The Giving Season
It may be the tail end of August, but the holiday season is right around the corner. One of the biggest stresses that comes with the season is sending and spreading that holiday cheer. To save you some of that stress, we came up with eight tips to get you through the most wonderful time of the year.
1. Consider Gifts that Can be Shared
"Over the last 20 years we have seen a trend toward more businesses sending larger gifts to be shared by everyone in the office, while fewer businesses are sending gifts to individuals," said Tom Riordan, president of Maple Ridge Farms, Mosinee, Wis. Maple Ridge Farms sells large baskets of cheese and sausage, chocolate assortments and gourmet towers, all of which can be shared within an office.
2. Be Proactive with Food Gifts
Don't wait for clients to find out you can sell food. Tell them. "Intuitively, buyers think of mail-order catalogs and retail stores for food gifts, not distributors," Riordan commented. "Don't wait for them to ask about food gifts (they most likely won't); be proactive and explain that you are the best source for food gift programs," he said. It is your responsibility to bring new ideas and promotions to the client and show them that you are the source for food promotions.
3. Sell Food with Samples
Supply samples from different edible promotion suppliers and let the food speak for itself. "Put a sample in the hands of the buyer—a sample that they can taste," advised Riordan. "Delicious food nearly sells itself."
4. Think Ahead
While some of us shake our heads at the appearance of Halloween candy in grocery stores in August, Traci Pegg, sales manager, Royal Crest Promotions, Golden, Colo., takes a different stance on early holiday marketing. "An average cycle of three to four months is needed to give enough exposure to the programs in order to attain maximum results in holiday program placements and sales," she said.
Early ordering is great for exposure, but also for ousting the competition. Don't forget you're not the only distributor placing orders. "The fourth quarter holidays (Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas) represent nearly 95 percent of our annual business," Riordan stated. "We receive half of our orders for the entire year after November 12," he added. With large amounts of orders being processed well within the season, play it safe by getting them in before the holidays get into full swing.
5. Suggest Brand Name Gifts
Gifts associated with a known brand can heighten the perceived value. "All promotions are filled with 60 or 90 percent brand name licensed toys, making it a top-quality gift children can relate to, as well as a desirable item retailers can be proud to display in their stores," Pegg said, referring to Royal Crest Promotions' Giant 8 Foot Tall World's Largest Stocking and Giant 3 Foot Tall Plush with Toy-filled Radio Flyer. While we recommend trying to nudge the client outside of their comfort zone by introducing them to promotional brands for food gifts, sometimes name brands provide a bigger impact.
6. Search for Supplier Deals
Be aware of supplier sales that will lead to the best deals for your clients. "We offer incredibly early order discounts in September and October," Riordan said. "If I were a buyer, I would take advantage of these." Taking advantage of early deals will guarantee your orders are in early (as suggested in tip 4) and at a reasonable price for your clients.
7. Add Special Packaging
"Special gift packaging improves the perceived value—it's the sizzle that helps sell the gift," Riordan stated. "Special packaging also makes the gifts more festive." A gift that is appealing to the eye will stand out more and capture the attention of the end-user.
8. Know Shipping Dates
Know how long it will take for orders to be processed and the turnaround length. "We are always ready to ship orders quickly. Our normal turnaround time is three business days from receipt of your order," she commented. "Annual programs are booked as early as June with future ship dates," Pegg added. While Royal Crest Promotions shipping process is rather quick, other companies may take longer. Be aware of the turnaround time and the exact day you can expect the order to arrive.