PPB June 2022

The reality is even if you do have really great customer service, you can take it a step beyond the project at hand and really dig into the relationship by understanding your buyer, their job and how you can help themsucceed beyond the promo. Themore you learn and retain about the buyer’s needs, themore you can proactively help your client and get in front of the competition. A few strategic questions up front can help you better understand your clients or prospects and separate you from the competition in their minds. Our job is to ask smart questions up front so the buyer thinks of us asmore than just a promo guy or gal. You are not pitching anything yet. You are asking smart questions and learning. The purpose of the questions below is to help you get a clear understanding of your buyer and the various ways they do business—both internally as it relates to recruiting and employee retention, as well as externally as it relates to sales andmarketing. Here’s a sampling of questions you can ask during the first meeting with a prospective client, or to reset the table with an existing one: 1What is your role and aside frombuyingmerch; what other responsibilities do you have? 2Howdo you like to be serviced and communicated withwhen it comes to project needs like this one? 3With regard to your company’smarketing and communications, what are the different branded items you print with your logo and branding internally (for employees) or externally (tradeshows, client gifts, etc.)? 4Aside from logoedmerch and apparel, are there any other items your company put its logo onto such as truck wraps or signage? 5Can you share withme some past examples of orders you have placed for promotional items with your logo andwhy you bought these items? 6Would you be willing to share your annual budget for promotional items like the above? 7Is there anything I ammissing as it relates towhat you have bought and for what reasons you are using the products? Ultimately, if you can understand how your buyer does business and plug in products that you sell to help themwith their business, youwill be a valued partner that they will lean on for many of their needs. You will be an expert in their business and not only be able to support the buyer you are targeting, but anyone that works in the company or the same industry. Don’t knowwhere to start? Here’s an example of how to ask for that initial meeting in an email. Hi Client Name – Wondering if I can get 10-15minutes of your time in person or by phone to learn a little bit more about you, your role and your company. I am just trying to get a sense of how I can best be a resource to you and hopefully, by learning a little bit more about your business and the types of products you are currently buying (or general ways you sell andmarket, both internally and externally), I can then understand your needs better. And help! Would you have time available on one of the following dates and times (you suggest three options to the client/prospect to box them in). If none of these times work, please let me know a date and time that does, and I will confirm. Thanks somuch – You By asking a few smart questions, compiling some data on your clients during these informational interviews and then proactively servicing these buyers, youwill help your buyer help themself while positioning yourself as their go to vendor partner for many years to come. Frey (Josh@swagcoach.com) is founder of Falls Church, Virginia-based distributor On Sale Promos and the Swag Coach Program. He is a 25-year industry veteran and frontline sales coach. Visit TheSwagCoach.com to register for his next Distributors Helping Distributors showand learnmore about his promo coaching programs offered. Ahmet Misirligul / shutterstock.com | JUNE 2022 | 43 GROW