The Bueller Principle: Why Moving Too Fast Harms Your Clients and Your Business
American philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, "Life moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it." Candidly, I'm not sure more real wisdom came from a movie not named "This Is Spinal Tap," but I digress. Unfortunately, in a society that slams the accelerator to the floorboard harder with each passing day, treating life—and work—like a whirling dervish has become commonplace.
We don't run from one task to another; we sprint with reckless abandon, which causes small things to fall through the cracks. We don't have one program open simultaneously on our computers; we have 15 different windows, making it impossible to find what we were working on in the first place. We don't focus on phone calls; we text and respond to emails and say things like, "I'm sorry, you cut out—can you repeat that" when we get caught not paying attention.
We often move throughout our day with neither thought nor purpose.
Sadly, this same whirlybird approach is applied to the work presented to clients on a far-too-regular basis—especially as it relates to promotional products. Here is the typical promotional products sales process:
- Distributor meets with client
- Client gives budget and in-hands date
- Distributor does some research
- Client receives some sort of electronic presentation that shows their logos on merchandise
- Distributor hopes client buys something on the presentation
That's it. That's the sales process most employ in the promotional products industry. It's expected, perfunctory, inelegant, and completely lacking in both thought and purpose. All the while, many wonder why clients aren't loyal, always want something at a discount or don't seem to care about thoughtfully using promotional merchandise. Read that sales process again, but this time from the client's perspective. Would you buy from that person?
When you don't put thought and purpose behind your work—when you just throw it out there hoping it will stick—you do yourself and your clients a disservice. If you want to stand out from the product pushers and grow your business, it's time to not just work with thought and purpose, but to share that with your clients. Instead of just showing products, take time to explain the thinking and purpose of each piece of decorated product. When you take the time to disclose the “why” behind your promotional merchandise selections, you:
- Show the client you care because there is a purpose tied to the merchandise
- Answer unasked questions from the client, which creates efficiency in the process and an understanding from the client that you genuinely think about their success
- Create an avenue of collaboration with the client by engaging in a dialog
- Showcase your knowledge of the industry, your client, their target audience, and how to move that audience to action
- Exercises your creative brain by making you honestly think about how the product will achieve client goals
Yes, it's a bit more work to share the thought and purpose behind your work, but the payoff is well worth the calorie burn. Ferris Bueller was right: Life does move pretty fast. However, if you slow down just a bit and share both the thought and purpose behind your work, your clients may just view you as Grace the receptionist does Mr. Bueller: "They all adore him. They think he's a righteous dude."
Bill has over 20 years working in executive leadership positions at leading promotional products companies, always working collaboratively to achieve the “wow” desired by the target audience.
A Managing Partner at brandivate, a full-service marketing services and advertising agency, Bill is featured speaker at numerous national and international events, a serial creator of content marketing, and co-host of the industry-leading podcast, Promo UPFront. Bill has extensive experience defining brand strategy, creating successful marketing campaigns, creating and developing winning RFP responses, and presenting winning promotional products solutions to Fortune 500 clients.
A fierce advocate for the Promotional Products Industry, he is the Immediate Past President of the Regional Association Council (RAC) board, has worked closely with senior leadership at Promotional Products Association International (PPAI) on many committees and work groups. In appreciation of his years of service to the promotional products industry, Bill was named as an inaugural PPAI Fellow—a program designed to recognize influential individuals who have actively supported the industry through personal involvement.
Bill lives in Franklin, TN with his wife of 26 years, Sandy, and their 17-year-old twin boys, Drew and Mitch.