I both love and loathe shopping for groceries. I’m a big fan of creative cooking, so picking up the ingredients for the recipes I’ve laid out for the week can be thrilling, and I get excited about all of the tasty things I’m going to make. I’m also kind of a sucker and tend to fall for endcaps, sample stations, and well-constructed displays that show other tantalizing foods I could add to my family’s meal schedule. Still, grocery shopping isn’t always great. I hate stopping at several stores to get everything I need for the week, only to turn around and do the same thing the following week.
Deciding to purchase promotional products from a supplier can be a bit like grocery shopping from the customer’s standpoint. It’s fun to browse and see all of the creative promotional possibilities they can use to show off their client's team or business, but the idea of using multiple vendors for a few items can be a hassle for customers. They may also have budgets to stick to that make upselling them on promo items seem impossible.
However, sometimes being shown examples of the possibilities at play can do a lot of the convincing for them. Here are some ways you can tackle upselling your apparel clients on non-wearable promotional items by taking an extra interest in their needs, as well as their clients', and implementing the concept of "show, don’t tell":
- Present all of your company’s offerings during the first meeting with a new customer. Everyone knows you don’t get a second chance to make a first impression, so make it a good one. Show what you can do and what you do well. Make them aware that you possess the resources and capabilities to be their one-stop-shop right off the bat. After showing them what you can do, don’t let them leave without asking them a few questions:
- Are they working on any current projects that may warrant the use of promo products?
- What are they looking for? Just a T-shirt vendor or something more?
- Are there product opportunities that they’ve wanted to explore that they’ve been hesitant to tackle?
The more information you know and the closer you get to your customer, the easier it is to meet their needs and upsell them on items they’ll love.
- Offer practical promotional items that complement certain types of apparel or the clients themselves. If a shop typically prints garments for sports teams or athletic organizations, make it a point to talk to your customers about the possibility of adding complementary items to their order such as custom water bottles, drawstring bags, or socks. The next time you’re placing an order for a swim coach, talk about the benefits of custom towels, goggle cases, or personalized spirit items for parents such as keychains, car decals, and flags.
- Tap into any local events organized/sponsored/attended by your apparel clients. Keep close tabs on what your key customers and their businesses/organizations are doing. This may lead to opportunities for you to pitch other promotional items aside from the standard garments you provide them. If a client is having shirts printed or embroidered for a tradeshow, ask if they’d be interested in having promo products (pens, lanyards, lip balm sticks, koozies, etc.) personalized with their logo to give away at their booth. Conferences, festivals, expos, and parades are all great fits for creative advertising opportunities. The need for programs, registration forms, banners, signs, table covers, and giveaway items make them worthwhile prospects for decorators to explore.
- If you have a brick-and-mortar store, invest in a clean and well-designed showroom. A showroom is a no-brainer for those that gain new customers and secure returning ones via foot traffic. Constructing a showroom that conveys the creative abilities of your business is your opportunity to show and not tell. Some folks are visual and need to see what you offer. Design your showroom around cohesive themes and the demographics you typically sell to while utilizing your space strategically. Embrace the concept of calculated empty space to ensure that your displays don’t appear cluttered or give off that “garage sale” vibe. Build and decorate sections devoted to different apparel items paired with complementary promo products: sports and spirit wear, family T-shirts and photo-adorned items, business apparel and traditional promotional products. Be thorough in what you choose to showcase, but also be tasteful.