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Second in a series

In this new series, distributor owner and sales coach Josh Frey answers frequently asked questions on a wide range of sales topics.

Q: I have been in the promo business for years and am stuck. I really want to sell volume, but don’t know where to start as I am working full-time in this business but not growing. Any tips? 

You are not alone. Many of us feel like the hamster on the wheel; around and around we go without feeling like we are making progress or growing our sales. Been there, done that—and learned a few tricks of the trade to help me move the needle forward.

Below are 10 methods I have deployed to get my sales rolling, and up and over $1 million a year (for the past 20 years). I realize you may run your own sales and distributorship differently than I do. Given that, take what you want from this list and apply whatever tools you currently use. 

I don’t call factories other than for price negotiations. I don’t collect past-due accounts, and I don’t deal with proofs, tracking, etc. I meet with clients and prospects. I network, volunteer and socialize in circles that can connect me to business and sales opportunities for my distributorship.

I use Dropbox to keep my client files organized. I know what they have ordered in the past, what I have proposed or priced before and where things are now. Being organized helps me to make sales quickly and easily. I don’t waste time looking for past order information or quote details.

I created a weekly calendar which breaks down what I am doing every day into hourly chunks. It ties directly into my goals and helps me focus and refocus when I need to. It also tells me what I should be doing from a sales activity standpoint and who my targets are. I set goals and review them constantly. Some of these goals include sales, gross profits and number of meetings with decision-makers and proposal pipelines. Keeping track of my progress helps me to remain dedicated and motivated to reaching and surpassing my targets.

I choose a target market (or two), learn the buzz words for that industry and then sell myself as an expert in that area. I am not offering everything to every client. I am a professional and present myself as a marketing partner who can help my clients do their job better, faster and more effectively, because I know their market. We call it targeting your million-dollar niche.

I connect with my top clients and contacts on LinkedIn. I then ask them for referrals to their networks. I share what’s going on with my business and life, so our working relationship becomes more than that of just asking for business. I share my goals online so my network can help me achieve them. Check out my LinkedIn page (www.linkedin.com/in/joshfrey) and you will see what I am talking about.

When I see or read about a topic that might interest a client or prospect, I forward it on to them. If I meet someone who may be a good contact for my clients, I make the introductions. I give referrals and help others with their own businesses and careers. I mentor and coach. I pay it forward. It’s all about the give and take. I create good karma and contribute positively while staying top of mind with my network.

When I meet with a client or prospect, I thank them and include a summary of the meeting, within two hours of the meeting or at least on the same day. At trade shows, I recap my leads the minute the show is over and send follow-ups—oftentimes while the show is still going on for my client. Do you know how many times a client will thank me for being so quick to respond? I deliver the same type of service I would expect, and my standards are very high. 

At the click or tap of a button, any of my clients or prospects can order a free sample from my website. Within three minutes, I can place an order for my client online and close the sale. I automate the thank-you and follow-up process (where appropriate) by using technologies such as CRM systems such as SalesForce. Buyers are getting younger and younger and have grown up on the internet. What are you doing, from a technology standpoint, to make it easy on your clients and prospects to buy from you online?

I have clients who I have been working with for 15-plus years. Not a few of them, but hundreds of them. I am focused on building relationships because with the relationship comes the sale. I don’t even ask for the sale. For example, I take my clients to lunch and it’s a tradition that they choose the restaurant. I tell them to pick a nice place that would be a treat for them—somewhere they typically wouldn’t go. It’s something they can look forward to and it’s also a chance to connect and learn about one another. What are you doing to build long-term, meaningful relationships?

Think about growing clients to whom you can eventually offer a company store, or get orders you know will come back over and over because you are in the supply chain. The more the client grows, the more your sales grow—but only if you manage the relationship correctly.

Did you notice one thing I don’t do? I will give you a hint. It has to do with the price of the product.   


Josh Frey is founder of Falls Church, Virginia-based distributor On Sale Promos and the Swag Coach Program. He is a 25-year industry veteran and front-line sales coach. Josh@swagcoach.com. Visit TheSwagCoach.com to register for his next Distributors Helping Distributors show and to view past shows. 

Read the first installment in this series on 10 Steps To A Powerful Sales Force in PPB’s June issue.