Things change. Are you adapting?

The world has changed in the last year. Early on, the constant sound heard was “when things get back to normal”. As more time has passed and the world has evolved, our expectations of return and normal have changed. The reality is that things may not ever look that same. The key is, do you?

Evolve. Embrace. Change has happened. In business, change has happened and yes, even in the promotional products space, change has happened. Fear has reared its ugly head a lot this year, but don’t let it win. This is not the first year of change. Yes, it is far more dramatic than before but move beyond the what and figure out the how. Let yourself think big, dream big and then build the plan to get you there.

Think of it like you are building a house. You had the blueprints, and they worked well. You even built a few houses in the same neighborhood based on that plan, but your new piece of property has a smaller, hillier footprint. Are you going to use the same blueprint? Probably not. You still love the plan for the house, but it is going to need to be redrawn and adapted for the current situation. You need a new blueprint, or you can’t build the house.

Get out your pencil and your paper. What can you keep the same? What must change? Think about the end of the project, is there a lake view? Will the house line up to take advantage of the lake view, or are you keeping so much the same that part of the house facing the lake is just a windowless wall?

Yes, the change and the adapting are tough! Drawing the new plan will be worth it. Give yourself the view out the window.

The same goes with Sales. Yes, you have had great success in your career so far. But maybe the buyers look different this year and their methods for buying and what they are buying is different. Remember that you had a great outlook and perspective that has taken you this far. What was it? Your charisma? The way you made things easy for your customer? Maybe it was exceptional service? So, whatever “IT” was – keep it. Those are the parts of the blueprint to keep the same.

Now, the needs of our customers changed, and we have to adapt to meet those new needs. It may not be obvious at first, but keep looking and refining. It might have taken you a long time to get the perfect blueprint before and more than likely you won’t draw this one exactly right the first time either. Get out your pencil and redraw it until you are able to line the windows up overlooking the lake. Redefine what you are doing and how you are helping your customers meet their new challenges in this hilly environment. Now, use the parts that you were always good at and let yourself shine.

Embrace your best skills, adapt what you need to, and refocus until you find your new groove.

Happy Selling. Happy Customers. Happy you!

We are thankful for…

It’s that time of year when we reflect on and give thanks for the many blessings we have in our lives. In addition to family, friends, and good health, members of our Vernon sales team shared with us what they love and appreciate about working with Vernon. Here are some of their comments:

Luke Sigle, Salesperson: I appreciate the friendship and care that Vernon leadership provides me as a salesperson.

Stephanie Vernon-Critchfield, National Sales Manager: I’m thankful to be part of the Vernon family that makes you feel that everyone is glad to help you be successful.

Jill McFarland-Packard, Salesperson: I am thankful to Vernon for the ability to keep my business healthy and active which I truly feel is because of the strong financial commitment Vernon has made to its Account Executives to keep orders moving even with so much uncertainty and chaos!! 

Kelli Denes, Director of Business Development: I am thankful for a company that treats its staff like family.

Maureen Helm, Salesperson: This year has certainly brought on its share of challenges, but I’m so grateful to have the opportunity to work from the safety of my home. I’m thankful for the Vernon home office staff who are supportive, kind, and always available to help me navigate challenges.

Eddie Moore, Salesperson: I’m thankful to be a part of the Vernon family that has such an amazing culture, I’m happy to call everyone not only coworkers, but friends.

Dave Regan, Senior VP Sales & Marketing: I am thankful to work for a company that is financially stable enough to weather this 2020 storm.

From all of us to all of you, we hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday and surround yourself with all the things that bring you joy.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Collaboration Keeps Spirits High

Recently, Vernon created a monthly, virtual get-together for our salespeople called “Coffee Collaborations.” The inspiration came largely from Kelli Denes, our Director of New Business Development. These virtual sessions provide a great opportunity for our field team members to connect, drink coffee, share ideas, and strategically plan for their business. This informal gathering was an instant hit among the group after just a few sessions. Socialization is one of the hallmarks of a career in sales, yet it’s become one of the many casualties of 2020.

