Top 10 Ways to Increase Your Summer Promotional Products Sales!

Is the summer traditionally a slow time for your promotional products sales? It need not be.
While some may view the summer season as a time to relax and kick back, savvy promotional products sales professionals are out there exploring new opportunities and revving up their sales.

Here are my top 10 ways to increase your summer promotional products sales.

1. Get out of the office. The summer is a great time to get to know your prospects and clients better. A casual breakfast or lunch can yield great results. In my own business whenever I’ve had breakfast or lunch with a client amazing opportunities presented themselves. Remember, people buy from others they know, like and trust. Meeting your clients on more casual turf builds that know, like and trust factor.

2. Send a promotional idea of the week email blast. Your prospects and clients are always looking for new ideas. Send them a new, innovative promotional idea every week. Preferably send it out the same day, so they will come to expect it. Keep it short and don’t just push products. Provide marketing tips along with new product ideas. This helps position you as a marketing professional and puts your company name top of the mind as the first one they’ll think of when they’re ready to place an order.

3. Host a Christmas in July party. It’s never too early to start thinking about holiday gifts. Host a Christmas in July party and invite your top clients. Show them innovative holiday gifts at a cost savings when they order early.

4. Form strategic alliances. Who else serves the same target market but is not a direct competitor? Meeting planners, trade show display companies and graphic designers can make great alliance partners for promotional products sales professionals. Explore ways that you can work together for mutual benefit. Consider hosting an open house for all your current clients and prospects.

5. Spotlight fall promotions: Now is the time to be selling fall promotions. Back to School, Halloween, Breast Cancer Awareness month and Thanksgiving are all coming up. Make appointments to get in your prospects office to share new ideas and secure promotional products orders for upcoming events before your competitors do.

6. Explore new networking opportunities. In person networking is still one of the best ways to grow your sales. Get out there in a big way and look with an open mind at new groups to join. Many promotional products professionals have had great success with organizations such as (Business Networking International (BNI). Go a few times before you join to see if the group is a good fit for the markets you’re targeting.

7. Re-activate dormant accounts. Just because someone hasn’t purchased in a long time doesn’t mean they’re not interested. A casual phone call telling an inactive account about an innovative new product or idea that can help them promote their company or service can reinstate an old relationship. At the very least, ask if you can put them on your idea list and continue to send them new marketing tips. The important thing is to keep your company name on their radar screen.

8. Energize your social network. Social networking is here to stay. If you don’t currently have a Facebook fan page or a Twitter account the summer is a great time to get started. Read books and take classes on social networking. Take a look at what others are doing in our industry. The key to social networking is to engage your clients by posting interesting questions or hosting fun contests. Social networking can be a great research tool to find out what’s important to your most wanted clients so you can best meet their promotional needs.

9. Self promote. Self promotions help you sell more. Your core suppliers will have great ideas and special offers to put your logo on. When networking don’t just hand out your business card, give a small self-promotion with your company name such as a box of mints, or a post it pad or a business card holder. You’ll be remembered for what you do and you will get new business. No matter where you are this summer, on the beach, at the supermarket, on an airplane, always have a business card and self promotion handy. You never know where your next big order is coming from.

10. Stay informed. Opportunities abound when you look for them. Consistently read the business section of your local paper and get to know what’s happening in your area. Corporate name changes and new business openings are good opportunities for you to sell more.

Enjoy the summer and keep on selling!

© 2012 Rosalie Marcus

Light year Alliance Review

Light year Alliance is one of the biggest digital phone and broadband internet providers that was founded by John S. Henderson in 2003. The company boasts of 80,000 sq. ft World Headquarters and about 100,000 customers. It is the direct sales section of Light year Network Solutions that serves as its parent company. The customers are mainly residential users, small offices and home office users.

The company is led by an expert team of individuals who have a great deal of experience in the phone and Internet industry. It also consists of a representative who is making efforts to help Spanish speaking people benefit from the company’s services and products. It has also found a place in magazines such as USA Today, the Economist and Red Herring, as per the Light year Alliance news room division. Not only this, the company is involved with the USA Harvest, an NGO that is committed to serve the hungry in the US.

Light year Alliance provides digital broadband phone services and broadband Internet to its customers. The company has various local and long distance calling packages and other options like three-way calling, call waiting, call forwarding besides the usual services. There is an option of unlimited calling to the United States and Canada. However, only the cost of the digital phone service is mentioned on their website. Any other information can be obtained by contacting the company only.

All these products are sold through the independent sales representatives of Light year Alliance. These representatives are paid every week. The company has a program called ‘My Wireless Rep’ which they can use for making business. There is an Online Wireless Store that helps customers to join for the wireless phone service from the whole of U.S. One more novel thing is the Extraordinaire Magazine $2,000 Guarantee. The website claims that if you follow their 4-step process for 6 months, you will earn at least $2000, or the company will pay you the difference.

The whole idea is that the greater number of people that a representative has working under him, the greater will be his earnings as commission and bonuses. It is nothing but a pyramid scheme sales opportunity. The Online store has Flash videos that a probable representative can view for details. However, Light year Alliance website does not mention anything about the training given to them and the start up costs. It is advisable that you clarify all your doubts with an existing customer or representative and then think of joining.

