Recently, I was contacted by ASI and asked to put together a video with some thoughts on how promotional products distributors can deal with the Coronavirus situation. Here’s what I recorded for them. I hope you find it helpful.
Hi, I’m David Blaise from TopSecrets.com. I hope you're doing well. If you don't know who I am, my full time job is helping promotional product distributors, primarily in North America, to increase their sales, improve their profit margins and grow their businesses.
Now you might say, "that’s great, Dave, but how in the world are you doing any of those things right now?"
Obviously, I’m doing it virtually! And today I’d like to share with you the single biggest recommendation that I am currently making to our Inner Circle and Total Market Domination clients.
First of all. Now is the time to lead.
Much of what you're going to be seeing and hearing in the news and in industry-related social media is how events are being cancelled, people aren't buying, prospects are cancelling appointments, products are out of stock, suppliers can't get hand sanitizer… big surprise there. but you already know all that.
I saw a thread recently in which a distributor talked about getting no new business and asked others to “please share in your misery.”
Which they did. To tune of over 130 comments, many of which were misery stories.
Fortunately, not all were misery stories, and some distributors had some very good suggestions to share. I applaud you! The forward thinkers, the visionaries, the solution providers. You know who you are, keep up the great work!
Certainly, if you have something helpful to say, then definitely say it, but otherwise, I would encourage you to stay out of the “my business is doing worse that your business trap” that a lot of distributors currently find themselves in.
If you want to distance yourself from things that’ll hurt you, start with the negativity.
Back to the point.
Now is the time to help!
Events and appointments are being cancelled. Prospects aren’t buying. Some products are out of stock and suppliers aren’t able to get them...
Just like EVERY OTHER DAY OF OUR LIVES!
There are ALWAYS times when we lose business, people cancel orders, a client doesn’t buy or a group of prospects are not receptive to us. That happens all the time in business, regardless of what’s going on in the economy.
When it happens during the ordinary course of business, it’s frustrating, but we shake it off and we continue to move forward.
We may be annoyed, but we’re usually not terrified.
Why is that?
It’s because we know what to do… continue to move forward.
HOWEVER, the difference right now, is that MORE people are cancelling orders, losing business, not buying and not being receptive.
So I’m not saying the problem isn’t real. It is.
But unlike normal times, the response… the “what to do about it” isn’t as obvious.
Do we pretend it’s not happening and try to engage in business as usual?
Do we put on a happy face and pretend everything is great?
Do we avoid marketing ourselves, because we’re afraid of being seen as insensitive for trying to conduct business during a difficult time?
Do we attempt to profiteer and gouge the market when people are desperate?
Or do we lay low, hunker down and just wait for it to all blow over?
I don’t know how you’re currently answering these questions, but my answer to all of the above is NO.
Situations like this require a much smarter, more focused approach.
Prospecting right now is not about cold calling and networking and getting referrals.
Right now, prospecting is less about “what can I sell you,” and more about “how can I help?”
How. Can you. Help?
That’s the question.
When we think in terms of “what can I sell you,” if an event is cancelled, we say, “oh no, I lost an order.”
When we think in terms of “how can I help,” when an event is cancelled, we say to our client, “oh no, I’m so sorry to hear that. How is that impacting your business?”
And then they might tell you how they were planning on that event to generate 150 new prospects, and now won’t be able to generate them.
But if you want to help, you might say.
Would it make sense for us to figure out a way to put together a low-cost promotion designed to help you attract the new prospects you need without all the additional expense of the event?
In other words, what if we could figure out a way to get you the leads you need, without you having to travel, stay in a hotel, go to an event, man a booth, interact face to face, collect business cards, travel home and then follow up?
What if we could allow you to continue to do your social distancing, and get the prospects you need WITHOUT having to leave your house?
Is that worth talking about?
Right now, there is a percentage of the market who will not buy.
Our job is to find those who will.
Right now, there are prospects who are cutting their marketing budgets.
Our job is to find those who are not.
Right now, there are people who are absolutely intent on burying their heads in the sand and waiting… until they either go out of business, or all of this blows over.
Our job is to neither TARGET them, nor BECOME them.
You may be tempted to want to persuade them.
You may be tempted to want to convert them.
You may be tempted to want to convince them.
My advice? Resist the urge.
Recently, a member of our inner circle group asked me, “how do you help people who just won’t do anything to help themselves?”
And I don’t believe you can.
You can’t force them to promote. You can’t force them to buy. You can’t even force them to consider things from another perspective.
All you can do is ask.
You can offer to help.
And some percentage of the market will say yes.
Is that percentage smaller than it was before all this started?
Of course. But they’re still out there.
And if you really want to help them. And help yourself.
Then now’s the time.
If you’re ready to lead, it’s about focusing your attention on finding and HELPING THOSE who actually WANT OUR HELP NOW.
Right now, I’m taking a three step approach with my clients.
Step one is to stay healthy and safe.
Step two is minimize short term damage to the business and
Step three is to position yourself as the leader, right now, when things are still tough, so as things start to improve, your people will remember that you were the one who was in communication. You were the one that was talking to them, thinking about them, and trying to help them.