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A Supplier’s Way to Help Distributors – Offer EQP

Filed under: Community, Guest Blog, Industry Initiatives

Usually I wouldn’t post even slightly commercial guest blogs from ASI members, but I received the following email from a prominent industry supplier and wanted to pass it along.

From Tom O’Boyle, president of Journalbooks/Timeplanner Calendars:

Between pharma and banking and cut backs from most other companies, we figure distributors could really use some relief.  

As a supplier, we wanted to help, so we decided to do something we have never done before:  offer EQP on everything, with no restrictions or fine print, through August 31. 

EQP refers to ‘End Quantity Pricing’ – and it is the lowest price a supplier can possibly offer a distributor for an item.  It is typically the lowest price offered for high-quantity orders. 

If our customers have already earned EQP on anther order, then we will provide EQP less 5%.

We are trying to give distributors and their sales people ammo to close sales, even if we sacrifice a bit of our own margin.  We have urged other suppliers, and even our competitors, to follow our lead.

Temporary pain for us may help a few distributors do better.

Virtual Trade Show Draws 2,000+ Distributors; Next in August

Filed under: ASI Shows, Industry Initiatives, Member Benefits, Members, News About ASI

At a time when other shows are down, ASI is delivering.  Our first industry virtual trade show took full advantage of the latest technologies and attracted over 2,000 distributors. Demand from suppliers was so great we’ve added a second virtual trade show, scheduled for Wednesday, August 19.

For those who could not attend this week’s show, it will be available on demand at www.asicentral.com/vts, beginning Tuesday, May 26.  

Read the press release here.

No one else in the industry is doing more for distributors, suppliers and decorators.  By offering a cutting-edge virtual trade show, ASI proved it’s able to respond effectively to the times with the resources you need now.

Above and below: ASI staff interacting with attendees in the show’s online chat rooms.

In addition to networking and selling, our online event also featured leading education sessions for distributors.  Sessions included sales tips, research from ASI’s advertising specialties impressions study, information from the Counselor State of the Industry report, and a live broadcast of the ASI Internet Radio Show that attracted over 200 live listeners. 

Reactions from attendees were positive:

  • “I attended the virtual trade show,” said Joel D. Schaffer, CEO of Soundline LLC (asi/88241).  “While the food was tasteless, ASI did a great job.  The ‘experience’ was top shelf.” 
  • “ASI and the participating vendors have done an excellent job and it was an interesting and informative experience,” said Marsha Londe, owner of Tango! (asi/828198).  “It’s worth an hour to explore simply to see what’s going on with cyber-selling.  The more informed we are, the better we can work with our clients.”
  • “Sit in the comfort of your own office and visit and network,” said Sheery Lochstoer, owner of K-N-A Sales LLC (asi/238392).  “Got to love it.”

The next event in August will build on these great features we offered this week:

  • Exhibit Hall.  Supplier booths featuring product demonstrations, catalogs and samples.  Distributors and suppliers could chat online inside each booth.     
  • Education Center.  Distributors turned challenges into opportunities with a variety of leading industry education sessions, downloadable white papers and ASI’s latest industry tips and techniques to expand business.  
  • Catalog & Information Room.  One-stop shopping for catalogs and white papers from suppliers, which were all accessible in a PDF format that could be viewed and saved.

Registration for the next ASI Virtual Trade Show is free for distributors – more information coming soon – and suppliers can exhibit.  To exhibit, contact Dan Dienna, advertising director for catalogs and electronics, at ddienna@asicentral.com.   

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What Keeps the “Open” Sign on?

Filed under: Industry Initiatives

How many times have you gotten lousy service – but instead of confronting the owners, simply stopped giving them your business?

As any successful business owner will tell you, feedback – good or bad – is the only real way to make the improvements necessary to keep customers happy and the “open” sign out on the front door.

I respect the constant give-and-take from our members, because it keeps every one of us on our toes.  So I was especially pleased with a recent blog from Bobby Lehew, which presents a frank, and I believe fair, assessment of our business in the last few years. 

Read his post here.

