code violations has gone down. If you feel that things may have gotten out of hand, corporate logo apparel is one way to reel that in. 

At least then you have control over “casual Friday” wear or attire for a sales meeting. If you provide (or offer at a discount) corporate logo apparel that is stylish and comfortable, your employees will not only look sharp but they will also advertise for your company when they wear their corporate apparel outside of work. Here are some trends that may help your look:

03The athleisure apparel category is growing more popular. This is clothing that could be worn to the gym or to yoga class, but is nice enough to wear for the whole day. Even t-shirts are now designed to be more stylish – not only with rounded hems but dressier fabric and styling heather colors.

Speaking of colors… the color that will highlight 2017 is orange. But not just Halloween orange – more shades than ever. So orange is not one of your logo colors? Think outside the box and consider alternative background colors. Don’t worry that you have to look like a pumpkin, the faded or washed-out colors will be “in.” Unless you to want to stand out – then go for the neons!

 

04The “heather” color look – where a white or dark color thread is mixed with the main color thread – makes for a muted color look and is a very popular trend for casual and performance shirts.   The blended color look on golf shirts is a trend that will continue into 2017. Think…comfort colors!

 

05You will also see companies adding to their color palettes. Keeping with the logo integrity can be taken care of with your logo design. Companies keeping up with trends are not only expanding background colors for their brand, but pulling more trendy colors in. A typical blue/black/white company color pallet may bring in soft green and orange .

 

06As far as fabrics go, if you haven’t used the poly/cotton blends or even tri-blends for t-shirt wear you need to jump on that bandwagon, and take advantage of the ladies’ cuts instead of just unisex sizes. The embossed pattern fabrics and tonal stripes are top notch for employees to wear in the office and at events. Employees want apparel that feels good & looks good, and you want your company logo to be seen on a shirt you can be proud…and seen often because the employee loves to wear it! Showing off a logo or artwork decorated on apparel is even the rage on the fashion runway.

 

07Cold-weather season will be upon us soon; you have many great choices for outerwear. The trend in outerwear is all about special features. The lightweight and smooth fabrics are still preferred, and the heather look is now into outerwear. But the features that are sought after are chest & sleeve zipper pockets, hidden zipper compartments inside a sweatshirt pocket, drop tail jackets, hidden zippers or at least zippers that match the fabric and more tailored styles. Thinking about knit caps – you can even have your logo on the pull-on no fold beanies.

 

The summary – your company logo apparel represents your brand just as much as your other marketing. So make it a sensible but fashionable choice and it really will advertise for you for a long while. If you’d like to check out some of the new or trending corporate fashions, contact: Mary Anne Kennedy and set up a time to come to the showroom.www.PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Location, Location, Location...for Your Marketing

You’ve heard realtors with their famous adage…location, location, location!  You can apply that to your marketing, as well.  When you think about your best potential customers – where will they be when they might need your products or services?

If your target customers are Human Resources Managers, then your information needs to be handy to them at their desk or portfolio as they go to different offices or meetings. Your marketing promotion should follow suit. By providing your contact information and product reminder (logo) on a useful desk accessory, such as the Adhesive Flag Set or Mini Bluetooth Speakers, you will stay top of mind.

 

The i-Tablet Padfolio would also be an appreciated gift and useful for meetings, and a quick reminder of your company with every use.

 

If the parent-on-the-go is who your products would appeal to, then we suggest various handy automobile “accessories,” each complete with your advertising and contact information. From inexpensive Car Coasters to the Auto Car Seat Kooler, you are sure to give them easy access to your company info/website. I love the new Mobile Phone Holders that attaches to your vehicle vents!

 

Are your services for the homeowner?   – from water damage repair to take out food, you have to make it easy for them to remember you AND to contact you. So the promotional product that they keep and use is going to get you the call. It could be as simple as a magnet or a notepad or a higher end tool or trivet – if your logo is on it then you are one step closer to getting their business!

 

Take the time to think about where your customers are when they need your products and services. It will pay off when you focus your marketing towards those areas.

 

Contact Primary Source to see how the right promotional products will keep you at easy access of your customers. Visit our showroom: 104th & Hickman in Urbandale, where we will consult with you about the location, location, location of your promotional products!

