May 18, 2010
The ASI Advisory Board held its second official meeting at the ASI Show New York, where we tackled two very important topics – expanding the industry and selling direct.
While acknowledging there’s always room for industry growth, we also addressed the need for greater diversity. As our recent Women’s Summit showed, women are now a significant industry force. But on the whole, the industry doesn’t properly reflect America’s diversity. We all agreed more needs to be done to make the industry more inclusive.
ASI’s CEO, Tim Andrews, led a discussion on the many ways ASI attracts new suppliers and distributors to the industry. Afterward, one board member said to me, “If you told me we would have unanimous support for bringing in more distributors, I would have told you that you were crazy.” But in fact, we unanimously support the idea because the board is open to all the challenges the industry faces – including broadening membership scope and reach.
We also debated a hot topic some might say has been done to death: selling direct. The prickliest questions included:
We intentionally avoided discussing pricing policies or specific companies, and in coming months we’ll formally review all recommendations and implement action plans.
In the end, the board made numerous recommendations to ASI, including doing a better job advising members on ways to be even more active in order to contribute to the industry’s overall success.
On June 4, we’ll open nominations for the 2011-2013 ASI advisory boards, and I urge you to nominate yourself or anyone else who could help advance the promotional products industry. Voting will take place in September and the new board members will be announced at the annual ASI Power Summit this November.
The four ASI advisory boards that help guide ASI and the industry are:
All four boards are very active, and we have already begun acting on some recommendations. At the ASI Show Chicago, July 13-15, we hope to share an exciting new benefit for ASI members that will directly address another pressing industry issue, so please stay tuned.
In the meantime, we’d love your feedback.
Please comment on this blog post. We want to hear your take on the issues related to selling direct or other issues you think the ASI advisory boards should be tackling. (One important note: Please refrain from naming any names or we will be required to remove your post, which we hate to do.)
Dale Denham is ASI’s senior vice president. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 29, 2010
I want to let you know we’ve got more up our sleeves, including a new event in the works – the ASI Women’s Summit. It’s happening at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in New York City, on Tuesday, May 4, during the ASI Show New York.
This exclusive action-packed afternoon will provide an environment for women to network and share ideas with women leaders, peers and executives in the advertising specialty industry.
We’ll have a networking reception with beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and a luncheon keynote by Barbara Corcoran. Barbara parlayed a $1,000 loan into a $5 billion real estate business, and she now runs one of the most successful real estate firms in New York City.
The lunch will be followed by coffee and dessert with promotional products industry expert, Rosalie Marcus, The Promo Biz CoachTM. Rosalie will lead an interactive discussion about how women in our industry can leverage their strengths to build their businesses.
There’s much more, and you’re sure to leave this Summit with new ideas you can immediately apply at your company in the second half of the year.
Register by this Wednesday, March 31, and the cost of the event is only $149; after that it’s $249. To register and to learn more, click here. I look forward to seeing you in New York!
Dana Reaume is education coordinator for ASI – reach her at email@example.com.
March 8, 2010
Each year, ASI conducts the most comprehensive and important research about our industry, the Counselor State of the Industry.
So, why is it important? Because of the in-depth reports each year on key sales, marketing and operational metrics that industry practitioners can then use to build their businesses. Nowhere else do you get the scope of this detailed information about our industry. And, it’s free to ASI members.
What do you have to do? All we ask is that you take 10 minutes to complete the survey. And you could win some great prizes just for participating. There are distributor winners chosen at random for cash prizes totaling $1,500, and suppliers can win one of three full-page ads in an ASI publication of their choice.
If you’re a distributor, take the survey here.
If you’re a supplier, take the survey here.
If you’d rather take a paper version of the study, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you the PDF you can mail back to us. But hurry, the deadline is Friday, March 19.
Thank you in advance for your participation in this important research. For additional research from ASI, click here.
Larry Basinait is ASI’s executive director of research services.
February 23, 2010
Filed under: Guest Blog
We all know the recession has wreaked havoc on the industry and made daily business a struggle, but it’s also affected the way suppliers and distributors relate to one another.
Any time a company’s bottom line is affected, it can cause unwelcome practices like dried up credit terms. Distributors left high and dry must either pony-up payment beforehand or put down a credit card.
Sure it makes sense to ask a distributor with poor credit or new to the industry to pay up-front, but what about all those distributors with an excellent credit score? Suppliers should ask themselves whether or not they can really not afford to help a distributor sell.
Recently, ASI surveyed a sample of distributors to see how industry credit and credit terms were affecting their business. A majority of respondents were owners or primary contacts at their company, and 74% said getting good credit terms is a vital part of staying viable and competitive in the marketplace.
Distributors spoke out loud and clear. “Even with a very good credit rating, it is almost impossible to get terms for more than $10,000 – and usually lower amounts with suppliers with whom you haven’t done business with recently,” said one. “You’re penalized for not doing consistent business with them. It’s very tough to work without decent credit terms.”
Remember, distributors are our industry’s salespeople and suppliers provide the industry’s products. At a time when we rely on each another more than ever to grow, I’d ask suppliers to look long and hard at who they turn down when choosing not to extend terms. It may make more sense to preserve fragile relationships, by offering a proverbial olive branch or line of credit to those who are worthy.
It’s easier to maintain a good relationship than it is to go out and make a new one.
Suppliers can click here to learn more about checking distributor credit scores through CreditConnect. If you don’t use CreditConnect, try using another industry service so you can find out what a distributor’s credit score is.
Distributors can learn more about their industry credit score by sending a message to email@example.com.
Gene Rahill is sales director of ASICreditConnect – reach him here.
