Selling the Whole Package
As the number of people who have added promotional items to their product line increases, so too does the confusion about what exactly they “sell” to their clients. In most situations—and certainly in business—understanding your goals will bring success. However, your goals may not always be clear, and the terminology and language customarily applied to the specialty advertising and promotional products industry doesn’t always help.
When a group of industry professionals was asked what they do for a living, the popular response was, “I sell promotional products.” Since “selling” generates money, the statement is
accurate on the surface, but simultaneously deceptive when the client’s objective is considered. For instance, we are more likely to hear, “I want to motivate my salespeople” than, “I want to buy some watches.” Advertising is not outcome-based; it is informational. It may contribute to an eventual outcome, but there will rarely be a direct cause and effect from advertising.
When you identify your clients’ objectives, you are identifying what they really want from you. Selling them the outcome they want instead of imprinted “things” protects your margins, guarantees additional client business and allows you to propose a project based on the desired outcome, rather than on an assumption.
Sometimes, working backwards can be effective, as well. For example, when two major competitors were going to merge, the employees feared job losses despite their employers’ dismissal of this claim. The objective of a promotional marketing project was to reinforce employee security and improve productivity and cooperation.
In order to strengthen the feeling of job security, the company produced apparel displaying the new corporate logos and the employees’ names. Personalization was the key to reaching the objective, and there was no advertising involved—only marketing!
So, the next time salespeople are asked what they do for a living, a better response might be, “I build relationships, grow businesses, increase revenues, enhance productivity, recognize achievement and encourage greatness.”