Are Promo Materials Immaterial?
I once had a boss who used to say—“The cobbler’s kids go barefoot.”—every time I asked him for a brochure or some materials I could drop off while prospecting for new business. It took me awhile to figure out that what he was saying was that it is a common phenomenon in business that you are so busy performing the work for your clients that the very thing you need for YOURSELF never gets done.
Poor cobbler’s kids. Their feet must hurt. And poor print reps. How do they get the word out about what they do without something that they can leave behind?
I decided that the topic of marketing materials might make for a healthy debate with all my devoted followers. So here is the question:
Can you have an effective prospecting plan and land lots of new business without something printed that tells the world who you are and what you do?
I think you can. But I also think that you shouldn’t. Here’s why. With an effective prospecting plan, you have to touch a prospect a number of times in a number of ways. I am a fan of letters, phone calls, e-mails, dropping by and sending postcards.
“Why all the work?” you say. Because you have a lot of competition out there, and you have to be creative and persistent to be heard above the din. The vast majority of sales people give up way too easy, without having tried anything other than one or two phone calls or e-mails.
I am a BIG fan of the drop by. If it is at all geographically feasible for you, I recommend that you start dropping in on prospects as part of a well-though-out prospecting plan.
But if 8 times out of 10 the prospect does not step out to meet you face to face, what do you leave behind? A business card? OK. Some candy? Sure. A scratch-off lottery ticket? Nice idea.
Now working as a consultant, Kelly sold digital printing for 15 years so she understands the challenges, frustrations and pitfalls of building a successful sales practice. Her mission is to help printers of all sizes sell more stuff. Kelly's areas of focus include client recovery, retention and acquisition, and marketing communications projects.
Kelly graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in Political Science and, among other notable accomplishments, co-founded the Windy City Rollers, a professional women's roller derby league.