How to Ask the Right Questions to Take a Promotion to the Next Level
A lot of being a good salesperson comes down to asking the right questions. It can open up opportunities with new clients you might not have been aware of, and, more importantly, it ensures you’re on the right track with existing clients.
Neal Verga, CEO of NPS, Brea, California, says that through curiosity and clear conversation with customers, you can go beyond an ordinary promotional campaign and create something extraordinary that end-users will cherish. That means your customers will think of you for future projects.
Print+Promo Marketing: When did you first start selling print and promotional products together, and why was it a smart move for your business?
Neal Verga: I would say print and promo not necessarily in one job or project — I started doing that about 16 years ago when I started my own company. I was doing very little of that before[hand]. I’ve had this business 35 years, and was doing mostly print. And, to me, any time you can combine as many products to your clients as possible just makes sense. So, [with] the ability to sell promo through SAGE or ASI, it made perfect sense to add that product mix to what we do for our clients, and provide that service to them. ... It’s worked very well. Our growth has been more on the promo apparel side than on the print side at this point.
PPM: Tell me about a promotional campaign you worked on that blended both print and promo products.
NV: We’ve had a few of them, but one of the ones that comes to mind was a product launch that we were doing for a client of ours. They were opening up a new gym, so we incorporated a printed box with a tumbler, a hoodie, a towel, some pens, pads, some print material, and we actually did the kitting. That sort of spurred on a lot of other projects like that as far as new hire kits. We’re doing printed cartons, we get to do the fulfillment, sourcing the promo, all incorporated into and mailing out the kits for them. That’s certainly been an exciting part for us because it’s a partnership you’re having with your clients where you’re helping them either launch a brand, or [doing] employee engagement and client engagement. You really become a teammate, which I think is important for the growth of your company and our industry. You take the step where you’re not just a call center selling stuff; you’re working with them to help them grow their business.
PPM: How do you choose the selection of products for a project like that?
NV: It’s a lot of fact-finding. You want to know who it’s going to, who’s the end-user, who’s the procurement guy of it, and what can we do to make sure that that’s something they’re going to be excited about when they get it. Certainly printing cartons is a nice thing to do for that because you get that carton or mailer box and you’re excited. ‘Oh, cool, this came from one of my clients’ or ‘This came from my company.’ It’s a lot of fact-finding and asking questions about who it’s going to, and then we start sourcing and put together presentations. At that point, they pick and choose what they like, and we make sure we get the right carton size because that’s important if you’re going to kit it. You do your due diligence that everything you’re putting in that carton is going to fit and not redoing the carton part of it.
PPM: How did the combination of print and promotional products you used here solve the customer’s needs?
NV: It’s really becoming part of their team. I believe it’s important for that partnership to really grow — you have to become a part of their team. ... You’re really thinking outside the box and coordinating two different divisions sometimes to get that product to them. [...] Any time you can provide a full-service solution, you’re just going to bring more value to the client. It’s definitely something [where] if you’re not doing that, you should be trying to do this type of work.
PPM: What other advice would you give distributors working on a similar project?
NV: You know, just again, ask a lot of questions of your client. Find out what they’re looking to do. Are they looking to do any client engagement or employee engagement? Are they launching any new product that they want to send a kit out about, whether it’s social media people or just some of their big clients to get them excited about it? Most of what we do is fact-finding. Ask a lot of questions and listen to what they’re saying, then put together a package that works for them. Once you start doing it, I think you get more comfortable with it. You know what questions to ask, and it gets easier and easier.
Brendan Menapace is the senior digital editor for Promo Marketing. While writing and editing stories come naturally to him, writing his own bio does not.