A former sales director for The Walt Disney Company, Simon T. Bailey urged attendees of The PPAI Expo to take a more purposeful approach to customer service, what he calls “customer love,” in Monday’s opening keynote, “Breakthrough Thinking For Breakthrough Sales.”

The best experiences buyers have with sellers and brands, Bailey said—the ones that prompt repeat business within the promotional products industry—involve going above and beyond, not merely serving the customer, but caring for them, creating “spark moments” that turn transactions into relationships.

“People are overwhelmed with a terabyte of information,” said Bailey. “A brand and how it shows up is an emotion, a connection, a perception, a moment and a memory. Breakthrough thinkers that are strategic thought leaders look for a way to brand the moment. That’s how they lead differently.”

Bailey said that in preparing for his speech, he was “blown away” by numerous stories of promotional products professionals who have managed the difficult business realities of the pandemic by focusing more intently on what customers really need from them. He cited examples of pros from businesses large and small, such as Peerless Umbrella (PPAI 112666, S10) and Corporate Specialties, LLC (PPAI 200872, D1), who took exceptional care of their clients to create value.

Among his top tips for Customer Love, Bailey offered listening, creativity and emotional intelligence.

“It’s not about what I can get from you,” said Bailey. “Gallup [research] says 70 percent of human decision-making is emotional, 30 percent rational. So, when people emotionally connect, they spend more, pay a higher margin and tell others about it because they don’t feel like they were sold to. They feel like they have a deep connection.”