Over the past few weeks, I have wrapped up my Farewell Tour and closed out my remaining mentoring and advising clients. On Wednesday, December 19th, I will turn off the lights for the last time and bring my career as a greeting card and gift sales rep to a close. As you are probably aware, I am taking 2013 as a sabbatical. Though I won’t be posting regularly, you can keep up with my adventures through my Facebook page.But, my decision to reboot does not mean you’ll be left in the lurch!
Starting in January, Rob’s “Power Minute” will be back, and you will continue to get the best, most experienced and comprehensive product development and sales education opportunities in the industry. Nobody does it better. Nobody. In order to keep hearing from Rob, be sure you register for his newsletter here.2013 is going to be an amazing year for creative companies and sales opportunities are going to appear everywhere. I can’t wait to hear about all of your success.
But, before Road Rage shuts down, I’d like to thank each of you.
Thank you for teaching me how to build and run a business that puts people first. Thank you for your friendship, support and humor. Thank you for holding me accountable, keeping me on track, and for sticking with me through it all. I’d like to think we’ve all come farther because of each other. I know I am better off from knowing, working with and serving each of you.
Thank you, again, for all you’ve done for me.
See you on the other side!
I couldn't think of a better way to cap my career as a sales rep and of the Farewell Tour than with a music video....and don't miss the bonus at the end. Enjoy!
(I snagged this from a recent edition of the National Stationary Show's Paper Clips ezine).
|Top 10 Fashion Color Trends from Pantone|
By Leatrice Eiseman, Executive Director, Pantone Color Institute®
Among the outstanding roster of speakers at the 2012 NSS was Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute and director of the Eiseman Center for Color Information and Training, whose seminar, “Color Trends to Keep Your Eye On,” drew a standing-room-only crowd.
Since trends in the stationery and gift categories tend to follow trends in the fashion industry, it’s important to be aware of the upcoming season’s color directions. Here, Eiseman shares Pantone’s top colors for women’s fashion for spring 2013:
1. Tender Shoots – The prevalence of green this spring is undeniable. Similar to the many shades in our natural surroundings, this season’s greens offer a stunning foreground or the perfect backdrop for all other hues. Like the first signs of spring, Tender Shoots, a vibrant yellow-green, is invigorating, active and cheerful.
2. Grayed Jade – A subtle, hushed green with a gray undertone, Grayed Jade brings about a mood of quiet reflection and repose.
3. Emerald – Sophisticated Emerald, a lively, radiant green, inspires insight and clarity while enhancing our sense of well-being. From one extreme to the other, combining all three greens presents an intriguing choice much like Mother Nature intended.
4. African Violet – Exotic African Violet is a statement color that brings a touch of intrigue to the palette, as purples often do, and can be incorporated into many unexpected combinations, including paired with exuberant Poppy Red.
5. Poppy Red – This is a seductive, sensual and celebratory shade. Whether it’s a knockout dress or a kiss on the lips, every woman’s wardrobe and beauty essentials should include this spirited, true red.
6. Nectarine – A bright, effervescent citrus orange with coral undertones, Nectarine provides a tangy burst of flavor.
7. Lemon Zest – Cheerful Lemon Zest brings out a piquant taste with its refreshing, spritely greenish cast.
8. Dusk Blue – Signifying the time of day when everything starts to wind down, Dusk Blue offers a calming sense of serenity akin to its green counterpart, Grayed Jade. Both of these colors act as the season’s newest neutrals. For an unexpected mix, pair Dusk Blue with the intensity of Nectarine.
9. Linen – A warm neutral, Linen is light and airy, providing a nude-like basic that is a must have for spring. Try pairing Linen with Grayed Jade or Dusk Blue.
10. Monaco Blue – Anchoring Monaco Blue is a classic shade that offers both stability and depth to the entire palette. Combine Monaco Blue with Poppy Red and Linen, or Monaco Blue and Emerald for a fresh collegiate look.
“The expression ’balancing act’ is something we all relate to as we strive to find harmony in the frantic pace of our everyday lives,” says Eiseman. “The same can be said for fashion as we look for balance between light and bright, classic and new. This season's color palette emphasizes this need for balance, while at the same time allowing for individuality, self-expression and excitement.”
At the end of the day, paper is paper. There aren’t really any original ideas and no line is truly unique—no matter how much we want to believe otherwise. There isn’t anything most of us offer that our customers can’t get somewhere else…or at least come pretty close to.
So, if we’re on a level playing field, how do we stand out from the competition? If it isn’t about product, what is it about?
The answer is easy: service.
Here are 7 simple ways to stand out from your competition and dazzle your customers:
1. Be available to your customers during peak times of the day, week and year. Part of your job is to be available to your customers when they need you…even if it is at 5pm on a Friday.
