How to create sales opportunities with promotional products

Here’s How to Create Sales Opportunities with Promotional Products

You wrestle with many important business decisions but often the task of choosing  promotional giveaways for trade shows, golf outings, sales calls and company events and initiatives gets handed off to an assistant. Many times the ultimate decision comes down to just picking something at the last minute to throw in the swag bags of show attendees.

Let’s just go with those. They’re cheap, and everyone can always use another coffee mug/flash drive/mini screwdriver set, right?

That’s a mistake. Sure, you may hand out a bunch of “stuff” to whomever walks by, but what good has that done your business? In any marketing effort, including promotional items, success is achieved through strategic thinking and careful targeting of your most important prospects.  Here are a few important steps that often get little or no attention in the process of picking a promotional item:

  1. Do Your Research

This is a key ingredient that is often overlooked. For starters, look back at your own history, if you’ve kept any records. What promotional items have you given out in the past, and at what kind of events? Is there any tracking data about how many were distributed, and anything that came of it? Important input might just be in your files.

Another even more important thing to research is the audience for your show or event. Who attends the show? What percentage of them are real prospects for your product or service? Do you want to make an impression on everyone who passes by, or concentrate on the more qualified prospects who make a point to visit your booth?

  1. Think Strategically

Instead of regarding promotional giveaways as an expense, think of them as an investment, and put them through the same rigorous planning you do other marketing efforts. What do you hope to gain by handing them out? Is the goal simply to gain broader awareness for your company? Increasing the number of leads from a show? Helping potential customers understand your unique advantages? Closing a big deal? In the case of an employee event, could you reinforce the company vision and engage them more deeply?

Answers to these questions help point the way to smart promotional product decisions. Once you see the numbers involved, the objective, and the chances of success, it becomes easier to decide how much of an investment it is worth.

  1. Think Creatively

When it comes time to choose an item, many choose something uniquely practical. That’s not a bad start as people will see your branding more often if they use the item more often. If the conference is in Seattle, an umbrella might be useful. Hey, if it’s in Michigan where I live, a snow shovel might come in handy.

But an even better idea is to be creative with your choice. That could mean with the item itself, or the way you distribute it. If your business promises “brighter financial consultants” then maybe a flashlight with the right words will make that point.  If it’s speedy service, how about handing out a stopwatch?

  1. Maximize Your Investment

Sometimes a company will want to spend “as little as possible” on promotional items. But that answer will likely lead you to wasting whatever you do spend. A better approach would be to consider ways you might make the most of your promotional giveaway. Perhaps you can use social media to create anticipation about it prior to the show or event. Or a secret “winning” number or extended offer of some sort on the item can extend the opportunity for contact further, and begin a relationship.

Where Do I Start?

The best place to start is with a thorough promotional product audit. Superior Business Solutions can work with you to put together a promotional product plan that takes into account your past experience, your prospects, your business and your budget. We know how to ask the right questions about your company’s marketing goals, the events you have planned or are planning to attend, the venue, the audience, and the end results you are hoping to achieve. Give us a call for some help making your plan. I love creative brainstorming!  Trinkets?  Chachkies? Swag?  Hardly.  Once you see how the right promotional products can give a meaningful boost to your business, what you’ll call them from now on is “opportunities.”

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