Sales Boost: Step 1


These days, high-level success in ad specialty sales comes from being a consultative partner to your clients. Sharpen your consulting skills with our quiz and tips.


Positioning yourself as a consultant is guaranteed to increase sales. Put these strategies into action today.

GET YOUR HEAD RIGHT: Put clients and their needs at the center of your thinking. Doing this lays the foundation from which you can prove yourself to be a partner, rather than an outsider “trying to sell something.”

PERFORM PRELIMINARY RESEARCH: Before a meeting or call, find out as much about potential clients as you can. Use LinkedIn to research, not only their companies, but their employees as well. Review their company website and set Google alerts for their companies. Beyond Internet research, seek advice from friends or colleagues who may know or have insights into prospects and their organizations.

MAKE MEANINGFUL SMALL TALK: Break the ice strategically. Instead of random chit-chat, draw on your research to craft a few questions that start to reveal insights into the prospect’s goals, company ethos and potential marketing issues. Be professional, but maintain a conversational tone.

DEEP-DIVE INTO THEIR NEEDS: After the preliminaries, use open-ended questions to thoroughly understand the prospects’ business and clearly define their needs and objectives. Ask about things such as what they’d ideally like to have their promotional efforts accomplish. If they have a specific initiative in mind, ask what they aim to achieve and why. Raise questions about what promotional products they’ve previously invested in, learning both what worked and what didn’t. Ask them about their target audience: Why are they targeting these people? How do they want to influence them? Also, ask clients what they expect in a business partner.

LISTEN AND RECORD: Throughout the questioning, take handwritten notes and absorb what the client is saying with an open mind. If a client is uncertain how to respond, ask follow-up questions in a calm way to bring the answer to light. Still, refrain from interjecting too soon. Letting the client have his or her full say helps ensure you drill down to the root of what’s most relevant.

DELIVER A SPECIFIC SOLUTION: Once you’ve understood the clients and their needs, craft promotional solutions that address their particular situation. When you present ideas and product options, succinctly explain why each will help the clients meet their goals. Invite clients to question you and give input.

COMMUNICATE POST-SALE: Follow-up after the order to see if the campaign was successful, to learn if the client was pleased and to gain insights into what could be done better next time. That also plants the seed that there will be a "next time" to make another sale.