“[I do] not go to shows to lug back hundreds of catalogs or samples, but rather to see new products, talk to suppliers about how their particular products can benefit my clients and become familiar with new suppliers in the industry.”
Some points on trade show practices also came to light. About half the respondents expressed frustration with the hectic nature of trade shows, pointing out better business could be done with more in-depth meetings and supplier sales representatives spending more time creating bonds with the potential distributor customer.
“Maybe suppliers need to slow down the process and gather more info and develop relationships.”
It seems suppliers need to look a little further down the road. The promotional products industry is largely concerned with generating new business or supporting existing business through giveaway items. Just as the distributor’s customer will have to give away many items to turn one end-user into a new client, so must the distributor give away much time and many samples to these customers in order to make the sale. In the same way, suppliers must be prepared to give away many catalogs for just one order. The added catalog shipping costs should be expected and factored into the show budget.
Still, distributors need to be more mindful in their catalog requests. As suppliers continue to spend more to ship catalogs, distributors will feel the pinch in increased product costs. When distributors request catalogs they do not need or want, they are increasing printing and manufacturing costs for everyone. This doesn’t mean distributors should stop asking for catalogs, but it does mean they should take a moment to consider if the products of a company are suited to their clients’ needs. If a distributor is not willing to take the time to sell a product, then why ask for the catalog?