Professional Offices Mean Healthy Profits
Even small accounts can yield big gains for enterprising distributors.
When targeting potential customers, distributors often think in terms of vertical markets, such as insurance, financial services and health-care. Within any vertical market, the biggest plums are presumed to be the larger businesses—corporations, hospitals and the like.
But, don't overlook the smaller operations, such as individual storefront insurance agents, solo practitioners, and small group doctors' and lawyers' offices. Many distributors have profited by pursuing smaller professional office customers.
For instance, when American Solutions for Business distributor Sherry Puckett Novelli, in Bowling Green, Ky., needed an orthodontist's services, she discovered that these specialists could give her steady business, as well. "Orthodontists have a lot of money to spend," Novelli said. "My customer has offices in four towns, and although they're not huge orders, maybe 1,000 to 2,000 promotional pieces, they are very easy and profitable."
Novelli gradually grew her business with the account, beginning with letterhead and adding basic forms, eventually supplying folders, labels, appointment forms and promotional products.
Novelli now provides orthodontists with checks, appointment cards, info sheets, postcard appointment reminders, pocket folders with informational inserts for new patients, and customized coupon payment books. She added, "They are very busy, so they don't price you to death. I'm fair and provide great service, so they've been very loyal."
Promotional products are a good chunk of her business with this account, Novelli said. "They do picnics twice a year for their kids, and they need giveaways when they give talks at schools and participate in other events." Pens, pencils and calendars are standbys, but the offices also order tickets for skating and movie parties that they sponsor, as well as customized giveaways for those events.
"For schools, we have offered a write-on/wipe-off board as a giveaway, and we've also done blue wristbands with their Web site printed on it," Novelli said.