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Strengthen Your In-Person Communication Skills

While digital communication and social media so vital to business, have you let your in-person communication fall to the side? Have you become uncomfortable with face-to-face communication and sales calls? Or never even started it? Face-to-face relationship building is vital to grow your business and continue to flourish.

Here are some strategies to strengthen your in-person communication skills that I gathered from our industry magazine, Advantages – Thank you, Christopher Ruvo, for your guidance. These tips will give us an advantage next time we’re out meeting prospects.

  1. Ditch Technologyput away the devices and focus fully on the person you’re with and what they have to say. “The most powerful relationship building happens when technology isn’t present,” says Colin McLetchie, president of five Ways Forward, a consulting and wellness company. “Keep it out of sight unless it serves a real purpose in the conversation.”
  2. Adapt to Prospect’s Communication Style: Some prospects want to get to the point and get done quickly. Others are socializers and like a little small talk so they can get more of a feel for you, especially if you haven’t met them at previous networking events. Others may be guarded and methodical. Once you understand the prospect’s communication style, then conform as necessary to allow your prospect to be comfortable with you and respect their time and situation.
  3. Remove Barriers: Whenever possible, stand or sit with the prospect without barriers like desks and tables. The lack of a barrier brings a feeling of collaboration, rather than competition or pushy selling.
  4. Lead with Questions: When it’s time to talk business, start by asking questions aimed at discovering a prospect’s interests, needs and goals. Your questions should show a genuine interest and also show your willingness to learn about the prospective client. Don’t start with statements that sound like a canned, one-size-fits-all approach.
  5. Rephrase the ‘Why’: Avoid asking ‘why’ questions which can put people on the defensive. “Choose ‘what’ or ‘how’ questions to keep the person engaged in the dialogue,” says McLetchi. For example. “why did this happen?” is better phrased as “How did this evolve for your company?”
  6. Practice Real Listening: Don’t just listen for a break so that you can interject your planned comment or sales pitch. Real listening will give the prospect time to tell her story, then you can speak directly to her most pressing needs. She will then see you’ve actually heard her and will trust you more. When you practice real listening, you will be able to formulate unique insights that help make the best decision. “She is more likely to feel positive about her experience and come to you again.”
  7. Acknowledge Emotions: Correctly responding to prospects’ emotions helps convey that you truly understand and makes them see you’re on their side. “Most people will respond well to having their difficult emotions acknowledged and will respond with confirmation or clarification.” Says McLetchie. From this, you can ask more questions that help you come up with solutions.
  8. Allow for Silence: Stay relaxed and quiet while a prospect is thinking. Nervous salespeople rush to fill silence with chatter and answer their own questions. When a response comes, keep from interrupting.
  9. Pay Close Attention to Nonverbal Cues: Unspoken physical cues can yield important insights into what a client is really thinking. Fidgeting and frequently looking away suggest discomfort and disinterest. Arms folded across the chest indicate resistance. Direct eye contact and head nodding implies they are receptive to what you are saying. Frequent touching of nose and mouth suggests lying….what is your body language suggesting?!
Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Improve Your Sales Presentation

Whatever your business or position, you are always selling something – it could be a product, a service, an idea or a new office procedure. Here are some tips to focus on the goals of the recipient to better get your message across and “make the sale.”

Whatever your business or position, you are always selling something – it could be a product, a service, an idea or a new office procedure. I recently read Advice for Sharpening Job Skills by Improving Your Presentation, written by Sara Lavenduski. Her tips easily correl ate to anyone and any kind of presentation, but particularly helpful in sales, management & training:

