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Counselor Senior Editor Michele Bell's slanted view of the world.

Turning Over More Rocks

Filed under: ASI Shows, Travel

Greetings from warm and sunny California – and I mean that in all ways, both the people and weather are a friendly and inviting group. I’m happy to be a guest on Michele’s blog, however don’t expect party central. The “magic bus” is a bit more subdued without Michele (understatement of the year.)

With the exception of the woman on my shared shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel, all went smooth on the trip here. I never heard someone speak for so long without taking a breath. This woman was speaking in a language of unknown origin and apparently there are no natural pauses. Fortunately, she was the first to get out and the rest of us in the van actually clapped when she left.
I’m covering the last three days of the Advantages Roadshow, which actually began in Phoenix followed by San Diego. Today in Newport Beach, the popular theme seemed to be looking for new and efficient ways to sell. Rhett Todd, partner at PrintGear, a division of Hanes, says distributors need to take advantage of the “hundreds of years of combined experience all in one room at these roadshows.”
The current economy is not ideal, but as Todd says, “we just need to turn over more rocks” to look for sales opportunities. Andy Moreno, account executive at Staton agrees. The successful salespeople will “need to be more aggressive. The times demand it. It’s a rollercoaster ride, the squeamish ones will panic and get off too soon, the successful ones will ride it through both the ups and downs.”
New distributors Richard Jensen and Ryan McIntosh, co-owners of Sprout Promotions Inc. are very optimistic. McIntosh recently left the financial sector (probably a good move) and with the help of a close friend, decided to try his hand in the ad specialties business. McIntosh says he found the suppliers “very interactive and the show was a great opportunity for find new ideas.”
Lori Strom, co-owner of Surprise Signs, says she came to the show hoping to expand her line and find corporate gifts. She was pleased to find items that are “classy and priced well too.”
I was able to view two happy distributors taste-test gum from Lanco. One, Veda Chappell from Creative Partners In Promotions, said she was pleased that the gum didn’t loose its taste after 30 seconds. “I like that Lanco’s packaging on the gum has a closed end and good graphics.”
Not everyone was positive however. Trix Corapci of Unique Forms Advertising was less than thrilled with the show. “I was hoping to see more year-end closeouts and free samples, but it’s more of the same. I would rather see more education for distributors and more samples, since this is a touch and feel industry.” Trix isn’t too optimistic about the future either. “I think it’s going to be tough – we’re all going to be feeling the budget cuts.”
Probably the sweetest man I’ve met so far is Walter Moore – the polar opposite of ‘Debbie Downer’. Moore, owner of WCM Promotions, says he was thrilled with all the products he found (his heavy bag full of samples confirmed this) and was interested in the political items and educational cards from Thermographics. “I always find new items when I come to the shows,” Moore says. He oozed praise for ASI products, especially the Media File. “I’ve been in this business for 45 years, and I’m learning new things.”

Richard Jensen (left) and Ryan McIntosh, co-owners of Sprout Promotions Inc., are brand-new distributors that are eager to make a name for themselves in the industry. I think they have success written all over their faces.

Rhett Todd, partner at Hanes company, Print Gear Sportswear, is all about keeping a positive outlook during economic downturns. He oozes southern charm, plus it doesn’t hurt that his name is Rhett, a name he says has been in his family for many generations, even “before Rhett Butler was dreamed up.”

Walter Moore, owner of WCM Promotions, says he’s been in the industry so long that he “actually remembers when Marv Spike had brown hair.” If I had time, I would’ve loved to sit around and listen to stories from past shows – a real sweet gentleman.

Marge Bicknell, sales manager at Thermographics, says her educational cards have been selling real well. Walter Moore was impressed with the refrigerator cards that include a thermometer to indicate when the refrigerator is cold enough, thus keeping the temperature down in an effort to save energy.

The intimate setting of these shows seems to bode well for future sales – the one-on-one contact the suppliers have with distributors is key. Nick DiNicola, the roadshow guru, says 120 attended today’s show. 

Brian Johnson, director of sales for Lanco, with one his favorite products. He feels the graphics are outstanding – having a high-wattage smile doesn’t hurt either.

1 Comment

  1. Jackson Browne Says:

    I think this blogger is awesome…she writes very well and seems enthusiastic and highly intelligent. She makes me wish i was attending these Shows, even in this downtrodden economy, that is, according to the Liberal Press.

    Thursday September 25, 2008

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