I don’t have to tell you that this is a challenging time for promotional product distributors and suppliers. COVID is heating up again, many suppliers are short staffed, and the supply chain problems causing delays in shipments abound. Tempers are short and many in our industry are feeling discouraged and may even be thinking of giving up! Take heart, all is not lost. Here’s how to stay positive and focus on what you can do to make your daily life easier.
Incorporate these seven up- to- the- minute strategies into your daily life to keep the momentum going no matter what’s going on!
1. Communicate honestly. Let all your clients know about possible disruptions ahead of time. The more transparent you are in all your communications, the more understanding your clients will be. Send constant updates and let your clients know you’re doing everything possible to get them their order on time.
2. Suggest alternatives. Have a list of suppliers that have well stocked inventory so that you’re able to suggest other items when the item your client or prospect is looking for is out of stock. Look for suppliers that produce items domestically.
3. Think outside the box. If UPS, Fed Ex or USPS can’t meet your shipping needs look for alternative shipping companies or other means of transportation. Consider delivering the goods yourself!
4. Have empathy. We’re all in this together. Supply chain problems and staffing shortages are affecting all of us. Suppliers are suffering as much as distributors. None of us wanted this to happen, but this is our new reality! Empathy is more important than ever these days.
5. Be kind. It’s easy to lose your temper when things don’t go well, but not smart! Stories abound of the abuse customer service reps are taking from angry distributors. Put yourself in their shoes and realize that most issues are out of their control. As my mother always reminded me, be kind!
6. Stay positive. Although this is a challenging time for the promotional products industry, there is some good news… second quarter sales are up and many suppliers are adding new technologies to make the distributor's life easier. Technology such online inventory checks, virtual sampling tools and chat bots are available on many supplier websites.
7. Take great care of yourself. In challenging times it’s easy to get stressed and neglect your well- being. Focus on positive ways to control stressful days such as meditation, music, exercise and getting plenty of rest. Good health will keep you resilient no matter what’s going on around you.
Above all remember, we’ve weathered many storms in the promotional products industry and we’ll weather this one too! Here’s to better days ahead!
© 2021 Rosalie Marcus