  • Tailor the Pitch – One size (or one presentation) does fit all. Make yours as relevant as possible to your prospect or audience. Be ready with examples and explain why your idea will specifically help them, improve the bottom line, etc.
  • Get to the Point – Long is boring. A shorter presentation encourages engagement. A good formula: a couple stories, a few numbers a lot of focus on audience/customer needs. Allow time throughout the presentation for questions for even more engagement.
  • Choose Info Carefully – Don’t overwhelm them with product info or details that don’t directly affect them. Focus on their goals and how the topic will benefit them. Be clear about the delivery or installation of changes and how it will affect ROI or make their lives easier.
  • Use Tech Wisely – Don’t use outdated information or programs. Wondering about using PowerPoint, Prezi or Keynote? Here is an article of pros and cons of the presentation software. Don’t overdo flashiness. Avoid cursive fonts and busy backgrounds. A couple animations might look nice but too many get distracting. Embedded videos are great but make sure the clips work across different formats.
  • Breathe and Smile - You’ve all learned about reading body language, so pay attention to what you’re Smile, sit with good posture and don’t cross your arms. Look your audience in the eye – it shows confidence and integrity. Also, put your phone away so you’re not tempted to check emails or texts.
  • Practice – Yes, find a mirror and watch yourself do the presentation. Ask a co-worker to critique you or video tape yourself so you can review and work on certain areas. It sounds awkward, but it helps. Avoid speaking in a monotone voice. Most importantly, don’t just memorize.

Bonus – you can always perk things up with a promotional gift during your presentation, or prizes for answering questions, a thank you at the end of the presentation or a tool to reinforce what they learned. Of course, contact me and I’ll help you with specific ideas…and will be sure to give you a fun presentation!

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Spice up your sales calls, and your sales

Have you ever reached the point where you were so disconnected from what you actually sell that you were really just chasing clients to meet your monthly goals or quota? How’d that work out for you? Sales slumps are stressful, and they can often become self-perpetuating.  When that happens, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with your product or service.

The weather might be heating up, but your cold calls aren’t. Do you know where the bulk of your business comes from? How often do you explore your sales metrics and sources, and compare them to your marketing efforts?

As much as we’d love for clients to fall into our lap (and granted, sometimes they do, thanks to referrals or a client’s tenacious research efforts that land them on your website), the truth is that we’re responsible for keeping the pipeline full. Like it or not, sales and marketing is always going to be in your job description. That doesn’t mean you have to embrace your inner used-car salesman, though! Here are some spins on the “sales” game that are easy to forget when you’re desperately trying to drum up business.

Position Yourself as a Problem Solver

Isolating a problem that’s causing your potential customer pain is the windup of a highly effective sales pitch. This means poking where it hurts—do a little investigating. Once you find a client’s pain point that can be solved by your product or service, you’ve found an opportunity for your product to prove its worth. Learning about a person or organization before you try and sell them anything will not only make you more insightful at what you do, it will help you convince your customer that you and your product are the right fit for the job. How can you help solve their problem—the problem that’s specific to them, the problem that you wouldn’t know about if you hadn’t asked the right questions and listened to the answers?

Passion Sells

Have you ever reached the point where you were so disconnected from what you actually sell that you were really just chasing clients to meet your monthly goals or quota? How’d that work out for you? Sales slumps are stressful, and they can often become self-perpetuating. You wind up so stressed out about the numbers game that you scare away any prospective clients who might have given you the time of day. When that happens, it’s time to reacquaint yourself with your product or service. What, exactly, are you selling? What makes it awesome? Why did you start in the first place? If you don’t fully believe in your product or service, you’re not going to sell it anyway. Reignite your passion for your product and let yourself get excited about it. After all, if you’re not excited about it, why should anyone else be?

Don’t Be Discouraged If You Don’t Make a Deal

Imagine you’ve spent months pursuing a client—they’re so close to the contract you can practically taste your commission—but every time you put the pen in their hand and say “Sign here,” they get cold feet. You’ve spent countless hours (and dollars) getting to know them, and you’re convinced that they just need a little more time; they’ll make the right decision eventually. At some point, though, it’s time to walk away for the good of everyone involved. You deserve to build relationships that will turn into business, and for whatever reason, this relationship isn’t one of them right now. That’s ok. Don’t stay on a stalled train—there are plenty more back at the station waiting for you.

Naiveté Never Sells When You Need It To

No matter how much we want to believe that everyone is a prospective client who can benefit from our product or service, it’s just not the case. Stick to your target demographic unless you have a concrete reason to pursue a prospect that falls significantly outside that realm, and recognize the risks (and potential rewards) of doing so. Yes, you could crack open a new market or demographic, but you could also wind up with absolutely zilch to show for your efforts. Do you really have the luxury of the time and energy (not to mention existing cashflow) to support what might very well be a wild goose chase right now?

