Data to Dollars
MAKING THE SALE
Not quite as commonplace as promotional products like T-shirts or pens, it may take a little convincing to get a client interested in USB items, especially if they're a less conventional market. "What I try to do is just start by asking lots of questions," said Anderson, who said he asks things like what kind of trade-show marketing they do or what information they want to communicate to end-users about their brand. He also stresses to clients that USBs should not be looked at as just another inexpensive promotional giveaway, but a unique item that is used long after the initial promotion.
Beyond the initial hook of the sale, however, there is another concern faced when selling USBs. Features that make them such flexible promotions like data loading, locking and custom-branded software browsers, not to mention things like chip strengths and failure rates, can create a lot of technical hassles for distributors and their clients. End-buyers will rightly have a lot of questions about your USBs drives, ranging from functional concerns to justifications of pricing, which are all issues that can sink a sale. These concerns may not be an issue if you're particularly knowledgeable about computers, but if you're not, there is another option for handling technical woes: Relying on your supplier for help.
"My advice would be, the people that are the most successful will use us as a resource," said Niko Pamboukas, director of sales for USB supplier iClick, Seattle. "Let us be your tech support," he said. "If there's any questions about it, those are things we'll help you with."
The suggestion makes great sense, considering that unless you're very knowledgeable about USB drive construction, your supplier is going to have more technical know-how than you. The help doesn't have to stop there, however, as Pamboukas pointed out several other ways suppliers can be of service, from providing market and device trends to helping with mock-ups and planning promotions.