ASB sales associate, Russ Moore, celebrates first million dollar month

American sales associate, Russ Moore, accomplished the difficult task of landing $1,000,000 in booked sales in a month, with a trailing 12 month total of $3,000,000. Since starting with ASB in 2014, Russ has had a positive experience with his book of business. When asked about his accomplishments, he had this to say:

What customers (or types of customers) have these recent big sales come from?

Retail, Publishing, and College/University primarily. Honestly, it’s just been deeper penetration in existing accounts. One of my primary niches over the last 15-20 years has been custom importing. These past 2 years have been a real challenge logistically getting import orders here from Asia. The customers I have worked with for years trust me to tell them what we can and can’t do, and I think that goes a long way in helping them feel comfortable navigating these tricky waters in the current environment. 

What products are they buying?

If I had to narrow it down to a couple of product categories, I would say custom import products and wearables. Below are some examples of products I have sourced and produced in Asia over the last year—it ranges from something as simple as drawstring backpacks to more complicated projects like craft packs with different components all kitted together (think kid’s craft packs you would find at Hobby Lobby, Michaels, JoAnn’s, etc.)

As far as wearables, that is my go-to, reliable, most comfortable product category. It’s the one I am most familiar with and have sold the most of over my career in the industry. We have great suppliers who can educate you on good/better/best options for any wearable category and I have been able to “upsell” a lot of my customer on simple things. For instance, when someone is ordering a t-shirt, I ask them if they want a “drawer” t-shirt, or a “closet” t-shirt. One is an entry-level t-shirt that is going to be worn once and then put in a drawer. The other is a nicer shirt that is going on a hanger in your closet and will be worn multiple times which equals a lot more branding impressions. Many customers have never thought about it and it may cause them to consider going with a nicer tee which equal bigger sales and more profits.

What factors do you attribute to this month’s/year’s sales growth?

I’ve been blessed to have some great customers that trust me and value the work we partner on together. COVID did a number on a lot of us, but we hung in there together and toughed it out. Budget cuts, spending freezes, order reductions or even outright cancellations were a hallmark for me in 2020 and even into 2021. When budgets were unfrozen and marketing dollars were freed up, I think they remembered the assistance we gave, giving grace on payments, doing the small orders, taking hits on orders that were cancelled that were no one’s fault, etc. I strongly believe that if you do the right thing and take care of your customer, you will received blessings back 10-fold!

You mentioned you’re thankful you joined ASB in 2014 – how does this company set you up for success?

In 2014, the business I started had grown to a point where I was at a crossroad—I knew I was going to have to invest a lot in infrastructure to continue growing, or partner with a larger national company. After a lot of conversations with people in the industry and most importantly my wife, I made the decision to join American and I have never looked back. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. From financing my import orders to providing us with great conferences and sales tools, I think ASB offers the perfect blend of freedom and support. I would also be remiss if I didn’t mention the culture. I hit it off with Justin the first time we met, but there was no way I was considering selling my business. A few more conversations and a trip to Discover American (well, a few trips actually lol) and I was ready to join and I’m so thankful I did!

Do you have any advice for a salesperson looking to grow?

Find your niche or specialty and develop it. Find a mentor and ask them questions. What has made them successful? My area of expertise is importing. I have developed a great network of Asian manufacturers and I have established an import process over the years. There are a lot of “potholes” in the world of importing and I have stepped in just about every one, but I have learned from those mistakes and have carved out a niche that is pretty unique in our industry. Also, it is cliché, but hard work and a focus on customer service go a long way. “Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t’ work hard” is a great quote and one that I live by. I know there are sales reps that are more creative and have more formal sales training, but I make up for that through my work ethic, persistence (my wife would say stubbornness) and competitive nature. I hate to lose more than I love to win, but that helps me stay motivated and have a bulldog mentality when competing for business. Lastly, stay humble and be thankful. 2020 was a tough year and humbled many of us, but I certainly strive to have a heart of gratitude for the way things have bounced back and I never want to take that for granted. God is good!

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