Full disclosure:  Bobby has been an education speaker at ASI shows.

I’d love to hear your feedback as well anytime.  Post a comment now or email me here.

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Facts and Photos From Toronto’s Roadshow

Filed under: ASI Shows, Community, Industry Initiatives, Member Benefits, Members, News About ASI

I attended an Advantages Roadshow in the world-class city of Toronto, along with our “True North” hosts, Fred and Leslie Oesen, and wanted to share some photos and information from the trip.

Canada is one of the largest trading partners overall with the U.S. and promotional products sales are about $3.5 billion there.  We’re committed to the Canadian marketplace and provide Canadian versions of LogoMall websites for distributors and ESP Online – featuring Canadian suppliers – and our best-in-class Advantages Roadshows now reach nine cities in Canada. 

I’m also looking forward to seeing our Canadian suppliers and distributors at the ASI Show in Chicago, where we host a special Canadian reception that’s typically packed.  When you share a border that’s 5,522 miles long, shows on both sides are paving a lot of two-way streets leading to better business.

Let me know if you have any stories or experiences from the beautiful Northern Lights country by posting a comment now or email me here.

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Cut Costs on Credit Card Processing

Filed under: Education, Guest Blog, Industry Initiatives, Member Benefits

Do you know what you are paying in credit card processing fees for your customer orders? 

I can tell you most distributors, suppliers and decorators significantly underestimate the rate they are paying associated with accepting credit cards.

Your monthly merchant account statement will have a rate posted on the front page.  However, hidden additional fees are typically on the back pages.  Hidden fees can be confusing and may not even be posted as a percentage.  When you add the posted rate and the hidden fees, the effective rate can very easily double and even triple.

The ASI Merchant Account Program, provided by Access Group, can help you understand your current costs by providing a FREE, no-obligation savings comparison that will identify your current rate and all of the additional hidden fees.

The program typically saves members on average 30%, and can be as much as 50%.  That’s a potential new savings of $100 – $1,000 per month for most companies. 

Take a minute now to complete the savings comparison form

Also, see how the ASI member program stacks up against other programs and how it provides you with the most value – click here for an analysis.

Especially in times like these, I encourage you to take a serious look at this ASI member benefit and see how much you might be able to save automatically on something you’re probably doing everyday in the course of your business.  For more member benefits from ASI, click here.

Cathy Martino is affiliate relations manager for ASI.  Email her here.

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New Virtual Trade Show for our Industry

Filed under: ASI Shows, Industry Initiatives, Member Benefits, News About ASI

May 20 is a special date on the ASI calendar – our virtual trade show for the industry featuring Dard Products, Maple Ridge Farms, Prime Resources, and other top suppliers.  

This all-day, real-time event is the perfect alternative in challenging times for distributors, suppliers and decorators to connect, network and sell – without packing a single suitcase – and will feature a variety of top suppliers.  And, it’s free for distributors.

It’s also a prime opportunity for distributors to attend ASI’s education sessions to gain new insight into ways advertising and marketing can build market share now. 

A virtual trade show isn’t a substitute for face-to-face meetings at bricks and mortar trade shows (ASI Chicago is coming up fast in July), but we’re thrilled to provide an additional way to bring people together.  Today it’s more important than ever for salespeople and suppliers to find each other, find the right products, and sell.

And for many sales staff who often can’t travel to industry shows, there’s no more productive outlet than this show.

Click here for a video message from me with more information. 

As you’ll discover, our virtual trade show offers many useful features, like booths from top exhibiting suppliers, real-time chat between distributors and suppliers, and downloadable supplier catalogs and educational resources.

More details are provided in the press release, available here.

And if May 20 is already booked on your calendar, don’t worry.  The show will be available anytime for six months following the live event.

Registration for the ASI Virtual Trade Show is available to distributors for free – and with an added bonus.  At registration, distributors will receive a free download of ASI’s new Distributor Success System – worth over $180 – with tips and proven strategies to spur business. 

Visit asicentral.com/vts to register.  Let me know what you think about the trade show by posting a comment now or by emailing me here.

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