Top 4 Ways You Can Compete With the Big Players in Promotional Products Sales

Recently one of the members of my coaching group forwarded an email to me from American Express announcing that AMEX is now selling promotional products at their web site. She wanted to know how she could compete with such a large company in which their expertise is NOT promotional products. The fact that AMEX and other non-promo products companies are entering this industry might be intimidating to many of you. Don’t jump ship quite yet.

Here’s how I responded to her: The difference is YOU!

When products and prices are similar to those of your competitors, the only reason for your customers to buy from you is YOU! Forget about focusing on the promotional products you sell and instead focus on the value you bring to your customers. This realization will level the playing field for you, as many of the larger companies can’t provide the same kind of personal value you can bring to the table.

How can you provide more value and compete with the bigger players? Here are my top 4 ways you can compete with the big players in promotional products sales:

1. Build relationships. People buy from others they know, like and trust. The relationship comes before the sale. In today’s high tech world, it’s easy to hide behind a computer, but that’s not the wisest way to run your business. Get out of the office and get in front of your prospects. Large Internet-based companies can’t provide the personalized one-on-one contact that you can.

Once you’re in front of your prospect, focus on educating them and helping them make the right choice. This goes a long way in building loyalty and customers for life.

2. Provide ideas. Compete by providing fresh ideas. Instead of just pushing products, share ideas and case histories. Let your creativity shine. Develop a case history file and let your customers know what has worked for other similar companies.

3. Become their personal shopper. Searching the Internet can be very time-consuming and very hit-or-miss. Let your prospects know that you provide personalized service that will save them time and give them access to many products that may not otherwise find.

4. Be the expert. Become as knowledgeable as possible about your prospect’s business and the business of promotional products. Read trade journals, attend seminars, take classes, work with a coach and enhance your skills. Your prospects will eagerly seek you out when you’re perceived as the expert.

Many people are turned off by big companies and appreciate the small personalized contact only YOU can provide. Let that work to your advantage and showcase that distinction at every opportunity in your advertising specialties business.