Thursday, March 30, 2017

Dare To Be Different To Make The Difference!

Dare To Be Different—and Outwork Your Competition

In the world of marketing, it often feels as if everyone is trying to sell something. Everyone wants to
be the person to deliver the latest and greatest products and services to the masses. But if we are all climbing the same mountain at the same time, how do we make it to the top? How do we stand out above the competition and achieve success?
Just be different. Ask yourself how you can get in front of perspective clients and what you can bring to the table that others won’t.

Start by constantly reinventing your business: Don’t let yourself get pigeonholed into one genre of resources. Set yourself up for success by targeting and profiling companies with which you want to work. Then, apply consistent marketing tactics using multiple quality touches, for ultimate exposure. These tactics could include phone calls, emails, self-promo marketing campaigns, direct-mail pieces, etc. Just make sure your touches are creative and highlight all your capabilities: digital, mobile apps, postage-savings tactics, etc. The point is to catch your audience with an “ah-ha” revelation.

Once you’ve grabbed their attention, don’t just present one solution. Use this opportunity to consult on an entire marketing package for a project and present EVERYTHING.  Think of the project from your client’s point of view. Use the mindset, “you brought me here to provide X, but I can also give you Q, R and S!” This avenue of presentation will be time-consuming but ultimately will earn business. Take your time—and stand out.

When it’s time to execute, gain your customers’ trust and confidence by communicating what to expect until the products are in-hand. A Thank You email, followed by proofs, ship dates and tracking confirmations will keep both parties connected and involved. This extensive customer service will push you ahead of the competition.

After your transaction, keep in contact. Present new ideas and cutting-edge solutions. This approach is more consultative and educational than trying to “sell” something. Offer to hold lunch
meetings to present these ideas. Whether you get one or 12 people in a room over sandwiches, the exposure is critical. Show them what’s new and hot from each aspect of your portfolio; perhaps a new mobile app or trending direct mail items. Bring solutions to the table to remind your customers that you are one contact with multiple resources, reinforcing the value and time savings they enjoy by working with you, and not seven different companies.

This path will not be easy. Each of these tactics takes time, effort and creative brainpower, but hopefully will set you at the top of the mountain. You will not only rise above the competition, but will no longer be selling stuff. Now, you’re providing solutions, you’ve developed solid relationships with your customers—and it all started by being different.

Bob De Garmo

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Take Control. Beat Cancer.

It feels good to be in control—or at least, to have a handle on things within your reach. But that kind of security isn’t always in the cards. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed with cancer, then you get it: A cancer diagnosis is a line-drive foul ball that you didn’t see coming.   

Three years ago, my sister-in-law, Katie, was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma at age 32. It was news that sent my family reeling—and the reason I accepted the nomination to fight for those battling blood cancers as part of THE LEUKEMIA & LYMPHOMA SOCIETY'S (LLS) 2017 Man & Woman of the Year Campaign.

When she was diagnosed, Katie was the picture of health. She is also one of the most positive people I know, which played in her favor. Katie fought a long, hard battle and won. During her chemotherapy treatments, she took drugs that threw her body into a nauseating faux menopause to protect her eggs. One year later, she got pregnant.  Today, with 14-month-old Luke running circles around her, Katie is battling bladder cancer. So, her fight continues—and she faces it every day with that same positive mindset and amazing resolve.

I’m grateful for the treatments and therapies that have written a promising next chapter for Katie.  But there is so much more to be done. With Katie as my inspiration, I’m working to help raise funds for LLS for research and treatments. My team, KATIE’S BLOOD, SWEAT & TEARS TOUR, is competing against other teams in NE Ohio in a 10-week fundraising campaign.  

PLEASE JOIN US in giving cancer patients a fighting chance. EVERY DONATION helps! I’m asking for only two things:

  • 1.      Click on this link to access our team page and make your tax-deductible donation online.
  • 2.     Forward this blog to your friends and family

On behalf of Katie, the Connor family, and others who are battling to gain their footing and fight back—thank you.

Tim Connor

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

The Luck Behind the Shamrock Name

If you’re lucky enough to be Irish, then you’re lucky enough. That’s how I felt growing up in an Irish family—and as an adult, I feel equally as proud to be part of an organization that shares a bit of that heritage.

I get the question often: How did Shamrock get its name? So today, on St. Patrick’s Day eve, seems like the right time to share the story: In 1978, Shamrock founder Neil Bennett took a leap of faith, leaving his secure sales position at a major business forms company to start an entrepreneurial venture.

The story follows that as Neil sat at his kitchen table contemplating his new startup, he studied the shamrock plant sitting in front of him. It brought back childhood memories of shamrocks displayed in his grandmother’s home. And that’s when it hit Neil: “why not name the company SHAMROCK, the legendary good luck symbol of the Irish?” 

And so, Shamrock Forms was born. Working from that same kitchen table, Neil’s sales grossed $400,000 the first year. In less than two years, he rented office space, hired four employees, and sales grossed $1.2 million. And the rest is history, with the Company growing and diversifying to evolve into the full-service marketing solutions resource that it is today.

Shamrock didn’t stumble upon that success by luck. It’s no coincidence that successful people, like Neil, who work the hardest and surround themselves with good people, seem to have the most luck. I’ve always believed that we create our own luck—and Shamrock is living proof of that. For more than 30 years we’ve focused on serving our clients first by providing added value, and the rest has certainly followed.

May the road rise to meet you.

And may you enjoy the holiday tomorrow, snow and all!

Tim Connor

Thursday, March 9, 2017

5 Steps To Selecting Executive Gifts

It’s the thought that counts: That’s the gift-giving mantra that many of us embrace—and one that rings true when considering executive gifts: Putting thought and effort into the discovery process first is what helps us arrive at the right gift, for the right occasion, and at the right price. 

The "Gold Watch" gift is rare today!
Here are my 5 essential steps to gift-giving success:

  1. Vet your client list. Consider there are many organizations that cannot accept gifts from their clients and vendors. It’s important to vet the client/recipient list so that the gift campaign does not work against you.
  2. Identify your demographic. Think about who the gift is going to and then, how will it arrive—wrapped? In original retail packaging? Personalized with your logo? Will it be shipped, hand-delivered or presented at an event? 
  3.  Consider the occasion. Is the gift commemorating a holiday? An anniversary? A thank-you gift?
  4. Identify how the gift will be used. Do you see your gift sitting on your client’s desk? Is it a lifestyle product that you hope makes it to your client’s home? An impact piece? Something that has a short shelf life, such as food?
  5. Establish a budget. Does that include packaging and shipping?
These discovery prompts lead to solid gift-giving solutions. For example, one of my customers wanted to spend $50 on an apparel item for a client gift—but was worried that putting their logo on the chest might prevent the client from wearing it. The solution: We imprinted the customer’s logo on the lining of the jacket, which gave a nod to their brand without making the gift feel too self-promoting. My customer was pleased with the result—his gift was the right product, presented in the right way (with subtle branding), and at the right price.     

Shamrock jackets using the subtle 3-ring version of our logo.

Some customers start the gift-giving process backwards—starting with the item first. But to get it right, it’s more about knowing your audience than picking the right product. Using this discovery process as a guide, you’ll find that you arrive at the ideal gift.

What’s the best executive gift you’ve received? I’d be interested in your feedback

Take care,

Tim Berry