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So far this spring and summer, Coshocton County has been completely overwhelmed by rain. What seemed like a wet spring, led to a night where the local town of West Lafayette reportedly got nearly 7 inches of rain in a few short hours. The already wet ground gave the water no place to go and the devastation was difficult to see. Areas that had never seen standing water in generations, were flooded. Basements were full of water and foundation walls collapsed.
In addition to the devastation in homes around the area, acres of farmland spent time underwater as well. As a matter of fact, some weeks later, some areas are still seeing the affects of this rain. It leaves many people in our area talking about the long term effects of the season to farmers. Many have not had the chance to plant their seeds.
There will be nothing to harvest this year.
I am reminded of this as I look at our summer sales season. For many organizations, July is a tough month for sales. The sales team will talk about the fact that July is the month of vacations. They will say that “no one wants to talk about xyz in July!” And let’s face it, often the sales team wants to take time off then as well! This combination of reasons leads to a continually disappointing summer selling season.
And though those factors certainly play a role, I don’t think they are the real reason that sales lag in the summer. It all comes back to a lack of seeds to harvest. My hypothesis is, for the last few months (for lots of reasons) fewer and fewer seeds were planted. It was probably a little at a time. There was not a giant flood in the sales team. That’s why it was hard to notice. But little by little, fewer calls here made.
That is why there is less to harvest today.
As much as we would love to imagine it, business rarely just falls from the sky. These opportunities are harvested after months and months of work. They come from the seeds that were planted.
The bad news is, you can’t just go in and harvest today if you have not planted the seeds. The good news is, you can get out in the fields and start planting.
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There are plenty of great ways to determine the value of a promotional item. You might want an item that is flashy and gets someone’s attention. Your organization might want something with lasting value, like a calendar that hangs on the wall. Some companies want to focus their promotional efforts on tech items, that tie their brand to your phone. These all make sense in executed properly.
I like to keep it simple. I want Promotional items to be:
Useful: In my opinion, the best promotional items are ones you (or your customers) use on a regular basis. They are useful. That’s why the top categories of promo center around apparel, drinkware and writing instruments. They are used every day.
Have Lasting Impact: I also think great promo lasts. It’s the reason that calendars are still a valuable marketing tool. I love it when I give my customers and prospects items that they keep for years. That makes the “cost per impression” very low…and the value very high.
High Perceived Value: Finally, I love it when I am able to spend $5 on an item that my customers and prospects think costs more! One of the reasons t-shirts continue to be a great promo items is because they have high value. Your customers think they cost more than they do. You can create a huge impact when you get this value proposition right.
This why you should NEVER buy YETI (in promo).
YETI is a fine brand of products. They have created a brand that people are loyal to and appreciate. I love the idea that they create drinkware that can keep hot drinks hot and cold drinks cold for hours. But they were really late to the Promotional Products game. They decided they did not want to play in the promo industry. That’s cool. But they challenged an industry known for “knocking stuff off” to knock them off. And guess what…the promo industry did not disappoint. Not only did suppliers create Vacuum Sealed Drinkware, but they created a product that was really good!
Multiple studies have been done. In some studies, the YETI did a little better. In some studies, the YETI did a little worse. But most of them will tell you that the product is VERY comparable. In addition, the companies that live in the Promotional Products world are way better at creative decoration and branding. So if the products is (essentially) the same (and it is), and the branding is better, I want to ask you a simple question.
Why would you pay 3 to 4 times more for the YETI?
The simple answer is, you should not.
If you want a really cool Vacuum Sealed Tumbler (and you should, they are awesome), we have many options to choose from. Please let us know how we can help.
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In one way or another, we are all in sales.
You might be tasked with convincing your boss to chase your idea. Or you might be out in the field, doing door to door sales. Either way, we all have to sell (or persuade) people every day. With that in mind, it makes sense to get better at sales…especially if it’s your job to drive the top line in a business.
So here are 5 blog posts designed to help salespeople grow.
3 Reasons To Focus on Long Term Sales Success: When you are in sales, it’s easy to focus on the short term. We need to “make the sale” to put money in our pocket. But focusing on short term in sales rarely creates long term success. Here are 3 reasons to focus on the long term.
The Best Sales Strategy: Sometimes the best sales strategy is not to be in sales at all. Just be a human. Read more here.
3 Good Things From “Seeing the People:” One of my first mentors in sales told me “When in doubt, go see the people.” With new technology and tools, we sometimes lose sight of that foundational principle. But there are 3 good things that happen when you get in front of your customers. Learn what they are here.
20 Great Questions To Ask: I love this one. We are always told that we need to be a better listener. So how do you do it? One great way to be a better listener is to ask better questions. Here are 20 questions that are sure to get your customers and prospects talking.
Just One More: Sometimes the secret to success is simple…but not easy. Here is your motivation today to do “Just One More.” Read now.
And with that in mind, let me throw this bonus blog post in as “just one more.”
Selling To Someone Who Doesn’t Want To Buy: I get this question all the time. What do I do if the prospect does not want to buy? What if they already have a vendor? Here is a post that tells you want to do when you run into someone who does not want to buy.
So I hope these posts will help to motivate and inspire you to sell more effectively. If you want to learn more about Hasseman Marketing, you can check out our About Us page here. And if you want to catch every piece of content, sign up for our VIP list here.
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When I talk to new sales people (on my team or in other areas), I find myself saying one thing a lot. “You need to go and see the people.” This was the advice one of my first sales mentors gave to me. And in a world that is driven by technology and social media, I think it is even more important than ever. (I wrote a blog about the science behind why it works here).