2. Get and use a customer relationship management (CRM) software program. It will streamline and simplify your customer information and increase your efficiency, not to mention ability to track details.
3. Proactively schedule call days every quarter to check in with your active accounts.
4. Schedule weekly “Dialing for Dollars” days to develop and attack your prospect list.
5. Make sending holiday cards to your customers and vendors a priority. If you’re in the paper business, you better smoke what you’re selling!
6. Put your customers first. Triple-check each order and invoice and ship within 24 hours. Answer the phone when it rings and respond to email within hours…not days! Don’t debate problems; just fix them.
7. Read Gary Vanynerchuk’s brilliant book, The Thank You Economy, for creative ideas and inspiration for competing in the rapidly changing market.
Great customer service is usually nothing more than a little attention, a little time, and a little extra effort. Being nice is free and any business, no matter what your budget, can afford that line item!
Wow! You kids are hardcore. All of the available times for the Black Friday and Cyber Monday Fire Sale are completely sold out.
I do have a waiting list started so if you want to reserve a time, please let me know and if I have anything become available, I'll let you know. Anything that does open up will be December 17, 18 or 19 only.
Congratulations to those businesses who got appointments. I can't wait to help you kick some serious ass in 2013.
I’ll be the first to admit that I like living large. I like my meals big and rich, my wine free flowing, my music loud and gritty, and I like taking up a lot of room. You may be the total opposite and enjoy haute cuisine meals, Gregorian chants and a quiet, reflective existence. It doesn’t matter.
We still have one core thing in common: enthusiasm
One of the most important things you can understand is the difference between excitement and commitment. You can be super excited about that new treadmill in your basement, but without the commitment to getting on it, you’re looking at a glorified clothes hanger in a couple of weeks. Sound familiar?
Excitement requires external stimulus to keep you engaged; Commitment comes from the inside. Inspiration comes from the outside; Motivation can only come from you.
The best of intentions can get warped if your mind is wild and undisciplined. One of my mentors taught me early on was that if I didn’t get my mind straightened out, I’d never get my business straightened out. She was right and much of getting my mind straight was about self-discipline.
I am not a good rule follower so the idea of self-discipline didn’t resonate with me, just like it might not resonate with you. With this change of mindset, the things that began to give me the greatest sense of accomplishment didn’t involve winning a competition or attaining a goal. It was about adhering to a new set of restrictions I’d given myself. The other successes came as a result of the new restrictions.
What are some areas you could benefit from a good dose of self-discipline? TV? Internet perusing? Food? Negative thinking? Waiting to “feel like it” instead of sitting your ass in the chair and just doing the work?
By building your self-discipline, you are building your confidence.
Every time you say 'no' to a bad habit or say 'yes' to something that is positive (but maybe not as much fun), you are doing yourself—and your business—a great favor.
The #1 roadblock that comes up for the majority of manufacturers and sales reps I work with is the fear of rejection, also known as being told “no.”No, I don’t want to order.No, I don’t want an appointment.No, I don’t like you, your product or your dog.Rejection is hard for anyone, even the most experienced and seasoned. But remember, this is all a numbers game. You will hear 10 “no’s” for every 1 “yes.” Those are pretty tough odds. So, how do you turn a “no” into something else? I have decided that there are 2 Types of No: “No (now)” and “No (forever)”.No (now) just means the store isn’t going to order today. There are lots of reasons for this. Be prepared to ask the buyer when a good time to follow up with them might be. If they say they’ll call you, schedule a check in call for yourself in 8-12 weeks.
No (forever) means just that, except it doesn’t. In the sales rockstar world, it means “call me when you have a new release/rework your line/have new products.” Knowing about the two types of no gives you the chance to have some fun. When a buyer says “no,” ask them if it’s now or forever. They’ll tell you (and eliminate the guess work on your part). Then you can make informed decisions on how to proceed. Rejection is part of the game but it hearing it once doesn’t have to kill your sales mojo.
The schedule for the Farewell Tour are getting confirmed right and left. Here is the most recent schedule.
September 10-14: Washington, DC
September 18-20: Baltimore, MD
September 21: Frederick, MD
September 24: Wilmington & Newark, DE
September 25-28: Delaware Beaches, Ocean City and Eastern Shore (MD)
October 2-4: Charlottesville, VA
October 8: Abingdon, VA
October 9: Roanoke, VA
October 10: Lynchburg & Lexington, VA
October 11: Staunton, VA
October 12: Winchester, VA
October 15-16: Virginia Beach, VA
October 17: Norfolk, VA
October 18: Richmond, VA
October 19: Fredericksburg, VA
October 23-25: Annapolis, MD
You can get up to the minute dates as well as all kinds of other nifty things by visiting my website
See you soon!