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Time to Fill Up Your Dance Card

KAREN GUZMAN, CRS; IDENTIFICATION PLATES
AWARDS AND PERSONALIZATION ASSOCIATION PRESIDENT

 

LOYALTY MATTERS IN CUSTOMER RELATIONS

(August 2019) Dance with the one who brung ya’.

It’s not modern. It’s not grammatically correct. And the 1920's song that it was pulled from largely has been forgotten. But variations on this phrase often have been repeated—including by the likes of former University of Texas football coach Darrell Royal and President Ronald Reagan—for a reason.

Loyalty matters—in relationships, in politics, in sports, in business. There is a certain level of consideration that you expect from your customers as a result of the dedication you’ve shown to them. You’ve brung ’em this far; the least they can do is continue to give you the opportunity to secure their business.

This is true for both retailers and suppliers.

For retailers, the customers often are members of their community. You have to connect with your prospects and get them to try you before you can inspire their loyalty with your great products, top-notch personalization, and amazing customer service.

Sam Cooke said (well, sang) it better than I could in “Another Saturday Night” when he was lamenting how hard it was to get a date in 1963:

“If I could meet ’em I could get ’em, but as yet I haven’t met ’em. That’s why I’m in the shape I’m in.”

How do you find your prospects and get them to let you have that first dance so you can have the chance to earn and keep their business?

One word: networking.

Think of it as your version of speed dating, eHarmony, Plenty of Fish, or whatever dating solution was “in” the last time you were on the market. Check out the feature on page 8 to find out how to do it right so you can get that dance and make them fall in love with your company.

For suppliers, our customers are our fellow association members, our industry retailers. Networking is very important to us, of course, and we’re fortunate to be able to meet and spend time with customers and prospects at the International Awards & Personalization Expo and other industry events. Like retailers with their prospects, we want that first dance so we can impress our customers and earn their loyalty.

One of the ways we suppliers show our loyalty to our customers and the industry is by being members of the Awards and Personalization Association, exhibiting at and sponsoring the International Awards & Personalization Expo and volunteering our services, whether it is presenting a seminar, working on a committee, or sharing our expertise on the Member2Member Forum

That’s one of the many reasons the annual Supplier Directory, which you’ll find in this issue, is so important. For retailers, this directory showcases the supplier members who are dedicated to our industry and are committed to supporting this association that helps our retailers’ businesses thrive.

Think of supplier members as helping to pick up the tab for your big date. It only makes sense that you’d keep your fellow member companies in the running when you’re considering just who to dance with, right?

So to our retailer members, use this issue as a guide to how to network with your prospects and which suppliers to turn to for the products and advice you need. After all, we’re at your service.

To our supplier members, continue to support our association—and our retailers, by extension—and to give our retailers a reason to dance with the ones that brung ’em.

Awards and Personalization Association

The Awards and Personalization Association is the organization for retailers and suppliers of personalized and customized items. By providing education, meetings, and access to a vibrant network of professionals, the Awards and Personalization Association is the one place to ensure the growth of your talent, your business, and your professional community.

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