Category Archives: General

EMT New Product Release: Grip It™ Microfiber

EMT New Product Release: Grip It™ Microfiber

December 3, 2014
9am Eastern Daylight Time

Indianapolis, IN- EMT, the 2014 Distributor’s Choice for Jewelry, Emblems & Patches announced today a new product, “Grip It™, microfiber cloths with silicone grippers and logos; the cloths are also available without grippers.”  Grip It™ will be included in EMT’s Cell Phone Accessories Line.


 

 

 

“The Gripper™ texture makes the cloth easy to grip so it easily glides over the surface of electronic devices and eyewear,” said Kristy Tantillo, Marketing Manager. “Grip It™  offers lint-free, streak-free, cleaning with a non-abrasive design that won’t scratch surfaces, paints or clear coats.”

Product Features:

  • Material is 80% polyester/ 20% polyamide which will not scratch delicate electronics
  • Dye sublimated full color imprint on 310GSM micro fiber
  • Full Bleed imprint on one side included
  • Silicone grippers make cleaning even the dirtiest screens easy
  • Silicone grippers available as dots or logo shapes
  • 6” x 7” standard size; Custom sizes available & QUR
  • Clear PVC pouch packaging
    ·  Fast 2 week production

Item #GD67, 6″ x 7″ with Gripper Dots

Item #GL67, 6″ x 7″ with Gripper Logo

Item #MF67, 6″ x 7″ without grippers (no imprint charge)

About EMT

EMT is a supplier of emblematic and other promotional products. For more information, visit www.emteasy.com or contact Kristy Tantillo at (317) 803-2400. A copy of EMT’s catalog can be downloaded from the same website, or contact EMT by email or phone for a hard copy. ®

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.”

Get The Freight Right

Use Technology To Calculate Freight Rates With Quotes And Orders

Kaity Morris and members of her customer service team are certainly sympathetic when customers express frustration about having to calculate freight quotes when ordering promotional products. They’re mostly quite pleased the frustration is not directed at them.

Morris is Customer Service Manager at HandStands, a Salt Lake City-based supplier focusing on air fresheners and technology accessories. When HandStands quotes a price for an order, shipping costs are included up front. No waiting. No guessing. No problems.

“It’s an extra plus in our customer service,” Morris said of having a real-time freight quote tool included in pricing calculations. “Our customers know shipping costs right up front.”

Obviously the technology to calculate freight costs when placing an over-the-phone or an online order is nothing out of the ordinary. Imagine the hesitation if consumers placed online orders at everyday retail websites with the expectation that yet-to-be-determined shipping costs would be added to the posted cost.

“Who’s going to buy something online if they don’t have the freight? As a consumer, can you imagine going to Amazon and then waiting two days for them to send you the shipping costs?”

That’s Jason Nokes, President of DistributorCentral and one of the team members who developed a freight calculation tool for the promotional products industry. It’s been just over a decade since DC made this function available, yet Nokes knows there’s some reluctance on the part of both suppliers and distributors to have shipping costs included in quotes and pricing, usually because of concerns about accuracy.

According to Nokes, the ability to nail down shipping costs is actually simple and easy. Accurate freight rates can be calculated in advance using real-time data from shipping providers and incorporating internal product and packing standards. The more data and variables plugged into the equation, the more precise the quote.

“Now suppliers are able to present shipping processes and pricing in a manner that’s accurate and positive,” said Nokes. “Helping customers determine how shipping will impact pricing becomes an appreciated aspect of the sales process.”

Feel the love
Tom Mertz, President and CEO of TradeNet Publishing, manufacturer of printed promotional products near Kansas City, offers no pretense about his reasoning for incorporating DC’s Freight Quote function in every quote and order.

“We want the distributor to love TradeNet,” said Mertz. “We realize our customers are busy people and are often working on a quote at night or on the road. If they can tell their customer what the freight will be, we’re making it easier for them to make the sale.”