December 10, 2009
The hosts of ASI Internet Radio’s Tuesday Morning Show are getting their charitable vibe on this week. Just launched this week, we’re introducing the first-ever ASI Radiothon. The live event will take place next Tuesday, December 15, at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time, when we’ll dedicate our regular radio show to a charity drive to benefit The G.I. Go Fund, a great organization that assists veterans when they return to the United States.
In conjunction with the live Radiothon, there’s a silent auction taking place this week. Go to www.gigofund.org/asiradio now to check out the items up for bid (high-end promotional products all donated by industry suppliers). There are watches, sleek pens, gift sets, sunglasses, digital photo frames, and more. In this silent auction, items will go to the highest bidder and the top bid each day will be updated on the Web site. Check back often. It’s a great way to donate to charity and do your holiday shopping at the same time.
The G.I. Go Fund is definitely a worthy cause to donate to this holiday season. The organization helps veterans with financial and medical assistance upon their return from overseas. And it even sets up job fairs exclusively for returning veterans so they can find work and acclimate quicker into everyday life. Jack Fanous, the executive director of The G.I. Go Fund, will join ASI Radio on the phone next Tuesday to share stories of veterans he’s encountered and tell our audience exactly how his organization helps these people. It’s sure to be a revealing phone call to start off our Radiothon show.
So, join in on the charity drive and help us raise money for this valuable cause. Go to www.gigofund.org/asiradio now to bid on items in the auction or to make a donation. And make sure to log-on to www.asicentral.com/radio on Tuesday, December 15 at 10:30 a.m. Eastern Time to take part in the live Radiothon. Call the show at (215) 953-4979 or e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org to pledge your donation – and help us make the lives of returning veterans that much better.
To read a press release about the fundraiser, click here. And please help us get the word out by posting the auction link to your own Facebook page and social media sites, and Twitter about it too.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go bid on some auction items – I have my eye on a sweet watch.
Andy Cohen is editor of Counselor magazine and he can be reached here.
November 2, 2009
Over the past few years we’ve also enjoyed great feedback through our editorial and ASI Show advisory boards, which help us make tough decisions while providing significant insights from multiple perspectives.
Now, ASI is going one step further and establishing four new advisory boards where we will share information, discuss pressing industry issues and receive guidance from each other. The four boards are:
I’m thrilled to be involved in these boards and work directly with each board chairperson. Tim Andrews, president and CEO of ASI, will chair the ASI Advisory Board and the other three boards will be chaired by one of the ASI members serving on each board.
Board member positions are not honorary. We expect everyone to be involved and prepared for each meeting, and board members will have the opportunity – through our discussions and meetings – to shape the industry and in some cases ASI’s role in the marketplace.
I’ve had the pleasure of serving on several boards, including for-profit, non-profit and advisory. Each experience has been personally and professionally rewarding, allowing me to gain new experience while benefiting the organizations by sharing my knowledge and insights. I’ve developed lifelong relationships that have increased revenue in my own organization.
The more energy I’ve put into a board, the more everyone benefits. So the cliché rings true: You get what you give. No matter who you are, no matter what size your company is and no matter how long you’ve been in the industry, I encourage you to consider serving.
The nominating committee will select the final ballot from the nominations and present it to ASI members for an online vote in December. Final board members will be announced in January.
Details about each of the boards are available in the press release here.
Dale Denham is senior vice president of ASI.
October 29, 2009
I love you: Salespeople who didn’t view the bad economy the past year as a hopeless situation, but rather, looked at it as an opportunity to really stand out and get it done. In a year that could have resulted in the death of any salesman (or woman), you rallied.
I come to my love of great salespeople from being the editor of Advantages magazine for many years and having written about them, read about them and gained the utmost respect for them. And if you’ve read my columns in Advantages, you also know, I’ve been married to Steve, a sales executive, for 22 years. (I was a child bride…no comments, Tim Andrews.) I’m no stranger to your agonies of defeat, having heard about the “end of the month,” “making quota” and how sales “is not a 9 to 5 job, Kath,” time and time again.
On the flipside, I’m happy for your thrills of victory. Through years of relationship-building, establishing trust and loyalty among his clients, and simply checking his BlackBerry daily, Steve wrapped up three sales while we were on vacation in Key West last week. And, despite the economy, this is turning out to be one of his best years ever. Yes, I am a proud wife. But I’m also proud of you…the dedicated and determined sales professionals in our industry who have hung in there and made it happen.
Sales pros are so important to a company’s bottom line that our sister publication, Counselor magazine, even named the distributor sales rep its Person of the Year. And at Advantages magazine, we also want to recognize outstanding sales performance. So we’re looking for entries for our first-ever Salesperson of the Year contest. Think about it: In the past year, did you come up with something really creative that led to a huge sale? Did you have the largest sales volume in your company? Did you go way over 100% of your quota, despite the challenging times? Have you gone above and beyond for a client? Are you the one and only ad specialty sales rep your client would ever work with?
If you think you or one of your colleagues could be a contender, send me an e-mail pronto to: email@example.com. Let me know what makes you so spectacular in 100 words or less. Write about the measures of your success and give us one of your sales secrets. If you would like to include a client testimonial, do that too. If you’re the winner, you’ll be in the spotlight because, let’s face it, you are a superstar in your own right. Not only will you be profiled in our January issue, but you will also be the subject of a podcast interview.
In addition, a $500 Amex card and prizes to help you further succeed will be all yours. And of course, you will have bragging rights for the year…and maybe a crown. I’ll think about that one.
- Kathy Huston is the editor of Advantages magazine at ASI.