Assignment: Improve Sales
Even in thriving economies schools have limited financial support, so difficult financial times like today's force education administrators to be creative. Instead of abandoning promotional products, schools are placing ads on decals, seat cushions and parking permits so they can still have these necessary products without paying for them. It's a tactic professional sports teams have been using for years, so it's a natural progression to university athletics and other school programs. Selling to these solution-seekers is why distributors exist. Educators are interested in new ideas to solve their monetary woes, and only you, distributors, have the solution-selling skills to extend their funds and exposure.
Sponsoring School Spirit
It may seem roundabout, but one of the best ways to sell into the education market is to target the businesses in the area instead of the actual school. "Some schools will contact local businesses to advertise on the item and the business will donate the item to the school," said Jeanna Abercrombie, sales manager for Wharton, Texas-based Pepco Promotional Products. These local sponsorships are lucrative for the businesses and also for distributors. "These 'sponsorships' or ad space present a tremendous sales opportunity for distributors," said Mike Stoeck, director of sales and marketing for Stouse Inc., New Century, Kan. "If the distributor sells the ad space, often times the ad dollars will exceed the typical retail value of the items and the distributor can provide the product to the school for free," he explained. "It's a 100 percent profit for the school and the business gets great advertising," added Abercrombie.
Stoeck offered an example of sponsorship selling to show the benefit to a distributor. "250 Honor Roll bumper stickers with coupons on the liner may sell for around $200 net," he said. "Placing ads on the liner sold to four businesses at $250 each results in $1000 in revenue and $800 in profit. That is an 80 percent margin and the school didn't spend a dime on them," Stoeck concluded. The secret here is that the distributor is demonstrating his or her solution-selling to schools without the school having to pay for it. "[Schools] see the distributor as a hero providing free product while the competitors of the distributor tried to sell them the product," elaborated Stoeck.