Mertz said distributors have acknowledged they want to know freight costs up front. “A distributor will take the path of least resistance,” he said. “If they can get an accurate quote from one supplier and not from another, which supplier gets the business? It positions TradeNet as being in partnership with distributors by helping them make the sale.”

Economics is no small part of the equation where TradeNet is concerned. Mertz said a review of customer service calls prior to implementation to Freight Quotes was that 25 percent of incoming calls were related to inquiries and issues associated with shipping costs. Now those calls are rare.

“TradeNet was ultimately able to direct our Customer Service team to spend more quality time with distributors,” Mertz said. “We were able to better concentrate the efforts of our CS team to make it easier to make the sale and to do more business with us.”

Distributors sing a similar song. Rich Graham, Chief Imagination Officer at Dallas-based Big Promotions!, said having accurate shipping quotes at the time of sale is something “you just gotta have and that’s pretty much how it is.” Graham said Big Promotions! relies on the DC freight calculator, indicating it’s especially required for customers who make online purchases during the nighttime hours or on weekends.

Dave White, DEW Ad Specialties, Kansas City, said it’s important to have access to a freight calculator function because of ever-changing costs. “It’s hard to keep up with fuel surcharges that seemingly change on a daily basis,” said White. “It helps us to know we’re being provided accurate shipping pricing without any surprises.”

Simplified and Customized
While online Freight Quote programming is robust and detailed, the ability for a supplier or a distributor to add it to online or over-the-phone price quoting is not. Where DC’s tool is concerned, it’s a matter of the supplier or distributor completing a spreadsheet with as many shipping standards as possible, including product dimensions and weight per shipping quantity. The more detailed the standards and the shipping criteria, the more accurate the quote.

“We hear stories about suppliers using whatever boxes they can find to ship products in,” said DC’s Nokes. “The process of including shipping costs in quotes typically results in improvements of processes and functionality.”

Nokes said the DC software interacts with FedEx and UPS to generate real-time rates. The integration with the two primary shippers factors in the fluctuating fuel surcharges and thus keeps pace with changing rates.

TradeNet’s Mertz said the accuracy of freight quotes through DistributorCentral has exceeded his expectations. Over years of implementation and across thousands of orders representing hundreds of product lines, the quotes are directly aligned with actual costs.

“At the end of the day, we’re looking for a quote that’s fair in the aggregate to TradeNet and the distributor,” Mertz said.

Fully customizable, the Freight Quote tool allows suppliers and distributors to provide customers with shipping discounts or free shipping on selected products or special offers. The DC freight tool is automatically integrated with DC-hosted websites and can also be integrated into custom third-party websites.

“With this freight tool, suppliers are actually helping the distributor sell on line and give more precise quotes,” said Nokes. “Distributors, through their suppliers or on their own websites, benefit by making easier for the end user.”

Innovation Line Adds Multi-Line Representative

Innovation Line just retained the services of a New Sales Representative, Dan Pigott
to represent them in the states of New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and
Washington DC.   Dan has been in the Industry for 25 years and serves currently
as incoming President of the Philadelphia Area Promotional Products Association. Please click the link below for a profile on Dan Pigott.
http://www.promocorner.com/id/20141006/#/24/

 

 

Real-time inventory means real-time opportunity

Distributors everywhere have reason to smile. Some of the brightest IT minds in the promotional products industry are working to provide distributors better information and thus improve selling opportunities.

When PPAI hosted its inaugural Technology Summit as part of the 2014 Expo East tradeshow, it was a given technology leaders gathering from across the industry would discuss technology trends and issues. What wasn’t a given was that within a matter of days some of those technology leaders, formerly aware of each other in name only, would collaborate to successfully implement a newly developed data standard.

The result: real-time inventory information at the fingertips of thousands of distributors searching for promotional products.

Apologies for dropping lingo that sounds like something out of an IT101 manual, but bear with me. “Inventory Interface Standards” are a component of the new Promotional Products Data Interface Specification for Web Services. The Standards were developed as a joint initiative by key personnel at Starline USA, Hit Promotional Products and Bic Graphic USA.

