Tony Seaman, an expert in corporate merchandising with over 25 years of experience, recently spoke to TNG’s digital meeting about getting noticed. Join us as we share what he has learned.
Back when Tony got started, promoting a business was tough. Companies were stuck with Yellow Pages advertising and cold calling. It was a frustrating way to try and get noticed. Today the situation hasn’t improved.
Thanks to the advent of the internet, businesses don’t only have to compete locally but with competitors from all over the world, often backed by foreign conglomerates and offering ludicrously cheap alternatives.
Luckily, back in the 90s, Tony found a better way to get noticed.
The Power of Networking
Tony attended a networking meeting in a pub basement and discovered that it’s not all business. It was people making connections with each other.
You can think of networking groups as “trust chains.” Each person has mutual trust with the next, and so along the chain, two people who don’t know each other can trust each other, thanks to the chain of trust.
Later, when trying to get a meeting to supply Farmers Trading Co, after being repeatedly turned away, he decided to call on networking.
He began trying to find someone who knew someone at Farmers, and he succeeded. He was then able to bypass the gatekeepers, meet a decision maker, and forge a business relationship.
Today, 60-70% of his business is found through networking. Although the internet has made getting noticed more challenging, it’s made networking stronger, too, giving everyone the ability to create connections across continents.
Of course, networking wouldn’t work if your products aren’t up to scratch.
Providing A Good Service
In his talk, Tony gave a brief overview of his business. In order to deliver the best, they have a range of products and relationships with suppliers all over the world. However, he sees his business as more than just providing branded products. Instead, he sees it as providing a service with those branded products being the end result.
Instead of supplying what customers want on a surface level, Tony and his partners do a deep dive and consider every angle of what their customers want.
By doing so, he has regularly given customers optimal products and saved them thousands of dollars in the process.
Two Case Studies
A simple example of providing more than products was when Tony was approached to print booklets in full color. Tony realized the booklets were for internal use and so suggested single colour printing instead. The customer hadn’t thought of this and was happy with the resulting savings.
Another time, Tony was approached to create some brochures for distribution in New Zealand. In the mockup notes, he noticed some Australian numbers too. He asked about them and discovered that the client was going to be advertising in Australia too and was looking to get that version of the brochure printed there.
He offered to print both versions instead. This saved the client money, and Tony had a much larger order to fulfill. A classic win-win.
The message is clear—In order to get noticed, one has to forge strong connections and trust and then cement it through excellent service delivery.
Although the internet has crowded just about every market, old fashion connections and thoughtful delivery still win out in the end.