If you have been in our industry (Promotional Products) for any amount of time, this has happened to you. You get contacted by a client or prospect saying "We found this (specific) product online and we wanted to buy it from you." This can be very exciting because it means two things:
1) Your competitors marketing has now provided you an opportunity!
2) Your customer WANTS to do business with you (your relationship withe them matters).
But there is a caveat to this situation as well. Because your client has randomly found this product (and thereby this supplier) online, you have no way to know what they are like. Can this supplier meet the customer's date? Is their imprinting process quality? Will they keep their promises? Who knows? Additionally, by the time the client has called you, they are often very specifically interested in THAT product. So it's tough to redirect them. Most customers don't understand that every product online is NOT the same.
This happened to us VERY recently. Although we have a specific group of suppliers we try to focus our business with, the customer wanted THAT product. So we sent the business to this new supplier. As you might expect (since I have come this far in the story) the new supplier did NOT come through. We were left on Thursday night, with an angry customer that would not be receiving their "marketing joy" for their Friday event.
That's when one of us suggested that we go to one of our tried and true suppliers (Gold Bond) and see if they had anything similar. We found they had something "close enough" so we called, emailed and texted them...after hours on Thursday! (Did we mention the event was the next day)?
What happened next felt a little bit like a Christmas miracle!
Chase Thompson (VP of Sales at Gold Bond) worked with his internal team (until 10:30pm) to check stock of the item in question, worked to create the screens over night, and arranged for his production team to start on these at 7am the next morning. Chase directed 3 way calls with the group involved on the project and worked relentlessly to put the details together. His team worked to produce the order AND then DRIVE the order to the event (5 hours away!) so they would be in the customer's hands on FRIDAY!
No one wants to have to pull a miracle. But there are lessons to be learned here.
1) Buyer beware when you work with someone you DON'T have a relationship with...for someone you do.
2) It is amazing what can happen when you focus your business with only your best suppliers...and leverage that partnership!
Thanks Chase and all the Gold Bond team! All of us at Hasseman Marketing really do appreciate it!
Friday, September 12, 2014
Saturday, September 6, 2014
Recently, the Hasseman Marketing team went to a regional promotional products show at Put In Bay. Our local OPPA group created the PAB (Promotions at the Bay) a few years ago. This is a different kind of show for a few reasons.
First, it is in Put In Bay! It's a very fun atmosphere and a more laid back place to do business. The other big difference is the investment it takes for distributors to attend the show. There is travel, overnights, ferry tickets, food and more. All in all, it takes a more dedicated kind of business person to "invest" the money to make this a priority. At HMC, we are proud to be a consistent participant.
*Let me be clear that I am NOT talking about our supplier partners here. They spend money at all of these events and we (at Hasseman Marketing) appreciate that! But for people on our side of the business, many of these regional shows are free.
I bring this up for two reasons. First, if the people you are doing business are not investing their time and money to be the very best at what they do, how can they possibly be doing the best work for you? Just something to consider!
Second, what are YOU doing (in any industry) to make sure you are on top of your game? What trainings or events do you attend? How are you helping your overall industry? It's something you (should) expect from your suppliers. Are you doing the same for your customers?
Remember, unless you're the lead dog the view never changes.