Here at DistributorCentral, the ability to quickly and easily integrate inventory data into existing product research tools was a key takeaway from the Technology Summit. DC’s expectation in moving quickly to integrate this methodology is for suppliers to embrace the added value of real-time inventory data as part of product data, just as many of them have embraced the added value of providing detailed shipping information which allows distributors to see real-time freight costs.

DC hosts nearly 10,000 websites for distributors who understand how critical it is to have accurate product information in order for their customers to make informed purchasing decisions at the point of purchase. Giving distributors and their customers the ability to see detailed, real-time inventory data – down to sizes and color choice – represents one more way to save them money and cut down on unnecessary calls.

Real-Time InventoryGranted, real-time inventory on individual supplier websites has become commonplace. What’s new and unique is incorporating that data into aggregated industry research tools and website hosting platforms such as DistributorCentral. Each supplier has a slightly different way of storing and providing (if at all) data for use on external websites or third-party search tools which has historically made the aggregation of that data challenging.

The new standard allows suppliers, with very little development effort on their part, to standardize the way inventory data is provided. Once a supplier implements this methodology it is a simple matter of enabling it within their product data on DC. At that point every distributor in the industry has instant access to that supplier’s inventory data.

Distributors will be pleased to see a growing number of suppliers embracing the new standard. Well-known supplier Jetline recently adopted the standard and others are expected to follow suit. Dana Zezzo, Senior VP of Sales and Marketing for Jetline, said he appreciates DistributorCentral’s “out-of-the-box thinking” when it comes to improvements to the database.

Said Zezzo: “When DC suggested adopting this standard and providing inventory data with our product listings, and that in doing so we would enhance our product listings and encourage more distributors to pay attention to Jetline’s product line, it was an easy decision.”

Jon Norris, Systems Operation Manager at Starline and Incoming PPAI Technology Committee Chair, acknowledged DistributorCentral is the first industry service provider to implement the standardized supplier web service feed. That’s a critical step, according to Norris, because DC’s involvement “provided integral feedback on overall improvements to the system and DC’s high search volume helped us tweak the scalability of our own service at Starline,”

More good news. According to Norris, inventory data is just the beginning. He expects additions to the standards to include order status updates and more.

Looks like those IT guys who got together at Expo East got the ball rolling. Their collaboration on standards is bound to benefit the industry as a whole and keep distributors smiling.

David Shultz

Right On The Money – Sales flourish when online product data is accurate

 

Candice Phrogus is notRight on the Money intimidated when it’s time to update product information or change pricing on Alpi International’s robust website. Login. Enter password. Find product. Update product information. Save.

And done.

“In literally less than a minute I can go in and change things,” said Phrogus, who directs marketing and online product management at Oakland-based Alpi. “I don’t have to email anyone. I don’t have to call anyone. I can do it myself.”

Ah… if only Candice were really done. While that simple backend update made on the DistributorCentral product platform instantly updates product information on Alpi’s website, as well as in DistributorCentral’s centralized product research database, she still has other product search engines with whom to contend.

“It’s a challenge to update on every single platform,” said Phrogus. “Each seems to have a different format and you have to email in the information or call them up. Even then, it can take as long as 24 hours (for the data) to refresh.”

Technical, logistical and communicative difficulties associated with keeping online product data current have long plagued the promotional products industry. Until recently, some product data platform providers manually updated pricing using suppliers’ catalogs or written updates as the source. When placing orders, distributors were compelled to contact suppliers directly to confirm pricing and data were correct.

Bryan Lewis, President of LP Marketing, a Kansas City promotional products distributorship, said it’s frustrating when a customer locates a product and places an order through his website only to find the pricing was wrong after the customer placed the order.

“Distributors kind of get in the middle when pricing is wrong or the product has been discontinued but not removed,” Lewis said. “If the supplier won’t honor the pricing, then often we’re the ones taking the hit. If we’ve included discount pricing as part of our offer, the wrong pricing might cost us an additional five to 15 percent.”

