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!

10 Quotes for Business Success

The first in a series of blog posts by Vernon Subject Matter Experts.

By: Dale Worden


“PMA – Positive Mental Attitude” – W. Clement Stone, Combined International

You have a choice every day when you wake up. If you choose to be positive, it will be a much better day. People are attracted to positive people and turned off by those who choose to be negative!

“People don’t plan to fail, they fail to plan.” – Winston Churchill

If you don’t sit down and write out a plan for what you want to accomplish, you won’t        get nearly as much done. Write down your goals for the year. Then, write down the tasks you need to complete with a timeline to reach those goals. Watch how much more you accomplish when following a plan.

“You can’t manage what you don’t measure.” – Lord Kelvin, paraphrased by Bill Hewlett

Now that you have a plan in place, from time to time you’ll need to check your progress    against the goals and timeline you set for yourself in your plan. Simply make adjustments or change focus to get back on track.

“Practice doesn’t make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.” – Vince Lombardi

This one pretty much speaks for itself. Your presentation is important. Practice it aloud until you are fully prepared, and practice it right!

“Do the things you don’t want to do, when you don’t want to do them.” – Jim Howard (An old boss)

Ever notice how problems seem to get worse as more time goes by. You can solve that by addressing problems immediately. It’s not as easy as I may make it sound, but if you make it your process for managing every problem, it becomes easier.

“Under promise and over deliver.” – Tom Peters, Business Consultant

This is the secret to making yourself look good. You obviously can’t do it in every   situation, but be as consistent as possible. The alternative isn’t pretty!

“A man’s got to know his limitations.” – Dirty Harry (Clint Eastwood)

You can’t be everything to everyone. Recognize your strengths and play to them. Recognize weaknesses and don’t be afraid to admit that you can’t fulfill a request.

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can adapt to change.” – LSU Professor Leon C Megginson – Often misattributed to Charles Darwin

The simple fact is that if we don’t anticipate or keep up with change, we will be left in the competitions dust!  It all starts with a willingness to listen and learn!

“No matter how smart I think I am, I’ve got to have a to-do list.” – Dale Worden

It only took me 40 years to realize that if at the end of each day I would just write down all the things I needed to do tomorrow, I would be twice as productive. Unfortunately, the older I get the more this is true. This is the easiest way to improve personal productivity I have learned in my career.

“Surround yourself with good people.” – Karl Marx

My father always told me that you can’t always be the best at everything, but your best chance at achieving the most success is to surround yourself with good people. Fortunately, I joined the Vernon Company over 17 years ago and have never looked back!

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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