One of the biggest challenges after an exciting week of education and ideas at The PPAI Expo is sifting through all the content to determine how to apply it to your business.

To help you, Promotional Consultant Today is featuring encore insights from a few of our top-rated Expo presenters. Today, we’re sharing insights from Cliff Quicksell Jr., MAS, an industry veteran with more than 30 years’ experience in the promotional products and sportswear industries. These tips will help you create a better pathway to success for your business.

All too often, sales and marketing professionals are willy-nilly in their approach when it comes to the development of their client base. I jokingly say this during presentations, and sadly it is true, “Most of the practitioners in the promotional industry will take anyone as a customer who can breathe and write a check.” This approach may have worked in years past; however, it’s now considerably flawed. Technology and the open-door policy on allowing anyone into our industry has created some serious issues. That said, you needn’t be a victim.

Much of what has been written on this topic, both electronic and print, speaks volumes to the desire of marketing professionals to work with strategic partners who truly understand their business: how it works, what makes it tick, who understand the players and who are those who know how to connect and engage with their client base. Yet, with all of this, many still choose the “fog a mirror and write a check” approach to developing strategic markets.

One of the key markers in growing a successful, profitable business is knowing who you are, what you do, where your expertise lies and who your customers are (they are the most profitable ones). When I work with individuals, I try to establish a baseline of where they were, where they are now and where they want to go. My job is to help put them on the right path so they can see their vision come to fruition. So how is this done?

Methods To Grow Your Business
There are multiple ways to grow a business.

  • Organically – with existing clients
  • Resuscitation – reaching out to inactive clients
  • New clients – through prospecting and networking
  • Acquisition – buying or merging an existing business into your company

Start With A Plan. Without getting into too much detail here, having a strategic plan is imperative—one that is not floating around in your head, but committed to paper in writing; a plan that can be reviewed often and that can be proactively changed or modified.

Develop Several Vertical Markets. First, start with your current clients (See chart below); take your entire client database and segment them via markets and be sure to make these market segments are broad based. For example, use the header Automotive, not Car Dealers, as we will segment deeper in a later step. Further segment the list by client name, year-to-date sales and gross profit. Once completed, do the calculations, total the sales and determine the average gross profit within each vertical market. I would encourage you to put this into a spreadsheet format. It’s much easier to read and you will get a snapshot of exactly how well you’re doing in each market segment.

Create the spreadsheet by listing the broad industries you serve. Then make three columns under each industry name. At the top, label each column as follows: Client Name, 2017 Sales YTD and Gross Profit. Then, under each label, fill in the data you have on each client. Calculate the Sales YTD and Gross Profit and add them in at the bottom of each chart.

Tomorrow, PCT shares Part 2 of Quicksell’s advice with key questions to ask yourself when it comes to analyzing your markets.

Note: Cliff will offer a 15-minute free consult to the first 10 people that email him at You can also connect with him on social media and sign up for his weekly BLOG 30 Seconds to Greatness by visiting his website

Source: Cliff Quicksell, Jr., MAS+, is president & CEO of Cliff Quicksell & Associates, and the exclusive sales and marketing consultant and acting director of marketing for iPROMOTEu, Inc. He has been involved in the promotional products and sportswear industries for the past 33 years. He has achieved the MAS+ professional designation, and he has been actively involved in PPAI as a speaker and facilitator at PPAI shows and events for more than 15 years.