Objection #1: “Promotional products don’t give me enough bang for my buck.”
Years of data from ASI’s annual Ad Impressions Study – which measures ROI and buyer behavior – show that promotional products stack up quite well versus other ad media. The cost per impression of an ad specialty item is about half a penny. That’s less expensive than TV commercials, radio spots and print ads – and on par with the cost of newer media like Internet marketing.
Of course, ROI is only part of the cost equation. In many cases, customers have a limited budget, meaning you need to creatively craft a promotion that fits price-conscious clients. Margaret Von Gersdorff, owner of Premiere Promotional Products in Purcellville, VA, assures customers that she’s an expert at finding the right product for the right moment.
“Give me your audience, give me your budget and give me your timeline,” she says. “I'll show you what will work for your price point. I will find that perfect piece because of my knowledge. I’m not going to sell anyone anything that’s going to break because I’ve physically touched all of the products. I’ve seen them before.”
Objection #2: “Who needs another promo product, anyway? People toss them.”
Logoed USB sticks, mugs, tote bags – everyone has them. ASI data shows the average American owns 10 promotional products and keeps each one for about eight months. Why? Because they come in handy. In fact, surveys show usefulness is the top reason why people hold onto ad specialties. Joan Doyle, principal and owner of the Philadelphia-based retail consulting firm Doyle + Associates, says, “The irony is that the things I tend to keep tend to be the things that are the least clever. Clever is nice, but something I'll actually use is even better.”
Along those lines, whatever information appears on the promotional product has to make sense. People need to look at the product and understand what company it represents. Otherwise, it doesn't matter how useful that product is; it won't make the necessary impression.
Objection #3: “I can find items cheaper online.”
This may be the most common objection of all. In the age of Amazon, consumers are quick to search online for the best deal they can get – and compare the price to other retailers. Within the ad specialty market, firms like Alibaba, Vistaprint and Custom Ink provide the toughest online price competition for distributors. End-buyers might not even know these companies sell promotional products, but a Google search will usually rank these sites fairly high.
Remember that you can sometimes prevent an online price comparison by offering an array of integrated products that can be built into a campaign. In essence, what you’re providing is a bundle of products and services. Customers are less likely to search online for a group of products if you’ve successfully presented a promotional package instead of singular products.
If customers are specifically interested in one product or a very small quantity, they may well look into Custom Ink and Vistaprint. The misnomer is that these sites are always cheaper – they aren’t. If you’re confronted with an instance when those sites can offer a better price, your primary counter should be this: you can offer a personal touch that online sites can’t. You can show clients, in person, samples of different fabrics, imprints, styles and finishes, plus serve as the direct point person for the order. If customers order from you, there’s no waiting on hold after dialing a 1-800 number or being backed up in the queue of an online service chat. Let’s face it – online proofs can be a challenge. Some customers want to take that hurdle out of the equation, and you can help.
In the case of Alibaba, know that its weakness in the marketplace right now is its track record of selling counterfeit products across its sites. Don’t be afraid to point this out. Stress to clients that you source from reputable manufacturers who review the quality control of each order. Your ultimate goal should be to play up the positives of what you can bring a client: in-person samples, better service, constant communication and a real person to follow up with. A website can’t offer that.