I am a front line guy. I develop the relationships and nurture them with the buyers and prospective buyers as best that I know how (shameless point - I also teach people how to do it as their Swag Coach). I work very hard to service my clients’ needs for promosand as a result, I am fortunate enough to get repeat business. There are things in my control (e.g. sourcing the right product) and there are things out of my control (e.g. actually making the product). I know if you are on the sales side of this business, whether as a distributor rep, or a supplier rep, you get this right.
I believe, at the end of the day, my client is coming to be to make sure that whatever product (or promotional swag) they order, they expect it will get produced correctly and delivered on time. I get this because it’s the exact same expectation I have from our supplier partners.
Today I wanted to share a recent example of why it’s so important to choose the right suppliers in our business, and to take a moment to give a shout out to Showdown Displays…
Recently a big ad agency client of mine asked me to produce a tradeshow display for their client, the local lottery. They gave me their requirements and I ended up showcasing a few options from Showdown. After the usual back and forth, they settled on a product and we processed the order, all the long notating a firm event date. No doubt this scenario is nothing out of the ordinary for most of us, right? Here’s where things got a little dicey …
The buyer from this agency was the owner of the agency and my first time working with her. This is a big client of hers and naturally, she was, from the outset, wanting to make sure we could deliver for the event. The perfect display. Matching the artwork provided, delivered on time.
So we did a virtual proof, then a test strip and hand held this order every step of the way with Showdown and their customer service team. The display shipped on time, client confirmed receipt and it arrived 2 days before the event. All good, right? WRONG! When the client opened the package the product was far from perfect.
During production, 2 problems happened: 1. Somehow a spec of dirt got printed into one of the panels of the display. 2. The wrong color was matched for the base of the display and didn’t 100% match the top portion. Neither of these were deal breakers but both detracted from delivering what my client and I both expected … perfection.
The client called me and asked what, if anything could be done. I made no promises but did ask for photos of the problem and we then immediately took it to Showdown. BY this time it was the end of the business day, leaving one day to fix, re-produce and overnight ship in time for the event.
And this is EXACTLY what Showdown did … they reprinted the two components, overnight shipped on their dime and did what my client and I both expected and do for our own clients … they solved the problem and ended up delivering the correct product, on time, as ordered. Needless to say, my client was thrilled, as was I.
I get no one or company is perfect. Mistakes happen. It’s all about being proactive and finding solutions to the mistake to quickly and effectively remediate the problem, for the sake of the long term relationship. So many times in our business, there’s a “chew’m up and spit’m out mentality”. A vendor messes up, then it’s on to the next one who carries like products. Pricing is better, you move your business. You get one chance and that’s it. The loyalty is hard to come by. You know the feeling right as no doubt you have a client (buyer) who has treated you this way, right?
To me it’s about building long term, meaningful relationships and appreciating those relationships when things go well or even when things don’t go as planned. Not just from the clients who buy from us, but from the vendor partners who make the products.
And that’s why I am giving Showdown Displays a shout out today!