Benefits of sending out Thank you cards, Part 1

Thank you card for salesI’m a big believer in sending out thank you cards to anyone who places an order with me. Not only is it common courtesy, but it makes good business sense. In this age of e-mails, receiving an old fashion thank you card will really make you stand out with your clients. You don’t have to be Shakespeare to write a note – keep it short and sweet. I always include my business cards when sending out a card for my clients to keep or give to their business associates.

Besides sending out thank you cards for orders, you may want to send them for other  occasions too. That would include thanking a prospect for meeting you, offering you a referral, or a one year anniversary of being a customer. Some people go a little overboard by sending thank you cards for almost every occasion. Those occasions would include talking to you over the phone, analyzing your product or even taking the time to talk to you even after they refuse to buy from you. While you should use your own judgment about when and who you send out cards to, I would only use them for unique occasions. If you start sending out too many cards to the same client or prospect, the uniqueness will begin to wear off.

If you are lucky, you may be working for a company that already provides thank you cards monogrammed with the company’s logo and address. However, if you are in the habit of sending out more than one thank you card to the same person, I would buy some other types of cards. I personally prefer sending out funny cards because they brighten up everyone’s day. The more unusual and interesting the card, the more likely it’s going to be on someone’s desk for a while. And nothing would make your competitor more anxious than seeing your thank you card on the desk of the prospect that he’s trying to win over.

Below is a short list of places you can order funny thank you cards online –

In Part 2 of this post, I will outline some tips for preparing Thank you cards.

What to bring during trade shows

No matter whether you are a new or senior sales rep, below is a list of things you should always bring to a trade show –

Business cards

Breath mints

Lap top

Comfortable shoes

A smile – positive attitude.

Notebook and pens



Trade shows – what to expect

January is here, and that means many organizations are beginning to sponsor conferences for their members. This also means you may have an opportunity to work at a trade show by representing your company at an exhibit booth.

I’ve attended more than 20 trade shows in different industries. The trade shows have ranged between 500 to 10,000 attendees. The number of exhibitors have ranged between 15 to 200 plus. But no matter how large or how many attendees are at the show, there are some common things you are expected to do or prepare for.

Here they are –

1). You are expected to arrive at least one day early to set up a booth. This is common sense. With high flight delays these days, it’s a given that you arrive a day early to set things up. Most exhibit sponsors have strict time limits as to when you must arrive, set up your booth and then leave the exhibit hall. You are also expected to pack up and leave at a certain time. If you pack up too early, you could be penalized by the exhibit sponsor. You also may not be allowed to attend the event next year.

2). Expect to be on your feet most of the day. While you may have short breaks and even grab a little lunch, if you want to gather some good leads, and meet and greet your customers, you are expected to work the booth hard. (Suggestion – wear comfortable shoes).

3). Most conference sponsors will have lunch or social gathering events in the exhibit hall to attract walk-through traffic. There are pros and cons to this. While you may get some good leads, chances are you are going to deal with attendees with food their mouths who will only give your presentation just scant attention. Don’t be offended. It happens. (BTW, don’t eat food at the booth. That’s rude).

4). You are dealing with two types of attendees. First are the serious prospects who want to hear about your solution to their problem, and second are sovereign hunters who want to collect bags of swag for their kids or co-workers. As you work more trade shows, you will begin to develop an eye on who’s serious and not serious. (Suggestion – always a good idea to collect some swag for your co-workers who couldn’t attend the show. Shows goodwill on your part).

5). Social Network opportunities are common place at most shows. Some companies will rent a hospitality suite or area for one night or throughout the show. But most of the time, people will gather at the local watering hole or restaurant. It’s a great way to meet customers and prospects in a more intimate setting without all the hustle and bustle of a trade show floor. Have a drink, talk, exchange business cards, and hopefully develop some deals in the process. (Suggestion – just watch how much you drink. Word of mouth spreads very easily in most industries).

If you have a chance to attend a trade show this year, good luck to you! I wish you much success.

What we all want at trade shows - prospects coming to our booth!

What we all want at trade shows – prospects coming to our booth!

Photo credit: Gage Skidmore / Foter / CC BY-SA

3 Strategy Lessons from Apollo 13

Ian Heller in the video below does a great job outlining three strategy lessons from Apollo 13.

The lessons are –

1). Base your strategy on data.

2). Develop detailed action plans

3). Set goals that build excitement and conviction.

Why are the above lessons important? Because too often many sales and marketing teams are winging it, rather than developing solid strategy based on facts and reality. Sure, sometimes you need to trust your gut. It’s always good to experiment. But it’s also a good idea to take a hard look at the facts, brainstorm, and come up with some solutions. Put it down on paper. Review it. Get a consensus and move forward. And have some enthusiasm behind whatever you do.

It’s also a good idea to bring your sales team in on the process. Sometimes decisions are made behind closed doors by upper management, but they don’t seek advice from some of the smartest people in the company – their sales team. After all, it’s the sales team that is serving on the front lines everyday. They, more than anyone else, have a good handle of how clients are feeling, and what problems they are trying to solve. In short, they are taking the pulse of their industry.

Here is his video below –

Can you sell me this pen or pencil? Part 4

I hope you enjoyed some of the videos on parts 1, 2 and 3 on “can you sell me this pen or pencil?”

What are the key takeaways from this question?

1). No one is actually hiring you to sell pens or pencils. The real goal is to see how what your sales process is, and how advanced you are as a sales person. Are you jumping right in and talking about the benefits of the pen or pencil, or are you asking good qualifying questions first? Are you determining needs or problems of your client, or you are doing a product dump and hope that something will stick? It doesn’t make any difference how great the pen or pencil is if you client doesn’t need it. Heck, he may have a whole closet full of writing instruments. The point is qualify the client first because moving forward with the benefits.

2). Sometime hiring decision makers want to catch you off guard and see how fast you can think on your feet. After all, customers will sometimes ask strange questions or make unusual requests. How do you respond? Do you get flustered easily? Do you feel insulted by being asked such a ridiculous question? Or, do you remain cool, size up the situation, and put your sales thinking cap on? Always try to be prepared for the unexpected.

3). Sure, on some level, the question may be unfair. After all, you may have years of sales experience under your belt. You may have sold very complex products and handled long sales cycles. But if you think the interviewing process is unfair, what about selling? That’s not always fair either. For example, you may spend months working with a client, only to have him buy from a competitor, or leave the company, or not purchase at all because of budget constraints. Get use to it. It happens.

So, if you are ever asked “can you sell me this pen or pencil?”, how are you going to answer it?


Can you sell me this pen or pencil? Part 3

In Part 3 of my post on “Can you sell me this pen or pencil?”, here are some other answers that could help you answer this classic question –

Kaboom Jobs offers this answer below –

Honor Academy interns are given the opportunity to test their ability to sell you a pen –