Bowled Away

Kristina Springer from Sagamore Plumbing & Heating, Inc. called wanting stylish shirts with their logo to wear to the 6th annual NAWIC Bowling Fundraiser.

Because their logo is a very bright green and yellow, they figured their only choice was to get white shirts with the two-color logo.

I suggested going with either a green or a yellow shirt, and ordered samples, so they could see the colors in person. In addition to showing them samples for color, I also provided varied sizes so they could make sure they got the fit they wanted.

Once I saw the colors—luscious light green and pale yellow, like cool, delicious sherbet on a hot summer day—I knew the solution. Like a kid who can’t decide which flavor to order, I suggested get some of each; five green and five yellow, and do tone-on-tone embroidering. Tone-on-tone is embroidering with thread to match the garment, giving it a subtle, elegant look they would want to wear afterward.

When they saw the samples, they decided to order extra for one of the women, who frequently delivers proposals and quotes to clients.

Kris wrote the day after the event, “This being our first time participating in this event, we needed to look good and make our presence known in this fun competition. As you can see by our photo, we all look proud, and our shirts look fantastic! Thanks so much for your suggestions; they really made our look ‘above and beyond’. Our team actually won 3rd place for best Team Spirit, and I’m sure our shirts played a part in that.”

Power of the Pen

How one promotional product opened a very large door

Several years ago, my favorite promotional pen was discontinued. I began the search for a replacement,  using the same criteria I use researching products for clients. Good price point, adequate imprint area, high quality, comfort, color, and so on.

I ordered numerous sample pens from several suppliers, and “test-drove” them all. Some were eliminated from contention right away. Others stayed on my desk for further comparison.

Although I really wanted a purple pen to match my logo, none of those samples made the cut. Either the grip was uncomfortable, the color wasn’t just right, or it didn’t write well. I kept coming back to one particular pen. It felt great in my hand, had a comfortable rubber grip, wrote well,  and cost substantially less than many other pens in its category.

But it was silver. Although it wasn’t purple, I could do a purple imprint. I was sold. And, fortunately, so have many of my colleagues and clients.

In addition to selling the very same pen to numerous clients in a variety of colors, the pen became my entrée to what has become a very good client.

Here’s how:

I always go to networking events heavily armed with a supply of pens. While others are passing business cards around, I give out pens. People love receiving gifts, no matter how large or small. In addition to giving something useful that people can continue to use long after the event ends, it helps me stand out. Plus, it’s another way to illustrate the effectiveness of promotional products.

So, there I was at a networking luncheon, all set to pass pens around the table while I do my 30-second “elevator” pitch. One of my colleagues interrupted me saying, “I have one of those pens, and I love it. People in my office are always trying to take it.”

Unsolicited third-party endorsement. You can’t pay for advertising with that kind of impact.

And it gets better. About two weeks later, that same colleague called me and told me to call the head of human resources at her company. She had already passed my name along, because the company buys very nice gifts every year for its seven hundred (yes 700) employees!

After that, it was up to me to build the relationship, which I did. However, I would never have had the opportunity to cross the client’s threshold if not for that one pen.

Want to find a way to help get you in the door? Contact Jeanie Communications and we’ll create a plan.

Picture Perfect

A long-time client called about gifts for volunteers at their annual appreciation luncheon. Their budget is fairly small, and the challenge is to find something newer and better each year, while staying within their price range.

Someone on her staff had suggested hand sanitizers with a neoprene sleeve around the bottle and a carabiner hook to latch onto belt loops or purse hooks. This could have been a slam-dunk order; simply find one at or below the price her staff found on-line (500 @$1.89), and bingo, I’d have a sale and could move on to the next one.

I wasn’t thrilled with the idea of hand sanitizers. The luncheon is a fairly formal event, with linen napkins and tablecloths, and held at a nice function facility. Hand sanitizers are great in a variety of settings; this wasn’t one of them.

I offered to do some research to find something that might be better. I found pocket-sized photo albums, which hold 24 photos; perfect “brag books” for this group of grand- and great-grand parents .

Not only were the albums a more appropriate gift, they cost less, saving my client almost $200.00! And I threw in the tagline: “Our Volunteers are Picture Perfect!” for free.

In the end, I made less money on the sale, and put in a lot more time than if I had simply placed the order for the hand sanitizers. For some people, that would have been “good enough.”

I don’t believe in “good enough.” Because I am a resource and consultant, and not simply an order-taker, placing an order for the sanitizers would not have been “good enough.”

Winning Tote Bags

A client needed some items to give away at a senior health event, and she needed them quickly, as the fair was a week away.

I asked the usual questions: who will be attending the event, how many do you need, and how much do you want to spend?

She was going to be out of the office, and gave me carte blanche to come up with an idea and order them.

I found a neat nylon tote bag that folds up into its own pocket, and the logo shows on the outside when the tote is opened.

The totes were a huge hit; some people came back asking if they could have one for their “friend.”

A few days later, the event coordinator called my client telling her that her own mother was at the event. When the coordinator asked her mother how she liked the event, which featured distinguished physicians making informative presentations, the mother replied, “It was great; I love those totes.”

Does your next event need this kind of recognition and exposure?