At GMG, the customer is mightier than the pen

The folks at GMG Pen have a bit of a secret. While the New Jersey-based company is a leading importer and manufacturer of writing instruments for the promotional products industry, the company’s main line of business is not pens.

So what is GMG’s primary product? Pull out your Slimster pen from the Ultra Penworks line and write this down: C-u-s-t-o-m-e-r S-e-r-v-i-c-e.

“The bottom line is there are thousands of distributors selling pens,” said Jay Soltan, Director of Sales for GMG Pens. “We understand what it’s like to be in our customers’ shoes and do whatever it takes to make the process easier.”

If “good service” as a point of differentiation seems a bit overused, consider GMG Pens has been in business only nine years. That the company has been able to grab a foothold in this most competitive of promotional product categories, establish a solid customer base and then continue to grow is evidence good things are hap-pening beyond the basics of product selection and price.

“We’re so focused on service and building customer relationships, it’s literally like the products are an after-thought,” Soltan said.

That said, the “pen” is center stage at GMG. While many suppliers include writing instruments as but one of multiple and varied product offerings, at GMG the pen is currently the only focus. As an exclusive pen supplier, GMG’s sole focus is offering an extensive array of plastic and metal pens that meet customers’ expectations for quality and pricing.

GMG features the Ultra Penworks lines of plastic and metal pens. USA-made pens are also in the company’s product mix, as well as increasingly popular and in-demand stylus pens. The GMG team aggressively seeks out new designs and styles, always with an eye to overall quality and writing ability.

“If a pen doesn’t write well, it’s not going to pass first base,” Soltan said. “That’s why we devote a lot of research not just on style and popularity, but also to the writing quality and ease of use.”

Soltan said during GMG’s early years, the company’s biggest challenge was getting customers’ attention. Doing so required competitive pricing, waiving fees and aggressively asking to “give us just one shot.” When that was accomplished, the providing of no-holds-barred customer service resulted in earning repeat business.

“Our goal at the end of the day is we want our customers to be our friends,” Soltan said.

Friends know how to stay in touch. GMG is a believer in face-to-face connections and thus includes a mix of trade shows and personal visits in its marketing mix. GMG customers can expect to receive several mailings a year, always with a product catalog that’s accompanied by snacks or goodies or something fun.

With over 60 employees, GMG is centrally located in Lakewood, N.J., and just a couple minutes from the Jer-sey Shore. The company is equipped with the latest high-speed screen imprinters. The investment in service-conscious employees and in technology relates directly to the importance of taking care of the customer’s needs right away.

“From the moment any one of us walks in the door, it’s all about doing what’s right for our customers, under-standing their needs, and customizing programs for what they need,” Soltan said.

This commitment to customers is also driven by the loyalty of GMG’s employees.  “As a career salesperson, I was overwhelmed by the dedication the entire GMG staff has towards their customers,” said Jason Shanik, Na-tional Accounts Director. “After working at GMG Pen for the past three years, I am here to stay”.

According to Michelle Newhouse, Special Account manager, “The training, devotion and efficiency of the CS staff has made GMG Pen a great place to work.”