• Bill Petrie

The Proactive Path to Success

Today’s marketplace is far too competitive to trust a business future to simple chance and luck

Last week I was chatting with a friend who happens to be in the market for a new job. During the discussion, we were considering strategies on how best to market him to his list of target companies. As usually happens in cases like this, it got me thinking about the importance of being proactive - especially when the world is generally reactive. Being of similar age (disclosure – I am 51), my friend and I both remembered the “antiquated” way of searching for a job. For those of you unfamiliar, it went something like this:

  • Scour the “Help Wanted” section of your local Sunday newspaper for potential targets

  • Circle the opportunities that appealed to you

  • Carefully craft a cover letter to gain their attention

  • Meticulously select the correct paper to print both your resume and cover letter

  • Mail (the snail variety) both documents to the contact listed in the newspaper

  • Hope and wait

That’s it.


Other than scanning the classified ads and physically sending out a few pieces of paper, the entire process was reactive. With easy access to information and social media, searching for a job today is a much more proactive experience - it has to be.

Translating this to the promotional products world, I see many distributors that market their business in a decidedly 1990’s reactive mode. They create websites, develop branding, occassionally post on social media, and craft marketing materials in hopes that clients will simply discover them. Today’s marketplace is far too competitive to trust a business future simple chance and luck. With so many technological tools available, it’s easier than ever to be proactive:

  • Setting reminders in a CRM (or even Outlook) to keep regular and meaningful contact with clients

  • Automated reminders for quarterly or annual orders

  • Scheduling social media touches via buffer or another automated service, so you don’t have to live on various platforms

  • Following up with clients with targeted questions regarding delivery on their most recent order

  • A monthly reminder to brainstorm an idea for a client and sharing it with them

Much like my friend who is seeking employment, one must be proactive to achieve success. While it would be amazing, simply sitting back and waiting for your ideal customer to beg you to take their money just isn't realistic. Using online tools to automate the process as much as possible – and ensuring there is both meaning and value in each client contact – you will differentiate yourself from the competition who will continue to hope for that next big order.

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