Monday’s keynote luncheon featuring Larry Mersereau, CTC, promises to help promotional professionals grow their sales and profits, using strategies that help differentiate them from the competition. Ahead of his presentation, Mersereau spoke with PPB Newslink@Expo to share a few of these strategies, as well as tips on delivering excellent customer service every time.

PPB Newslink@Expo: What are some common mistakes that promotional professionals make when trying to differentiate themselves from competitors?

Mersereau: If you can’t tell the prospect clearly in a few words why working with you will be advantageous to them, they have no reason to choose you. It’s up to you to have a clear positioning statement on the tip of your tongue, and to reduce it to a few words to use as your tag line. And it has to be about them, not about you. They don’t care how many years you’ve been in business or how many clients you have. They care about how you’re going to make their life better, and why it’s in their best interest to work with you instead of the thousand other options they have to choose from. You’re in the business of helping your customers promote their brands. If you don’t have a well-positioned brand yourself, it’s going to be hard to get them to buy from you.

PPB Newslink@Expo: What elements of customer service are critical for salespeople to practice with clients and prospects?

Mersereau: It’s not enough to just get the order. You have to expedite the order, confirm delivery and confirm condition of the package and the accuracy of the product delivered. You have to follow up after they’ve put the product to work to make sure that it helped them achieve their goal. If they were in any way dissatisfied, it’s important to fix it. The first sale is the hardest to get, and the second sale is the easiest to lose if you don’t follow up.

PPB Newslink@Expo: If you could recommend three questions salespeople should always ask clients in order to secure business, what would they be?

Mersereau: The first question to ask is, “Who is your target customer?” You have to know who is going to be on the receiving end of the product before you can make an intelligent recommendation. Don’t be surprised when a prospect doesn’t have a good answer to the question. You may have to help them identify their target customer with a question like, “Tell me about your best three customers,” to get them thinking. Too many businesses have never clearly identified who their target market is. Promotional professionals are often guilty of the same!

The second question should be, “Where do you see promotional products fitting into your marketing mix?” Again, don’t be surprised if they don’t know. In fact, they may have never considered your products as an important part of their marketing. When you ask the question and get a deer-in-the-headlights look, it’s a golden opportunity to explain where your products fit in with their mix of social media, advertising, website and email promotions.

The third question should be, “What are you trying to accomplish?” Is your customer trying to increase brand awareness, bond with existing customers, or reward customers? Are they trying to expand their brand reach? Are they after new eyeballs or focused on existing customers? The more you can help them plan a promotion that gets results, the more likely it is that they’ll buy again. But you have to first establish what result they’re hoping for.

Keynote Luncheon: Stand Out! Selling From A Position Of Power
With Larry Mersereau
Mandalay Bay J, Level 2
Monday, January 15 from 11:45 a – 1:15 pm

Available tickets can be purchased at registration on Level 1.