Actually raining in Memphis, or even more accurately, dodging tornadoes in Memphis.
Even with dark skies and ominous clouds, the brave Memphis distributors made it to my hotel suite for a room presentation. Thankfully, most of the extreme weather held off until after show hours and they had plenty of time to get home and batten down the hatches. Seriously, I saw Facebook pictures of friends of mine in the Memphis area preparing their closets and bath tubs for an extended stay.
The weather actually had me thinking of what is the best way to accomplish our stated goal of educating, motivating, and creating loyalties. It may sound archaic but even with the technology we have, the weather still affects how we do our jobs. Not to mention how well we are capable of doing our jobs. Admittedly, I am a fan of social media and I think it will continue to impact the way all industries do business including promotional products distributors and suppliers. However, I also believe in order for a supplier or supplier reps to grow their business with a distributor, in person visits are not only important but vital. People do business with People. That brings me to why I am in Memphis in the first place, to meet with distributors and hopefully grow their business with IMC. I am doing a hotel room suite show in which I invite distributors to come to the Embassy Suites here and view a greater selection of products than I could ever bring to their office. Plus, it also offers me the ability to present the products, specials, and policies in a way that I could never accomplish in a trade show setting. Although the weather is not the primary reason for participating in this format, the benefit is increasingly obvious this week. Trying to run around rain drops and making no less than four trips to the car would have made this trip challenging to say the least. More importantly, I would have had so much trouble getting in and out of offices and around town the trip would never had been as successful. The point is, as a sales person it is important to use all the tools at your disposal to accomplish your goals. While I can’t see a time when the traditional office visit isn’t an important aspect of my job, the hotel suite provides me a great format for this particular week. In a similar way Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and other social media may not replace traditional marketing but they certainly have their place in today’s fast-paced, instant information business environment. Regardless of the industry, we are all trying to stand out from the crowd and make sure our message is heard. Making sure we try new ways to reach our customers didn’t begin with social media. Trying new ways to bring our products and ideas to market is as old as our industry itself. But there are certainly some very exciting new opportunities for all of us through social media and other technologies.
I started writing this while on the road and finished it when I got home. In that time much of the Southeast was devastated by strong storms and tornadoes. Many families and business will have a long road to recovery and a challenging time dealing with the loss of loved ones. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers.
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