Start Spreading the News
When it comes to self-promotion, individual distributors do it their way.
Distributors specialize in helping companies run and grow their businesses. So, it stands to reason that these savvy sales professionals would know a thing or two about promoting their own products and services. Here, three distributors discuss their strategies for increasing customers and profits.
Interestingly, all three reported a reluctance to seek outside assistance, the general consensus being that advertising and marketing firms cannot fully comprehend the unique role distributors play in the marketplace.
Tenacity with Finesse
For David Donnelly, president of Suncoast Forms & Systems, Sarasota, Fla., the most effective marketing strategy is talking to prospects in person or over the phone. "We look in the local newspapers and trade magazines to find businesses that are just opening up or relocating," he said. "The objective is to find out who the main contact is and try to set an appointment."
If he is unable to get any face time when making an in-person visit, Donnelly always leaves behind "something interesting," whether it's printed marketing materials or a promotional item.
For instance, Donnelly's daughter designed a presentation folder to help educate prospects. "The folder also contains an impressive shot of our 20,000-sq.-ft. building, a real tangible asset for us," he said. "That and the fact that we have been here for more than 25 years gives us credibility."
Donnelly went on to say that the company makes frequent use of both commodity and high-end promotional items, such as calendars, pens, clocks, caps, insulated bags, canvas bags, coffee cups and letter openers. Some of the premium items are often laser engraved with the prospect's name and logo. "There is so much competition out there that you have to do something to differentiate yourself," he said.