How to Sell Promotional Products During a Tough Economy (4 Tips)
During an economic slump, many challenges affect the sales industry, especially those who sell promotional products. What’s the secret to remaining successful? Two abilities: resiliency and adaptation.
When times get tough, it’s easy to blame the bad economy for a lack of sales—especially with promotional items. Companies will sometimes cut costs in their marketing campaigns first, which can be a mistake. They need brand awareness and sales in order to survive. Use this to your advantage and don’t give up!
Adapt to the economic slowdown and come up with new and creative ways to help your clients find marketing solutions. Here are four ways to outthink your competition and hold steady in the tough times.
1. Know Your Vendors and Stay Updated
Before you can begin to assist clients with their branded item needs, you need to be well-versed in the current state of the industry. Stay updated on your vendors. If a vendor has implemented supply changes—or has gone out of business altogether—make note of it. Be diligent on inventory limitations, production and shipping delays, and any cost increases.
Stay current on your competition as well. Maybe they’ve decided to throw in the towel which can be a great opportunity for you. Tactfully reach out and ask about taking over their client list.
2. Focus on Current Clients and Ask for Referrals
Engage with your clients face-to-face. In this age of email and messaging, call or go and talk with them in person to touch base. Learn a little about new challenges facing their industry and marketing budgets and be prepared to offer solutions.
For example, one of your clients owns several local taverns. Generally, you supply them with branded items for special occasions such as St. Patrick’s Day and Cinco de Mayo. In the face of a tough economy, however, you discover through Facebook posts they are struggling with employee retention.
Instead of their usual order (which they may be tempted to cancel), offer ways to help feel new servers feel connected to their new position. A welcome gift bag full of branded items to encourage them to want to stay may help encourage them to stick around.Also, determine if this is a good time to discuss referrals with your existing customers. They might be able to make introductions for you.
3. Stay Calm and Focus on Solutions
Most importantly, take care of yourself during this challenging time. Take steps to reduce stress and ensure you are in a healthy place. It’s impossible to help others if you’re struggling with being in a bad headspace yourself.
Talk with your clients and really listen to them. Try to understand what challenges their company is facing and let them know you are on their team. Ask if they are interested in suggestions for recession-proof solutions and solid ROI promotions. If so, focus on cost-effective campaigns specific to their needs
In a weak economy, just adding a logo to any item is not going to cut it. This is the time to have a strategic plan of using promotional items to help them with their sales and marketing. Be respectful of whatever those needs might be and most importantly, honor a client’s new budget restraints.
4. Pay Attention to What Sales Increase During Bad Economic Times
Buying branded items doesn’t stop during tough economic times, but sales do shift. For example, when public gathering places began to open back up after the pandemic branded signs were everywhere. Spaces added signs to the floor reminding people where to stand (6 feet apart!), or pointing to a new entrance or exit to reduce congestion.
Everywhere you looked you could see these new signs featuring the new, post-COVID way of doing things and featuring the business’s logo. The vendors selling these branded signs thrived.
Examples of Businesses That Thrive During a Tough Economy
During an economic downturn, many buckle down and don’t purchase new items. Instead, they make do with what they have. So, guess which type of businesses see an increase in sales? Repair shops!
If one of your clients or prospects is a car repair shop, they might want to hand out branded items now. Then when the market goes up, customers remember the positive experience they had with the shop when they needed it most.
Thrifting also excels during a bad economy. Buying and selling second-hand clothing and products do not have a negative effect on the market during tough times. This added income for thrift shops could be a perfect time to start a strong ROI promotions plan.
Of course, political campaigns always need branded items. Every political candidate purchases many items featuring their logo no matter what the economy is facing. Track them down and offer up some brilliant ideas to help with their marketing strategies. What other ideas do you have for local businesses that may benefit from this boost in sales?
When the economy is weak people cut back on discretionary spending, but branded items are still needed. They support efforts in marketing plans that keep businesses profitable. Don’t give up! Continue to offer clients clever ideas using promotional products, even in a bad economy.
This article is based on a course from Kaeser University. When you become a Business Owner with Kaeser and Blair, you get access to Kaeser University courses and several other training and professional development resources. Explore them today and start growing your business tomorrow!