Top Ten Reasons Why Promotional Products Distributors Fail
About the Author:
Kay Kotan is a published author and the founder of Independence, Missouri-based You Unlimited. She knows of many promotional products distributors (PPDs) who were not able to make it in the industry. Here are her top ten reasons why promotional products distributors fail:
10. They don’t surround themselves with the right kind of people.
PPDs traditionally start out in a spare bedroom of their home—alone. Soon they have questions, but no one to turn to for answers. From day one, find a mentor to steer you along the path. Even if it costs you, it is well worth it. It will save you so much time, money, and the dreaded learning curve. Join associations like ASI and PPAI, as well as local chamber and business organizations. Buy training materials and become a sponge. Don’t isolate yourself.
9. They don’t offer graphic design services.
I’m not suggesting you must become a graphic designer to be a PPD, but have a contractor or employee who can do graphic design work for you. Particularly when working with small businesses, you’ll find they typically don’t have the means or the knowledge to produce the graphics you need to create quality products. Align yourself with a graphic designer from the very beginning.
8. They wait for the customer to call them.
Many PPDs don’t want to “bother” their customers. I’m not suggesting you call every day, but become a business partner with your customers. If they typically order pens twice a year, call them four to five months after their last pen order or sooner if there is a special buy on the particular type/brand of pen they prefer. If a customer is an exhibitor at a March trade show, call him or her in November or December to start planning giveaways for the show. If you track these kinds of purchases and get the customer started on them early, you won’t be shuffling at the last minute trying to pull the rabbit out of the hat because the customer failed to call you early enough.