Quacks and Hacks in the Promotional Products Industry

Odd Salesman

This week’s message is only for the true professionals in our industry. It is specifically NOT for the dabblers, sidlers, hobbyists or freebie seekers. If you find the message in today’s podcast offensive, please unsubscribe using the link below. If you find it uplifting and inspiring, forward it to an industry professional you like and respect… and leave us a comment below.

Over the years, I’ve made comments about quacks and hacks in the promotional products industry. I’ve also referenced the dabblers, sidlers, hobbyists and freebie-seekers.

My purpose in doing this is not to insult people, but merely to point out that in any industry — not just ours — there are people who don’t always approach business as a business. There are some who don’t take the idea of their business seriously. They don’t bother to invest the time, energy or resources to learn how to do things better.

When I say “take things seriously,” I don’t mean you can’t have fun with it. This can be a really fun industry. But it’s always more fun when you can do things well and earn a significant amount of money in the process.

I’ve been fortunate to conduct live training at the major industry trade shows in the United States, Canada and Australia since 2001. If you attend any of these shows you’ll notice that it’s a relatively small subset of the attendees who actually attend training.

Of all the people who wander the aisles, looking at products and picking up samples, perhaps only one in ten will actually allocate any time to their own training, development and education — “sharpening the saw” as Stephen Covey says. The fact that you’re listening to this podcast (or reading the transcript) indicates that you’re probably already ahead of the curve.

But since the promotional products industry allows people to get up and running with very little money and essentially no experience, it sometimes attracts those who just want to dabble a bit, sidle around and see how it works out.

Unfortunately, when you get a lot of dabblers interacting with potentially good prospects, it significantly damages the industry by creating the impression with those prospects that we’re an industry full of amateurs — which is only partially the case.

During one of my live training sessions, I was talking about the importance of differentiation, and how important it is for us to differentiate ourselves from the competition.

When it was time for questions, one of the attendees stood up and stated in no uncertain terms that it was “practically impossible” for any promotional products representative to differentiate himself or herself from the competition, since we all sell the same products.

As a trainer, I try to be supportive of other people’s opinion. But I couldn’t disagree with that statement more completely.

Yes, our competitors may have access to many (or even all) of the same products that we do, but that means nothing!

Think of it this way… In medicine, the quacks may have access to the same education, drugs and surgical tools as the most gifted surgeons. But that doesn’t make the quacks any smarter or the gifted surgeons any dumber.

In law, the hacks may have access to the same law books as the master litigators. But that doesn’t make the hacks worth any more or the master litigators worth any less.

Taxi drivers and Uber drivers all have access to cars. Some of those drivers are great and some are terrible. Same tools, different results.

And it’s the Same in Our Profession. We are Not Defined by Our Products or our tools!

We are defined by the way we use our products to directly address the promotional needs, wants, desires and concerns of our clients.

We are defined by the way we use our time, our training and our focus to create solutions, present them to our prospects and address their most pressing needs.

We are defined by our knowledge, our professionalism, our response to questions and the way we utilize communication tools like phone, text, email, and social media, as well as industry research tools to find answers to the problems our clients want solved.

We All Know that There are Quacks and Hacks in Every Industry, Including Our Own…

But they should never be allowed to define the market or diminish the value of the work done by true promotional products professionals.

That needs to be our focus… providing promotional solutions for our clients and behaving in a manner that is consistent with the behavior of true industry professionals.

I would love your feedback on this topic to turn this from a monologue into a dialogue. So please scroll to the bottom and leave a comment or question.

I would also encourage you to forward a link to this message to anyone you care about and consider to be a true professional in our industry, to let them know you’re thinking about them, that you care about them, that you recognize and appreciate their professionalism and perhaps more importantly, to let them know they’re not alone.

More that fifteen years ago we launched a Mastermind and Discussion group made up exclusively of industry professionals who are committed to their own training, education and success. No dabblers, sidlers, hobbyists or freebie-seekers allowed. It’s a group I consider to be “the best of the best.”

If you’d like details on how to join us, visit topsecrets.com and take a few moments to determine where you need the most help in your business. If you’re a smart, focused independent distributor doing a reasonable volume of sales, I encourage you to join the AIM SmartEQP community at www.smarteqp.com

Thanks for listening and be sure to provide your feedback below.

3 Comments

  • Tim Gabler

    Reply Reply September 19, 2017

    Although I probably resemble a dabbler, that’s not where I want to be. I just can’t shed my primary business that this was supposed to replace.
    I think ASI is one of the biggest culprits in loading up the industry with fluff, I get emails from them all the time “Add promotional products to your business” and other propaganda recruiting people into the industry. If they really were promoting the industry, they wouldn’t be trying to put distributors on every street corner and in between as well.

  • Harry Charters

    Reply Reply September 20, 2017

    Well said, very inspiring!

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