After hearing the phrase, “You sell trinkets and trash” for the past 30 years, I have grown increasingly tired of it. It not only reflects poorly on the industry, but also the people who sell promotional products. I’m not saying it’s completely inaccurate--you need only attend an industry trade show to see all types of personalities. For many of us, though, it came down to a choice of how we want to be perceived. My personal lesson was how those perceptions create more control over the profit margins you can generate.
The good news is you can avoid being treated like a trinket peddler by following these simple steps.
1. Be Strategic- Help your client do a better job of planning by proactively reaching out to them. Promotional salespeople have been given a bad name because of our reactive “order taker” sales approach. Our typical response, sometimes client-driven, is to use a lot of low cost promos with no way to prove ROI. This strategy just reinforces the trash or trinket perception. Sell the service side; it’s much harder for the competition to source.
2. Focus on the Specifics - Target audience, client objectives, budget, theme, venue, and logistics. The solutions are more obvious because products are selected based on relevance. Build promotions that can be measured in terms of customer ROI. Want to blow the client away? Ask for a follow-up meeting to review the promotion or strategy from start to finish. Your client will appreciate the attention and you will have insight into any future projects. It’s a win-win.
3. Choose the Right Supplier!- Sometimes the partner is more important than the product. Want to win every time? Pre-select the right supplier before you present to the client, and then make the supplier part of the planning and presentation process. They provide you with greater capacity and it will ensure a better overall experience from production controls and branding consistency to product quality and delivery.
You can be a peddler of trinkets or a Promotional Consultant. It all depends on your approach…