The best sales recipe is a strong problem-solving sales pitch with a dash of passion, followed by the perfect leave-behind and follow-up. Promotional products are a great garnish to your sales pitch; their purpose is twofold. First, you’re already giving something to that prospective client and they haven’t handed you a dime. It sets the precedent for going above and beyond with your products and customer service. The second, more obvious reason is to keep your brand in front of that client in a fun, memorable (maybe even a little whimsical) way that makes them smile and say “I need to give her a call.” Bonus points if your promo product has your phone number on it – that makes it so easy to contact you!   Sometimes that fabulous marketing/promotional gift is just the ticket to spice up your sales call!

Primary Source has a showroom brimming with options that have just the right balance of whimsy and professionalism for any company or brand, any budget and any target audience —set up a time to come by and see what you can find. Even better, ask me or one of my product gurus for some ideas. We’d love to help you help you get more response from your prospective clients!

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Remember...Less is More

You’ve been through the process of determining what promotional product or marketing incentive gift is suitable for your particular event, plan or campaign. Now let’s put some thought into your imprint!

Logo, Website, Phone number, Locations, Tagline , Hours of business and, oh yeah, a list of your products! You may say, “All of those!” But hold on! Take a step back to realize…what is the intended result of the promotional product? You likely want brand awareness, so your logo imprint and/or company name would be good. This is a great way for you to stay top of mind with potential customers.

 

What do you want their next step to be? Call you, as in “on the phone’?! Then include your phone number. Or is it better if they go to your website to see your menu of services? Then include your website. Or is the priority to commemorate an annual event? Then the title and place of the event may be the next priority. Your promotional products consultant at Primary Source will discuss with you the imprint possibilities & restraints on marketing products to consider. Sometimes we will even advise against a certain product, if it is not conducive to the logo or message you need to display.

 

Imprint areas vary greatly between a tumbler vs. a padfolio, for example. But that doesn’t mean you have to make either of them a billboard! Many times, Less is MORE! Less can get the customer to take action: go to your website to learn more. Less will also allow a customer to use their gift that doesn’t look so much like an advertising piece. Yes, the subtle advertising approach!

 

Keep this is mind for awards, as well. We don’t need to engrave the entire story or thank-you sentiment on the award. Keep it short, sweet & stately. If you need to say more, do it with a printed certificate or at a presentation in front of an audience. Believe me, if you spent the time to choose and present an elegant award, the recipient will remember the circumstances and kind words. For more ideas on choosing the right promotional products along with the best way to embellish them, contact: Mary Anne Kennedy at maryanne@Primary SourcePromotion.com.



Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Your Business Card does NOT have to be a Business Card

How can you increase your odds that the person you just met at a networking event will keep your business card?  How can you see to it that yours will be the one that stands out on the buyer’s desk?  Here are a few creative ways to be unique…and be remembered.

smithandCoFirst of all, your business card doesn’t have to be a paper card at all!  One of my best investments is a magnetic business card.  Besides being useful and easy to keep handy – they will be where your customers will be when they need you (i.e.: in the kitchen or in the office).  And they don’t have to be the shape and size of a business card either.

MooseOne of the next best “business cards” is a coaster!  It can be round square, pulp board or lenticular.  They all have tons of imprint space; plenty for your important info, a QR code and a reminder of why doing business with you is a must.

gogoOne of my other favorites is a Magnetic Mark – I always get a “Cool!” or “Clever!” response when I hand these out.  Take advantage of the various shapes available and full color imprint front and back.  I can help you with a layout that is sure to get noticed.

mintThen there are treats…from gum packages to mint tins, these are creative ways to present your business card!  Who would forget a delicious Belgian chocolate bar that was with your paper business card?

usbAt the top of the heap of special “business cards” would be a card USB flash drive – about the size of a credit card, there is enough room for a flashy imprint, even full color.  Not only high-tech and useful, what a way to get your website, catalog or resume right in front of someone.  We can have those preloaded on the USB drive, so your contact sees it load as soon as she inserts it in the drive.

firstaidOf course, I could go on and on (just Contact Me for more ideas!) but I will choose just one more to mention here.  Consider a creative “carrier” like a Mini First Aid Kit.  This makes a great leave behind for that potential client you missed or a great insert for that mailing you’re planning to do.  No one will resist opening the case to see what’s inside.  Among the bandages and antiseptic would be your business card, and perhaps a special note that says, “I can come to your aid!”

