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Steve Rudick is a Marketing and Sales Entrepreneur

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Steve runs a marketing company with several different products. Currently, Steve owns, Pictures in Crystal, Steve’s firm has been in the direct sales and promotions business since 1988, and he has worked for many Fortune 500 companies. Steve works to promote and brand various products including awards, trophies, personalized products and merit based employee of the month programs. Over the years, Steve has fine-tuned his skills and honed three major specialties: branding, awards, and recognition programs.


Steve grew up in Crystal, a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Steve has fond memories of living with his parents, two sisters, and brother until he went to college at the University of Arizona. Before he started his own companies and became a sales and marketing expert, around the age of 12, Steve was mowing lawns for extra money, and at 15, he started bagging groceries. These early jobs provided Steve with a strong management foundation. He learned to show up to work, do what the boss said.

Although Steve majored in accounting at University of Arizona, he found sales, marketing, and management was a better fit. More than 22 years ago, Steve received a telephone call from a friend to sell a few items at fairs and festivals, and he has been hooked ever since. Steve has a personal philosophy that has kept him moving through his successes and failures: “do something and keep doing something.”

Steve's Tips

Just starting out in the world of sales and marketing? Steve has a few insider tips. When it comes to sales, marketing, or running a business, Steve tells his people his main mantra: when selling a product always remember that 3 percent of people will need your product now, 7 percent will need the product in the near future 90 percent will never need the product. A great sales person should always satisfy the 3 percent and focus on selling and cultivating the 7 percent. The difference between a seasoned sales force and a new sales force is the ability to narrow the sales focus to the parties that need the product or service not try and convert those that do not need your product. Want to find out fast, just ask in a very nonchalant way, so is your budget for this product $XXX, pick a number, and make sure you look in their eyes. And wait for an answer.

Sales is a numbers game! After each sales call, a sales person needs to keep reloading. For instance, if a sale falls through, a sales person has a choice to: let it go, move on, find when the potential customer might need you product or and find a person who wants and needs the product. If a product is not in a customer's budget, do what you can to adjust the numbers and then move on.

All sales and marketing professionals understand objections. A great sales person will know every objection coming into a sale, and answer it in the presentation (except maybe the budget). When sitting down to facilitate a sale, a salesman should know why they are sitting down to have the conversation. What are your customer's needs? How will your product or service help? In a sale, you need to know your product inside and out. You should know how your product or service will integrate into your customer's business and what your customer will be missing without your product. And what problem are you solving. Sometimes the problem is simple like I need an award each month for $5.00 or less.

You will do business with people you like. While Steve was first starting out, he rejected this statement. Through the years, he has found himself doing business more and more with people he likes. Even though people will pick the option that fits in their budget, if a product is still in range and a customer likes you, they will find a way to do business with you.

Trends on the Horizon

The internet is here to stay and the internet is going to get bigger and bigger. This trend comes with pluses and minuses. One major minus is that people seem unwilling to communicate. For example, if a customer doesn't like your website, they will move on. Sometimes a site does not list a specific product so the customer moves on or the website lists so many products that the customer feels overwhelmed by the complex nature of the site and moves on. Additionally, smaller business people struggle to compete with larger business budgets for websites.

As email replaces phone calls, Steve admits it is frustrating because it takes 4 days to get an email response. Over the phone, the same question could be answered in 4 seconds. These email delays create inefficiency and a loss of profits because sales are lost while everyone is waiting for the email.

Management Tips

From Steve's humble beginnings at the Ramada Inn to running his own businesses, Steve has learned a thing or two about management. According to Steve, the management skills in America have deteriorated. However, Steve has a few management tips to keep in your back pocket. First, the boss is always right. Second, if the boss is wrong, refer to rule No. 1. A boss must be accountable and take responsibility for success and failures, and all employees must respect the boss's decision.

If you are the boss, schedule meetings, and if you are the employee, show up to all meetings. There is no decision. It is important to attend the meetings each week so that each employee is responsible for knowing the status of projects and what is going on. Next, if something went wrong or there is a problem, discuss the issue at the meeting. The boss will decide how to fix the problem and if you don't like it that's too bad because the boss is primarily responsible for the success of a company as well as any failures. In 2012, we all want to be a team, but at the end of the day, the boss is still
the boss.

The Balance

Steve is a happily married man with one 12 year old son. This proud husband and parent has a system for striking the balance between work and family. “I work for myself.” Steve works in the office from 9 to five and he cultivated a strict discipline early on to ensure that he works the requisite amount of hours for success. However, his schedule is flexible so if he needs to take two hours off in the middle of the day, he does, and then he comes back to the office and stays for an extra two hours. Owning your business requires discipline to work the needed amount and then to let go of work and go home.

After Hours

Steve is an absolute sports junkie. He loves to play tennis and run. As for watching sports, Steve is an avid fan of the Vikings, Cardinals, Diamondbacks, and the Suns. Want to take a break and discuss the game? Steve is your man.
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