Lewis said suppliers typically blame the service provider for not updating the information on the database. He knows, however, in the case of DistributorCentral, suppliers have the ability to update their own product data. It’s one of the reasons his team members at LP Marketing are “very proactive” at letting suppliers and DistributorCentral know when product information is wrong or outdated.

“We’ll quickly go in and locate that product on DistributorCentral and submit an inaccurate product information report,” Lewis said. “We appreciate what DC does to keep product information as updated as possible.”

According to Jason Nokes, President of DistributorCentral, suppliers do not take for granted getting alerts and feedback from distributors.”

“Suppliers love having feedback from distributors,” Nokes said. “It’s an example of suppliers and distributors working together to be successful. Where DC is concerned, every supplier can have a team of thousands of distributors working to help generate sales.”

Tim Parcher, president of Solid Dimensions, an Ohio-based manufacturer of environmentally friendly wood promotional products, acknowledges it can be “extremely complicated and time intensive” to make updates on some systems.

“The harder the job is, the greater the risk some things won’t be verified, some things will be misrepresented and errors will be made,” Parcher said. “We know the DC system best and can make updates instantly. Other databases can make it very difficult to keep products updated.”

Parcher said distributors’ primary issue remains accurate pricing. For that reason, Solid Dimensions strives to direct distributors to the company’s DC-hosted website and thus bypass the possibility of working with bad data.

“Everyone has their verified pricing system, but that’s part of the glitch,” Parcher said. “Verification’ doesn’t dive down deep enough to cover such things as options and features and discount codes.”

At DC, Nokes said suppliers can do much to help distributors by coming to terms with the realization their product information ultimately goes to the end user.

“Distributors prefer presenting consumer-friendly product data,” said Nokes. “Suppliers can benefit everyone’s cause by submitting product information suited for consumers and businesses.”

Nokes said distributors as a whole are increasingly asking for freight costs when securing quotes or, at the very least, when an order is placed. It’s an expectation in line with technological advances in making online purchases.

“Look at any successful e-commerce business and you’ll see all options being made available to the buyer, including pricing, shipping, materials, size and more,” Nokes said. “Other data platforms in the industry haven’t got to the point where they can handle it all. They’re still leaving much up to distributors to complete the orders.”

According to Nokes, “cultural differences” exist among the primary promotional product database providers. He said the primary example is data is free and accessible on DistributorCentral. Nokes said the idea of requiring suppliers to pay to have their product information made available and then also charging distributors to access product data is out of sync in the competitive world of e-commerce.

“DistributorCentral’s position is the product data belongs to the suppliers and our job is to get it where distributors and buyers can have open and total access to that information,” Nokes said. “We request suppliers to take responsibility for keeping their information accurate on DC for the benefit of the buyers. We’re happy to forward that accurate data – in whatever format is needed – to other platforms and websites. Why would we not?”

Solid Dimensions’ Tim Parcher said the industry has matured to a point it’s more about being competitive within the marketplace.  He said promotional products remain the best bang for the buck and one way to remain competitive is to have an accurate, up-to-date pricing structure.

“Gone is the system the industry used 20 years ago when products, pricing and catalogs were introduced on January 1 and were there until December 31,” Parcher said. “That’s not reality.”

Parcher said both distributors and suppliers understand the dynamics of continuous pricing and the need to change product information and options on an ongoing basis. He said a variety of ever-changing factors ranging from import costs to regulations to shipping can have an immediate impact on cost and product data.

“The gallon of milk you by in August isn’t going to cost the same as it did in February,” Parcher said. “We’re not working on annual fixed prices anymore.”

At Apli International, which features a variety of promotional products with an emphasis on stress relievers and unique pens, pricing stays static throughout the year but information about product information requires updates on a weekly basis.

“It’s not uncommon for the print shop to call and say a certain item can handle a bigger logo or there’s room for a second imprint,” said Phrogus. “It’s helpful that I can make changes very quickly in the DC system. I also like that DC is web based as opposed to desktop based, so I can make changes on the phone if I want. That’s cool.”