Beware of Partnering Promises: Validate Why and Who To Engage With Before Forming Business Alliances

Before you engage in any partnering effort, be sure your expectations are valid. Do
you have good reasons to partner with other businesses? You should. Do you know
enough about your partner? You should. Beware of the wrong deal or the wrong
partner. But don’t let that scare you off. Partnering may be your company’s most
lucrative path for revenue growth and innovation development.

Don’t be swayed by promises your partner may not be able to keep. Don’t be
sucked into deals offering revenue you may never see. First, you must define your
own partnering goals. Second, find a compatible ally. Before you start negotiating
with anyone, conduct the appropriate due diligence to be sure they are actually
capable of delivering up their end of the bargain.

The First Step in A Thousand Partnerships

Whether your business generates profits directly or indirectly, markets or makes
products or services, sells via the Web or a sales force, offers parts or end-to-end
solutions, operates locally or globally, you cannot afford to ignore the partnering
opportunities available to you right now for growing revenue, innovation and brand
equity.

But before you begin to engage potential partners, think about how far you want
this journey to take you. Chinese philosopher Lao-tzu is quoted as saying, “A
journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step.” On its surface the statement
seems to say the obvious. After all, even if the journey is only two steps long, it
begins with a first step. So what did he really mean? Your level of commitment and
resolution to reach your destination is encapsulated in how you begin. Very little
determination is required in taking two steps. But one who embarks on a thousand
mile walk must summon a whole lot of tenacity and purpose into that first step.

Starting down the path of partnership is similar. Don’t take it lightly. View your first
partnering initiative as the first of many – the first step in a thousand partnerships.
Fail to start out right and nothing of consequence can follow. Start with the right
reason and a good understanding of the path before you and you’re on your way to
reaching your goal.

Before You Begin: Choose A Powerful Reason To Start With

Before you engage in the partnering process, be sure to have a clear plan. First,
decide on the best reasons to pursue alliances.

Your first alliance should be a strong one. Have a reason powerful enough to launch
your enterprise on its way to future partnerships — able to take you as far as you
can foresee.

Here are ten solid reasons for engaging in partnerships:

1. Customer Access – Two marketers exchanging access to compatible
customers.

2. Sales Initiatives – Producer or marketer working in tandem with a sales
force organization, retailer or Web store to increase sales.

3. Market Expansion – Partnership aimed at penetrating new or niche
markets.

4. Unique Value Alliance – Marketer with strong customer base partners
with innovative supplier adding unique value to the marketer’s offering and
increased sales for the supplier.

5. Building Scale – Partnership formed to achieve economies of scale.

6. Innovation and Specialization – Public, education or private enterprises
combine financial and knowledge resources to research and develop innovative or
specialty products, services or solutions.

7. Supply Chain Stability – Marketers trade exclusivity with suppliers in
exchange for investment in quality, cost reduction, and priority speed to market;
The supplier is able to make long-term commitments at stable levels and pass on
the benefits to the marketer.

8. Distributor Partnering – An alliance between manufacturers and
distributors to provide access to new markets, domestic or foreign, or strengthen a
position in existing markets.

9. Parts Manufacturing Partnership – Two or more manufacturers of
component parts pool their resources to produce a better product.

10. Licensing Agreements – Alliances providing license to proprietary
products, support services or technology.

Before You Engage: Learn About the Road You Will Be Taking

You may be motivated to go the thousand miles until you discover it’s all uphill. So
before you start on your way, be sure you know what’s in front of you. Six of ten
alliances collapse at some point down the road, because one or more of the
partners failed to do their due diligence. Before you engage a partner, learn the
following:

1. Management Strength and Integrity – Who runs the company – senior
officers and board of directors? Are these people dealing from strength or
weakness? Do they deal with integrity or are they the kind to cut corners or look the
other way? Do they have a litigation history?

2. Short-term Objectives and Long-term Goals – What is their corporate
strategy? What is their partnering strategy? What will they gain by partnering with
you?

3. Performance Rating – Is their organization efficient? Is it flexible? Is it
focused? Do they have other partners? How well have these alliances performed?
How well have they performed in the past? Regarding: quality of goods or services,
speed of delivery, pricing and management response to solving problems.

4. Capabilities and Innovations – What are their capabilities: past, present
and future? How committed are they to investing in capabilities that would benefit
your business? How creative are they? Are they unique and innovative?

5. Financial Considerations – What is their credit standing? Are they
profitable – as measured by EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation
and Amortization)? Are they growing? At what rate – as measured by CAGR
(Compound Annual Growth Rate)?

6. Resources and Employees – Do they have the resources to deliver on
their end of the partnership at the scale required? Do they have the staff or
outsourcing to fulfill your orders? Are there unresolved issues with labor or former
employees?

7. Risks and Compatibilities – Are your trade secrets safe with them? Is
their company a fit with your company in regards to markets and cultures? Are they
looking for an exit strategy? How would a change in management or ownership
affect your alliance? Will they be sold in the near future or right after they close the
deal with your company? Is your partner planning on bringing in new investors? How
can you get out of a failing alliance? Who will own new intellectual property rights
and patents produced by your partnering?

Before you make contact with the prospect partner conduct as much research as is
available to you. A second, more comprehensive and mutual due diligence phase
must be undertaken once both parties have agreed to embark on negotiations. You
will want to personally visit your prospect partner’s offices or production facilities.