This month’s call was our best one yet.  Each team member came prepared with a project or idea that they had pitched to a client recently. The exchange was fabulous.  The energy was contagious, and the creative ideas were flowing.

Hats off to all for the peer reviews & support. 

Collaboration, teamwork, and ingenuity…indeed, a very good week for Vernon!

Building Today to Create Future Success in Promo

As we’ve all seen, world events can take a huge toll on your business. Recently some of the biggest effects have been seen leading from COVID. It’s easy to say, “I’ll wait for all of this to blow over” or “My client will come back with their orders when they’re ready.” But the real question is, “How can I build today to set up for success down the road?” The following are a couple of different ways to help with that, including utilizing PPE and social media.

Have you suddenly been thrown into the new and sometimes complex world of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE)? Many of us have had to learn to expand our perspectives and sometimes move beyond our comfort zone to offer clients an entirely new category of promo products. For some, who jumped on the bandwagon early or who already had experience selling to hospitals, clinics, and other medical professionals, this wasn’t a huge stretch. For the rest of us, however, we’ve had to rethink not only what we can sell right now, but who we are selling to. And the scary situation that we’re often faced with is, even if we get that order, is it a one-and-done?

One way to keep building your business is to look at those new PPE customers as a potential promo/apparel client with long term potential. After you have given them excellent service and competitive pricing, build on that. Similar to your current clients, you can send them a thank you as a way to show them appreciation for the business, but you can include a unique sample to show them the other side of the business you can help them with, making sure that they’re aware that the branding opportunities you can offer them are endless.

Now that so many businesses have been switching over to work from home and similar models, how do you plan on getting in front of new buyers? One suggestion is to start using social media to your advantage. Many local business groups and even municipalities have started hosting virtual town hall meetings. Joining in on these and then connecting with the attendees on social media (LinkedIn or similar) could be a new way to get in front of those businesses. After connecting with these new leads, you can easily message them and introduce yourself and share what you can do to help them. Beyond virtual meeting connections, use social media platforms as a resource for finding new leads that you think could be beneficial. Building these connections and then posting content to keep in front of the new potential clients can take time, but it is another tool to add to your arsenal to stay in front of clients in a world where emails are quickly overlooked.

Adding PPE clients to your regular business programs along with marketing yourself through social media are just a couple of ways you can continue to build for future success.

Why is Social Media Important in Sales

 

Being on social media has not only become part of the social norm, but we often use it to research companies, organizations, even people. We connect through social mediums more now than ever. We rely on social media to get information, discover new things and connect with people. It influences the way we interact, buy and sell.

With social media being integrated into our lives, we have the opportunity to reach others during every part of the day. When people wake up in the morning, they often check their phones. It’s also the last thing many do before going to bed. Whether our phones already had them downloaded when we received them or whether we downloaded them ourselves, we all have social media apps on our phones and are get notifications throughout the day on activity that pertains to us (unless we’ve changed our settings not to).

As sales professionals, social media has opened up a whole new world of networking options. Social Media gives us the opportunity to share with our network and the ability to reach millions. We are able to find new prospects, cultivate relationships and research company culture, discovering more about each other than ever before. It is a resource for networking and relationship building…but you only get out of it what you put in. You never know when one of your social media posts or a message to one of your contacts will turn into your next big account. If you aren’t on social media, you are missing out.

Some of the benefits of using social media for sales are:

  • It is less expensive than traditional advertising.
  • It can help to drive traffic to your website.
  • It enables you to monitor your online reputation.
  • You have the chance to get instant feedback from your customers and handle any problems that may arise.
  • Being on social media (& active on it) shows that you keep up with your industry.
  • Your message/content has the ability to reach more people than other methods of advertising.
  • It opens up the line of communication between you, your customers and prospective clients.
  • It allows you to nurture your current customer base.
  • It provides a place to forge a real relationship with prospective clients.
  • It gives you the opportunity to let others know who you are, bring humanity to your business.

Are you capitalizing on the opportunities that social media creates?

The Vernon Company is recognized as one of the largest and most successful promotional product firms in North America. Founded in 1902 by F.L. Vernon, we serve more than 40,000 customers from our Newton, Iowa corporate headquarters.

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