Virtual Samples via Technologo

As part of a promotional offering, virtual sampling capabilities as provided by Technologo are being integrated into all websites as hosted by DistributorCentral. Technologo provides unique and advanced virtual sample technology allowing real-time presentation of logos and messaging on products regardless of shape, color, texture or imprinting.

The collaborative initiative is part of a promotional offering that extends through September 8.

“Technologo’s virtual sampling tools fit seamlessly into DC-hosted websites of both suppliers and distributors,” said Jason Nokes, President of DistributorCentral. “We’re confident our customers who rely on DC for website hosting will quickly discover the numerous benefits and increased sales associated with the ability to create online virtual samples for their respective customers.”

Technologo

During the promotional period, DC-hosted URL addresses will be enabled to use Technologo virtual sample tools at no charge. Those who opt to subscribe to Technologo services during that four-week timeframe will receive another month of virtual samples capabilities at no charge.

Mike Betts, President of Technologo, said the integration of an enhanced virtual samples tool into DistributorCentral’s website platforms will allow suppliers and distributors to “test drive” a premium virtual tool.

“DC-hosted website users will be able to experience the capabilities of realistic virtual samples in real time,” Betts said. “Technologo makes it easier to set up personalized presentation materials for their clients, who in turn are in a better position to make purchase decisions.”

For more information about Technologo’s virtual sample technology being available on DC, visit www.DistributorCentral.com

Tiffany Tarr receives PPB Magazine honors

Tiffany TarThere’s a Rising Star within DistributorCentral.

Tiffany Tar, Vice President of Sales, was one of 12 up-and-coming industry pros selected as one of PPB Magazine’s Rising Stars. The annual recognition program seeks out and spotlights the promotional product industry’s budding leaders for achievement within their companies, industry and community involvement, strong initiative and leadership potential.

PPB started the program in 2010 with an inaugural selection of Rising Stars and since that time the program has become one of the most sought-after recognitions in the industry. More than 50 nominations were received for this year’s award.

Tiffany has been with DistributorCentral since 2007. Here’s what DC President Jason Nokes had to say about Tiffany as part of the Rising Star nomination process: “Tiffany was the first member of our sales staff who took the tie to dig into what she would be selling. She learned how the software worked, figured out how it could benefit our customers and actually used the software to build websites, process orders and search before she ever pitched her first customer. Under her guidance, sales have skyrocketed during her career at DC. We believe we have yet to see the full impact of Tiffany’s efforts in this industry.”

The Rising Star awards were presented during recognition ceremonies at the recent PPAI North American Leadership Conference in Boston. More information about Tiffany and each of this year’s honorees is included in PPB’s August print and online issues.

DistributorCentral Enables Technologo Virtual Sampling

LONG BEACH, Cal. (August 6) – Two cutting-edge web technology-oriented service providers are making virtual sample functionality available to over 10,000 websites within the promotional products industry.
As part of a promotional offering, virtual sampling capabilities as provided by Technologo are being integrated into all websites as hosted by DistributorCentral, the industry’s only free and open centralized product database. Technologo provides unique and advanced virtual sample technology allowing real-time presentation of logos and messaging on products regardless of shape, color, texture or imprinting.

Announcement of the collaborative initiative was made this week in Long Beach at the annual Specialty Advertising Association of California (SAAC) Show.

“Technologo’s virtual sampling tools fit seamlessly into DC-hosted websites of both suppliers and distributors,” said Jason Nokes, President of DistributorCentral. “We’re confident our customers who rely on DC for website hosting will quickly discover the numerous benefits and increased sales associated with the ability to create online virtual samples for their respective customers.”

From August 11 thru September 8, DC-hosted URL addresses will be enabled to use Technologo virtual sample tools at no charge. Those who opt to subscribe to Technologo services during that four-week timeframe will receive another month of virtual samples capabilities at no charge.

Mike Betts, President of Technologo, said the integration of an enhanced virtual samples tool into DistributorCentral’s website platforms will allow suppliers and distributors to “test drive” a premium virtual tool.