Use any of these to set you apart and above the rest!  Please SHARE your own creative & successful business card ideas by commenting below!   Contact me for a short list of other unique business card ideas.

 

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Just when you thought youd seen everything...The Art of Standing Out

Every business has to fight to be seen!  We work every day on brand recognition, product awareness and any special offer that we have.  I think this is why I love the promotional product business – it is all about making you stand out!

So just when you thought you’d seen the latest in drinkware trends, the promo Mason Jar Mug makes the scene and steals the show!  Then that leads to the acrylic Mason “jar” and the one with the straw and then a double wall acrylic so your cold drink in the Mason jar won’t leave a puddle on your deck table.  No matter which you go with, and whether it’s for a company picnic or a gift for test driving a car, they all have that WOW factor that get’s you noticed over and over again.  Who wouldn’t show everyone their cool Mason Jar drinkware?!

Summer is fast approaching and there will be more opportunities to promote your company outdoors.  But if glass breakage is a concern, that’s all taken care of with the Wine Tumbler – a wine shaped tumbler inside an acrylic tumbler with a lid – no bugs and no worries with this hip way to drink wine at all those summer events.  The beer drinkers couldn’t be left out, so quickly arrived the beer bottle shape inside of an acrylic tumbler.  Yes, funky, but it made you look, right?!

Other warm weather ideas to get you noticed are the customized beach balls, beach towels & Bluetooth speakers – so your logo and message is wherever the fun is!  You should consider kicking it up a notch with the wooden bag-toss games or even the mini bag-toss game, perfect for a conference room or trade show.

You can always get noticed with any of our wide selection of Flashing Light products!  From plastic ice cubes that flash to necklaces and glow sticks, these fun promotions can liven up an event or get people into your trade show booth.  I know you’re saying, “Now I’ve seen everything!”  But when it comes to marketing with promotional products, there will always be a new and exciting way to make you stand out!

Set up a time to meet with me to help you stand out from your competition and all the other ad messages thrown at everyone each day.  I can show you how to turn promotional products into new clients, more referrals and more customers going to your website.  Our showroom is 104th& Hickman in Urbandale.

Mary Anne Kennedy
Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

Say THANK YOU...when, how, where, why...

How did you feel the last time someone really expressed “Thank You” to you? It’s a message that can stick with you. It is definitely something that you notice if it is left out.

I suppose you could call me a stickler when it comes to saying, “Thank you.” I have always written thank you notes for a gift or for someone doing something nice for me. We probably all taught our kids to say thank you at a young age. How does it make you feel when you receive genuine appreciation? How can a proper “thank you” help your business? Just as important, how can the lack of it hurt your business?

I bet each of us can remember when we didn’t feel appreciated for shopping at a certain store or eating at a certain restaurant.

Don’t let your business become one of those bad memories! Here are some ideas:

  • Teach employees to use proper thank-you etiquette at all times.
    Does every employee know how to greet guests?
    Does every employee actually thank customers for visiting and/or buying?
    Are all associates aware of your thank you policies & procedures?
  • Have specific thank you plans in place for customers’ business or orders:
    Do you contact customers to make sure the product or service was (more than!) satisfactory?
    Do you send thank you notes; possibly with your invoice or after payment?
    Perhaps something to say “We LOVE our customers!”
  • Contact customers after a project or sale of a product/service:
    How do you follow up after the sale or project? (email, phone call, mail?)
    How soon and how frequent is your thank-you follow up?
    Determine possible gifts for levels of sale or project.
  • Don’t forget to actually smile and say, “THANK YOU!”
    Did you know that your smile can be “heard” through the phone?

Contact me for promotional product ideas to help you say THANK YOU!

 

Mary Anne Kennedy

Primary Source Promotions
p. 515.727.8774
e. maryanne@PrimarySourcePromotion.com

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