Why do I say that it’s more important than ever? Because most people are not doing it. When you find that everyone is going one way, in business it sometimes makes sense to (thoughtfully) step the other. When everyone else zigs, sometimes you should zag. In addition, because we have so many wonderful tools for marketing and sales, we can get really lazy. It’s not that new and current tools are bad. They are not…and you should use them. But you shouldn’t forget the basics either. They are the foundation.
So should you continue to send emails? Yes. Should you prospect and sell using social media? Of course. Does it make sense to create content marketing that matters to your audience? Yes…it does.
But you should also take the time to “see the people.” Here are the three things that can happen when you take the time to meet your clients where they are.
They Will Feel Appreciated: If you visit a client and show them real appreciation, you can go a long way to solidifying the relationship. The fact is, none of us really say “thank you” enough. I talk about this Appreciation Gap here. By taking some time to show your clients they are appreciated, it will pay off long term.
You Might Learn Something: It seems like every time I go and take time with a client, I learn something about them. Sometimes it’s about a sales opportunity. But sometimes I learn about an issue at home, or a challenge they are struggling with. I often uncover something they are excited about. Every time I feel like it helps to bring us closer. It helps me serve them better. I bet the same happens to you.
They Might Buy Something: And yes, if the timing is right and the proposal is great, they might buy something. That is, of course, the point of the exercise. But I find that people are more likely to engage with me, listen to me, and buy from me if I am there.
So of course you should use all of the tools. You should tap into the tech. But don’t forget to be human…and see the people.
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Yesterday on this blog, we talked about the affect that Tariffs will have on your marketing budget. They will have this affect because a high percentage of promotional products are imported from China. With that being said, there are some great promotional items that are made domestically, that can still wow your customers and prospects. So, here are 5 great promotional products that are Made in the USA.
5 Made in the USA Promotional Products
16 oz Tervis Tumbler
This classic double walled Tervis Tumbler is not only a hit in retail, it is made in the USA. These amazing drinkware pieces are almost impossible to break, and are a great branding piece that will used over and over again. Check that item out here.
And speaking of long lasting, how about these 3 x 3 adhesive cubes? These amazing promotional pieces not only give you a great imprint space to tell your story, they tend to last forever. And since they are adhesive, each sheet is seen again and again and again. There are plenty of sizes and shapes and price points. Check out one here.
Just in case you are thinking that you can only get higher priced items, think again. One of the best bang for your bucks in marketing comes in the form of Lip Balm! This item has a great price point and the perceived value is great! As a matter of fact, 40% of your customers are probably addicted to Lip Balm. What a great marketing piece to have your brand image wrapped around every day. Check out this option (with SPF) here.
Believe it or not, you can get a quality made t-shirt in the United States. So if you want to avoid changes in pricing on your apparel, or you just want to promote “all USA made, you can do that with a quality t-shirt. From cotton to fabric to sewing, this t-shirt is put together here in the US.
As summer (finally) starts to show up in most of the United States, now is a great time to think about sunscreen as a promotional items. For outdoor company events, golf outings, and so much more, sunscreen is the perfect promo piece (regardless of where it’s made). You can learn more about this item here.
There are plenty of other great options to create an amazing promotional campaign and avoid the tariff issue. Just talk to your Account Executive for more ideas. And if you need someone to be “your person” you can head to our About Us page and pick one! Or just email us here and we will take care of you.
One Final Thought on Tariffs
Although this is a big issue for our industry, I do want to say one thing to put your mind at ease. If you are working with a good promotional consultant, this should not be a huge issue for you and your company, long term. When you meet with your representative, it’s simply about budget setting. As you discuss the project with them, just make sure they (or we) know your budget constraints. It’s the job of the Promotional Professional to keep you in between the lines.
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One of the most talked about topics in the last few months in the promotional products world has been Tariffs. It’s been talked about because it can and WILL affect your marketing.
Our goal at Hasseman Marketing is to keep you up to date with what you need to know…so let’s dig into what this means for you and your marketing budget moving forward.
Previously, I wrote a blog post about how tariffs will affect your marketing. You can find that post Here.
Just as a reminder, at my most recent visit to the PPAI Expo in January, tariffs were the talk of the show. When it comes to branded merchandise, a huge percentage of the items that are sold in the industry are imported from China. I mentioned in the previous blog post that the “pricing could change.”
And that price IS changing.
David Nicholson from PCNA (one of the largest suppliers in the Promo industry) released a statement on Wednesday, May 15, 2019. Currently, this is what we know.
- Tariffs on the existing $200 Billion of Chinese imports will increase from 10% to 25% effective June 1st (for shipments made prior to May 10th).
- The 25% tariff impacts the product categories originally included in the 10% tariff regulations that were enacted last September. The major categories relevant to our industry are: Bags and Stationery products, and portions of Drinkware, Technology and other Accessory categories.
- The US Trade Representative announced Monday that the US has begun the formal process to expand the 25% tariff to all other imports from China (i.e. those currently not subject to tariffs).
- This represents an additional $300+ billion of imports from China and would cover a large majority of product categories sold in our industry. The public hearing and comment period end June 24th – so the expanded range of tariff categories would not be imposed until after that date.
As I said, we at Hasseman Marketing want to be a great source of information for you and your team. Whether it be a great idea for posting on social media, tips on video or the trends and news of the day, we want to be a resource.
So what does this mean to you?
It means, quite likely, the price of promotional merchandise that you purchase will be rising. Now is a good time to start thinking about the items you are using to promote your brand. Here are a couple of questions to consider.
- Are you completely happy with the items you have been using? If the answer is yes, then the price increase might be acceptable.
- Can we look at new options that could better fit into the budget moving forward?
- Are there domestically made products that might fit our needs? We are going to be creating a list of some cool products that are made in the U.S. for you and your organization to consider. Be on the look out soon!
If you have more questions, please feel free to reach out to us and we can discuss it! Make sure you never miss an update! Sign up to become a VIP here.