New to Promotional Products? 6 Things You Should Be Doing

New to Promotional Products? 6 Things You Should Be Doing

I always feel for the new guy. It’s part of the reason I decided to write this post. Inherently, I like to reach out to the new guy or gal at work and make them feel welcome. I do my best to make it apparent that if they need anything, I am here for them. I want to do the same for you, the new distributor, or the distributor looking to re-charge their batteries. So, from the supplier’s perspective, I give you 6 things that will help get you thinking and headed down a successful path.

[1] Educate yourself by taking advantage of ASI and PPAI resources.

If you haven’t done this already, take a few minutes to check out ASI Central and PPAI. They are both full of educational resources, as well as fun and exciting industry news and trends. I try to spend a few minutes each week reading either online or through one of their magazine publications. Over time, I have found this vital to staying current with trends in our industry.

[2] Get involved in industry discussion groups.

This is a must. There are so many distributors out there just like you, wanting to bounce ideas off each other and get feedback on tough questions. LinkedIn is a great platform for this. There is a group for our industry called Advertising Specialty and Promotional Products Industry and is really easy to join. CommonSku is another helpful social space, made especially for promotional products. I find it similar to LinkedIn, but it is certainly unique. Spend some time reading through the posts, I bet you will find something useful.

[3] Attend a trade show.

Before you skip over this section consider what your customers are looking for and how you are going to find it for them. One thing they will always want are NEW items, and in my opinion trade shows are the best place to find them. Suppliers like to showcase what is new, hot and trending at shows. It is their chance to get it on display and in your hands. If you can show both potential and current customers what is new, then you have their attention. That’s lead generation and customer retention rolled into one.

[4] Identify target markets

What are the best industries to target? And how do those industries play into your current relationships and connections? Start asking yourself these questions and do your research (hint: using the above mentioned ASI and PPAI resources are a great place to start). Answering these questions will provide guidance and give you something to refer back to, which makes taking the next step a lot easier.

[5] Identify products for that market

Now that you’ve decided who to target, become an expert on what products are most successful in their industries. Determine how they are used and pay attention to why they prefer certain products over others. This will help tremendously in how you will present that new product you found at a trade show you attended recently.

[6] Locate the best suppliers and use them.

In our experience, the top distributors are always maintaining and improving a list of top suppliers. This is a substantial way to cover yourself and your brand. By working with great suppliers, you will worry less and make more. Create guidelines you won’t break, such as not working with a supplier that has less than a 4-star rating. Great suppliers want to build relationships and put you first – start taking note of those you can trust.

What would you add to this list? What have you found helpful in getting started down the optimal path in this industry? Please share.