DC Integrates Technologo Virtual Sampling Technology

“DC-hosted website users will be able to experience the capabilities of realistic virtual samples in real time,” Betts said. “Technologo makes it easier to set up personalized presentation materials for their clients, who in turn are in a better position to make purchase decisions.”

For more information about Technologo’s virtual sample technology being available on DistributorCentral, visit www.DistributorCentral.com

Technology Partners Benefit From IRONMAN Triathlon Connection

BOULDER, Colo. (July 30) – Earning the right to wear an Ironman “Finisher” t-shirt is fortunately not a requirement for forging a successful business partnership.

Requirement, absolutely not. Benefit, most definitely.

Charles G. Duggan II, MAS+ and David Shultz discovered their Ironman connection when a discussion at an industry networking event signaled involvement with the grueling endurance event. It’s not something Ironman finishers would overlook. Arguably the world’s most difficult one-day sporting event, participants start with a 2.4-mile swim, followed by a 112-mile bicycle ride after which the athletes run a full 26.2-mile marathon. Complete the course in under 17 hours or it doesn’t count.

Charles G. Duggan Duggan, Director of Sales and Marketing for industry supplier Astor Chocolate (UPIC: astor), and Shultz, Vice-President of Operations for industry technology provider DistributorCentral, LLC, (UPIC: dc), have earned their respective “Finisher” shirts, albeit under different circumstances and times. This week they’ll both be at the 2014 Ironman Triathlon in Boulder, Colorado.

Again, different circumstances. Duggan will be competing in Boulder as an athlete in the 140.6-mile race while Shultz will literally be one of the boys in the band. His band, “Ironband,” is comprised of triathletes who write and perform parodies related to Ironman and the triathlon world in general. Ironband was invited to Boulder to play at the opening ceremony party.

David Shultz“This time I get the easy job – playing guitar and watching the race – while Charles and the other athletes do all the hard work,” Shultz said. “Then on Monday we go back to the office and dive back into the business of technology and the world of promotional products.”

Duggan and Shultz have worked together on a number of technology and marketing initiatives in the promotional products industry. DistributorCentral designed and hosts dynamic, custom websites for Astor Chocolate that can be quickly launched and customized to suit Astor’s distributors’ needs. Astor hosts educational session to teach their distributors how to leverage the tools provided by DistributorCentral to drive sales.

“DC provides Astor with a technology platform that enables their team to instantly launch new products or seasonal promotions across each of their distributors’ websites,” said Shultz. He’s convinced setting goals for technology initiatives in the promotional products industry can be similar in nature to setting goals when it comes to the triathlon world.

“The technology needs of customers can sometimes be overwhelming,” said Shultz. “But break up seemingly impossible tasks into achievable milestones and it’s not as daunting. Same for a 140.6-mile Ironman: The swim is done, if I just finish this bike leg all I have to do is run a marathon.”

Duggan agrees. “To be at the top of your game you have to do things every day to reach your sales goal,” he said. “Same as training for an Ironman. You need a good support network just like in business.”

In 2002, after his father suffered a stroke and losing his mother to a heart attack, Duggan ran his first marathon to raise money for Train to End Stroke. Since then he’s completed over 100 races including 17 marathons, seven half and five full Ironman competitions. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of Duggan’s accomplishments is maintaining a disciplined training regimen in the midst of a busy and travel-filled sales career.

Shultz has an equally demanding professional schedule. Plus, after his inaugural Ironman experience, it’s a wonder he didn’t give it up. In his first Ironman Shultz collapsed four miles shy of the finish line due to over-hydration. Doctors kept Shultz in a medically-induced coma for the next 48 hours as they slowly raised his sodium levels. Sufficiently educated in the intricacies of proper sodium intake and hydration techniques, Shultz returned to the same Ironman scene one year later and earned that finisher t-shirt.

Duggan may be one of the few to truly understand Shultz being compelled to complete an Ironman. And, he knows Shultz’s competitive spirit and process-oriented focus benefit their business relationship.

“That Dave and I will both be in Boulder adds to the excitement,” Duggan said. “For road warriors, it’s all about planning and execution. Just like the sales process, you plan to succeed.”