4. Box It Up
Godsey recommended packaging tumblers as gifts. "The most common trend we're seeing right now is using tumblers as gifts," he said. "It is for this reason that tumblers with gift boxes are becoming more and more popular."
5. Brush Up on Safety Regulations
Stan W. A. Dohan, MAS, executive vice president of The Allen Company, Blanchester, Ohio, advised distributors to partner up with suppliers that are wellversed in the laws and regulations behind these products. Because The Allen Company offers more than 650 drinkware products, it is quite familiar with product safety requirements associated with the item, inks and imprinting methods.
"Consumer product safety, FDA and tightening regulations continue to add a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy," Dohan pointed out. "Fortunately, The Allen Company also leads the way as we did with California Prop 65, the development and use of triton material and the elimination of plastics and polycarbonates which leach BPA."
6. Ask the Right Questions
Open communication with your clients seems like a no-brainer, but Ramos believes this is lacking. "Most distributors just take the order and don't ask any questions," she said. "It seems like they are afraid of losing the order if they ask any questions."
Always start with the basics. For instance, what is the goal? The budget? When is the event? Dohan advised distributors to ask how the product will be used. While this may seem like a straightforward question, sometimes it is forgotten. It is particularly important if children may be the recipients. "As soon as you imprint Winnie the Pooh or the like on [a coffee mug], it becomes a children's product," Dohan said. "Or, [ask] if there's going to be any distribution in states with very litigious and stringent laws on the product, inks and the like, such as California or Minnesota."
Perhaps Piano summed it up best. "It's important for you, as the distributor, to be asking the right questions rather than answering the obvious ones," she said. "Asking the right questions will lead a customer to the best product that will deliver the best results."
7. Give the Right Answers
On the flip side, distributors are expected to know about the product they're selling. Holm listed the kinds of questions end-buyers might ask, and that you will need to know the answers to. 'What kind of quality can I get for my budget range?' Another is, 'Does the product meet all regulated laws and compliance standards?' 'Why should I pay for double-wall, does it really make a difference with tumblers?' 'What about vacuum insulation?'" she said. "Finally, 'Is this product OK to microwave, or put in the dishwasher?'"