Question: Was This Promotion Successful?
A DISTRIBUTOR ASKS: So often I sell an order or work with a client on a promotion but don’t get feedback on how the product was received or what kind of results the company saw from the promotion. This is important information to have so that I can more effectively work with the company, and to help me track how our ideas are working toward getting them the results they want. I’d also like to share some of these success stories with my suppliers—then we all win. How do other distributors get clients to share results?
A promotion is a perfect opportunity for you to reinforce the relationship you have with your customer. Take a few minutes before you place your purchase orders and ask your customer to describe in detail the results they want to achieve, including metrics. If possible, meet with them in person for optimal results. The moment your customer realizes you are sincerely committed to making the promotion successful, they will be eager to share the results you will achieve together. This is the same formula that Pyramid Award winners follow. To learn more, I suggest you read Top Promotions of 2018 in PPB’s February 2019 issue.
David J. Hawes, MAS+
I am small enough that all of my customers end up being good friends. They all tell me what items they want and what they will be using them for. I have one customer that is a funeral home. They order a lot of organic lip balm for nonprofit events. They also order keychain safety whistles for women who work late at night. I also had a first-time customer who is a member of the local chamber of commerce, whose best friend was diagnosed with cancer. She ordered very nice beer glasses that a bar was going to donate for a run to raise money for a type of cancer. We also have a client that is a Christian radio station that helps out in the Dominican Republic, and they bought frisbees from me. They took a few over and the kids just loved them. Amazing how small things can still mean so much for others.
I do not see my customers as dollar signs or how much I can make off of them. In turn, when they come across something new, they ask me for ideas on new things they may try for a trade show, nonprofit ideas, and so on. Some may say I am so small it is not worth being in business. As a disabled veteran, this keeps my mind going rather than dwelling on other things.
Golden Choice, Inc.
Port Huron, Michigan
Communication is key to being an effective partner for your clients. Without open dialogue, you have no idea whether you are providing value or product that ends up in the landfill. It is all about developing trust. If the client trusts you, perceives you as someone who adds value and asks questions that allow them to promote their brand, be perceived as valuable by their clients and help drive sales, then you become a partner. It’s better to offer clients products that not only meet price points, but also offer solutions that can better their business. Never be afraid to ask questions about your client, their business, their goals and their clients. Ask questions that delve into how you can make them more successful and cement their relationships with their clients. If they cannot or will not share this information with you, then you might not have the right clients.
Your Brand Marketing
Richmond, British Columbia
One of my favorite approaches in sales is to sit down with a new prospect or client and share stories (my client’s case studies). All of their attention is on you, listening to how your promotional ideas solved the problem for another company. Some ask to copy that idea and others ask for new solutions. How do you get these stories? Ask questions when pitching to your client. What are they looking to accomplish? What are their goals? Who are their targets? What is their budget? Discuss options and share experiences. Share the good and the bad, too. Tell them why they don’t want a cheap pen. Communication is key.
AIMastermind Group/Graphic Revolutions
Sometimes getting ratings from clients is difficult, because they’re not in the habit of measuring our media; but feedback is essential for growth. Our mission is inspiring results on purpose and we’ve discovered that the trick to receiving quality feedback afterwards is by setting that expectation in advance. When we receive inquiries, we never respond with a quote. We respond with “purpose” questions. Sometimes, just one, like “How are you using these?”, to get the conversation started, right up to offering our $2,500 MegaBoost Marketing Plan with 29 “purpose” questions. If there is any resistance to answering, we offer that the more we know, the better we can serve, and tack on a quick and relevant case history—a conference journal, trade-show handout or fundraising tool that we co-designed—so they see the value in the curiosity. It may be faster to simply take an order, but we often get invited to our clients’ events because we’re part of their success, which is a great story to tell.
Jae M. Rang, MAS
JAE Associates, Ltd.
I look at it a bit differently. I see a client and my goal is to write their story. I try to find out what their event/marketing/program needs and goals are. Then I get creative and write a scenario in which we use promotional products to help write the story.
As an example, I met with a credit union client who wanted to increase the company’s children’s savings accounts. We discussed a few ideas and came up with a Savings Safari theme. The idea was that if a kid opened a $25 savings account, he received a paws and claws lunch bag. They bought inexpensive pith helmets and inflatable palm trees and other jungle-themed props for their branch offices. They put on a whole scenario that excited the kids visiting with parents and, in turn, incentivized mom and dad to open accounts. It was fun for the employees and the members. As a result, the program increased savings accounts for kids by 34 percent. It was a big winner and they have repeated it every spring quarter since. They buy 3,500 lunch bags and have given them all away, every time. This, I think, describes what I call my ‘value added’ for my clients. They rely on my counsel for creativity, value and ROI. Just for a change, try writing the story.
Five Star Promotions, Inc.
Do You Have An Answer?
A Supplier Asks: I’m planning ahead for our 2020 catalog and wonder how other suppliers are going to approach theirs. There are pros and cons to print and digital catalogs. Is the solution to use both? Do I need to use both? Distributors—what works best for you? Also, in our print catalog we’ve been directing distributors to our website for current pricing because of cost volatility. What is the easiest way and most foolproof way to keep those prices up to date?
What’s Your Answer? Email answers along with your name, title and company name by May 20 to Question@ppai.org for possible inclusion in an upcoming issue of PPB magazine.
Danielle Renda is associate editor of PPB.