Who's Buying Promotional Products? Some Ideas on Where to Look for Sales
How do you balance the search for sales with the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic? It's a delicate dance that occurs when connecting with existing clients and considering outreach to new ones, but promotional products distributors still have businesses to run—and there are still sales to be had. Penny Fleming, founder of Awardpro, Newport Beach, Calif., has some ideas for where to look.
“This is definitely a time where you need to present yourself as comforting and not as a person who is desperate to make a sale,” Fleming, who has headed Awardpro since 1983, said. “As I see it, there are still many opportunities to make a difference.”
Fleming said she's found an unlikely source of inspiration: television commercials. Brands with products or services that remain critical enough to advertise on TV are a good starting point for potential business. Insurance companies, food delivery services, grocery stores, etc. These businesses are still buying promo, Fleming said.
And then there are the large number of companies with now-remote workforces. Fleming said tech companies, service companies and even companies behind canceled events are buying work-from-home type promotional products. Some of these customers may already have products on-hand from previous purchases, but don't realize there are still ways to distribute them.
“Go after those who really need to recognize work-from-home employees,” she said. “There are people who have these items, and it should be a big goal to help them to unload their cases. For those who want to add such products to their names, [the goods] are going to help them to niche themselves out, which is something that I see as incredibly important in this day and age.”
Tracking down the right contact for these kinds of things may not be easy, but Fleming suggested starting with HR departments. And she stressed that helping people, rather than selling to them, has to be one’s mantra. If those individuals are established business partners, recent additions or would-be clients, they all have a mix of uncertainty and hope that sales transactions can help move more to the positive side because those agreements will alleviate the burdens of others. Nothing other than someone’s welfare, therefore, should be guiding sales approaches, as Fleming sees matters.
“Recognize what people need, and deliver what will help them to feel a bit, or a great deal, of relief,” she said. “Doing both is still very possible.”
Awardpro serves as the major means for Fleming to make the market aware of her Penny Fleming Collection, which also includes the Promotional Products Collection. Regarding promo goods, she said that various categories can complement shiny awards as signs of appreciation, with drinkware, self-care items and electronics among the best to do so.
“Hand sanitizers are all the rage right now and for good reason,” Fleming said. “They’re a huge part of what we’re doing as an industry right now, but we can’t forget to think of other goods and what they can do for morale, too.”