The Price Is NOT Right
The lowest common sales denominator in our industry is the product-based sales person, i.e., promo-peddler, trunk-slammer, tchotchke-chucker, ad nauseam. The mere fact that you are reading and digesting this means you most likely aren't one of those. I'm addressing this article to you—the thinking sales person, the promotional partner, the extension of your client's marketing department. You Think, Therefore, You Am. (I gotta stop talking like I'm Popeye.)
Most of us, in approaching the way in which we go to market with our clients and prospects, employ a variety of techniques to solve problems and land orders. Here are some of the more effective and professional ways that Bold, Different and Memorable sales people connect with buyers:
Value-Added Selling, Program Selling, The Agency Approach, Close-Out Selling, Solution-Based Selling, Niche-Marketing and that ultimate partnership, Relationship Selling.
There are many varied approaches to promotional products sales, but the most common—as related in the first paragraph—is selling based on price. Or, as I like to button-hole it, Selling From A Place of Fear. This is an eternal hot-button issue in our industry and often an area of contention between the sales force and sales management. Since I'm coming from the latter group and am certainly not shy about sharing my perspectives on Fear-Based Fraidy-Cat Selling from a Cowardly Vantage-Point, bear with me. If you see yourself in what I relate, you may want to take a cold, hard look at how you go to market and land orders. And make some changes.
Check out this scenario, cats & kittens...
You've been developing an exciting new account called Vandelay Industries. Your contact Mr. Costanza has asked you to quote on 2,500 custom USB drives in the shape of a soup bowl. You really want the order, so you sharpen your pencil and quote this $15,000 project at a 30 percent margin. When you call Mr. Costanza to follow up and land the order, he tells you that he found the USB drives online for almost a dollar less than your price and he's certain he's comparing apples to apples. If you are willing to drop your price a whole dollar off, you've got the order—but this would cut your profit margin fully in half to a mere 15 percent.