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Best Promo Products?

 
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Old 03-22-2012, 06:40 PM   #1
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Best Promo Products?


1.What's the best/most creative/most successful promo piece you've either used yourself, or have seen another business use? Preferably something geared towards a tradeshow environment, but any ideas are welcomed.

Along the same line-do you use anything special in your show booth that draws them in, or is mentioned often by visitors?

I'm so bored with pens, yardsticks and magnets..........but, if one of these has worked for you, explain, please!

2. Those of you who sell tangible product....like, roofing or windows, not primarily labor-have you/do you, use coupons or specials, if your manufacturer allows it? If so, how? Something like 'buy 2, *** windows, get one free’, or ’15% off *** brand doors in the month of March'? How successful do you find these? Do you offer any sort of discounts or specials for repeat customers?

Thank you! It's that time of the year again............
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Old 03-23-2012, 05:53 AM   #2
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Re: Best Promo Products?


You may want to try a search for PCP Plumber. Haven't seen him post here in quite awhile, but he did alot of tradeshows and offered his ideas. Some seemed a bit much but he said they worked for him.


sorry, it is pcplumber. Just some of his posts had me thinking otherwise. He does have some good ideas.

here's one link

http://www.contractortalk.com/f12/ho...iveness-46786/

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Last edited by TxElectrician; 03-23-2012 at 07:00 AM. Reason: added link
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Old 04-01-2012, 02:17 AM   #3
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Re: Best Promo Products?


We have been helping clients implement systematic referral systems and there have been some huge results.

A lot of them where already getting business through word of mouth, but when they took control of it and made it actual marketing campaign these contractors improved their referral rates from 50 - 300%
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Old 04-01-2012, 07:49 AM   #4
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesBrine View Post
We have been helping clients implement systematic referral systems and there have been some huge results.

A lot of them where already getting business through word of mouth, but when they took control of it and made it actual marketing campaign these contractors improved their referral rates from 50 - 300%
To quote two of the most prolific philosophers of my day (the Jerky Boys)....... "Very Proud of Ya"..... just kidding
Are you going to offer some of your methods?
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Old 04-01-2012, 03:32 PM   #5
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Re: Best Promo Products?


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Originally Posted by Pearce Services View Post
To quote two of the most prolific philosophers of my day (the Jerky Boys)....... "Very Proud of Ya"..... just kidding
Are you going to offer some of your methods?

Yes, can you throw us a bone here, James? LOL-our town is small, so word-of-mouth isn't difficult for us, I'm just looking for some fresh ideas for our shows.....

One idea I had, kind-of cashing in on the 'green cleaning' trend: hand out small (4oz) spray bottles of a green window cleaner (which we will make, for barely anything).....our logo on the bottle, with something cute regarding Spring cleaning/new windows.....something. Oh-and I'd make a little 'recipe' book of other 'green' clean recipes, Spring Cleaning checklists, maybe some actual recipes, like grilling ones, and throw in references to our products, ex: grilling recipe and 'a new pergola would be great during those family cook-outs'.......

Cheesy-but isn't everything? Lol
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:11 AM   #6
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Siding, you just came very close to answering your own question. It's not so much what you use for your promo item, but how you use it. Keep thinking like you just did above and you'll win.

To help you build on your ideas, think beyond just immediate sales. Look for ways to capture leads that can turn into sales months down the road. A significant part of the selling process is establishing recognition and trust. Sales typically happen after multiple points of contact.

In the situation you asked about, the tradeshow/homeshow will serve as step 1 for most of your leads. You want your giveaway to take them to step 2. You'll probably want to use some kind of drawing in addition to whatever you choose to give away. By doing this, you can capture emails to notify the winner. Everyone on your new mailing list is a potential customer as long as you don't send them junk email.

Find ways to add value to your emails and you will retain permission to put your name fresh in people's minds on a regular basis (once month is an ideal schedule). On the signup, some checkboxes for whether they are considering new siding, windows or doors, or sunrooms would help you target your mailing. Since you will have the advantage of face to face time while people are signing up, you can use this to discover the type of information they are interested in. Be the one to provide that info and your chances of a sale increase.

Using siding as an example, an email where they can download a free guide outlining the pros and cons of different materials under the siding would be useful and not just trying to hawk your services.

These are just off the cuff ideas but it should be sufficient to inspire you in the right direction.
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Old 04-03-2012, 11:42 AM   #7
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesBrine View Post
We have been helping clients implement systematic referral systems and there have been some huge results.

A lot of them where already getting business through word of mouth, but when they took control of it and made it actual marketing campaign these contractors improved their referral rates from 50 - 300%
My spidey sense indicate that this is very close to an unpaid ad James. Last I knew the practice is frowned upon by the powers that be and the general audience.

Just pointing out that you will need to throw out a bone or risk censure.

For the OP, 2 years in a row we set out a display near the front edge of our booth;



Just a half dog house that ran water over the roof covered with debris to show off a gutter screen. First year we sold one, second year none.

But what it did do was attract the attention of men and children, they don't seem able to resist running water. Waiting patiently, Mom/Mother would glance over our booth and more times than not find something to ask about. At the time we were offering siding, windows, garages and a number of other outdoor services.

We now offer a more focused set of services (K&B w/ concrete counter tops) and it simply wouldn't fit. I wish it would.

Our show was this past weekend and I saw a display with an outdoor concrete top that had a stream running through it which dropped into a lower level pond type set up. Got me thinking again.

Good Luck
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Old 04-03-2012, 03:28 PM   #8
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by Pearce Services

To quote two of the most prolific philosophers of my day (the Jerky Boys)....... "Very Proud of Ya"..... just kidding
Are you going to offer some of your methods?
Yes your referrals system starts right at the start of the project, you need to drop hintsbthat you get a lot of work through referrals. This way they start to realize you will one day ask them.

As it gets closer to the end of the project you approach them with your referral form and explain if there are any rewards for referrals who sign on with you. (dinners for 2, cash reward depends on the value of the referral.)

Then you have referral cards and a follow up letter. It's all in the details and how you create benefits to encourage referrals.

Hope this helps.
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Old 04-03-2012, 04:31 PM   #9
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesBrine View Post
Yes your referrals system starts right at the start of the project, you need to drop hintsbthat you get a lot of work through referrals. This way they start to realize you will one day ask them.

As it gets closer to the end of the project you approach them with your referral form and explain if there are any rewards for referrals who sign on with you. (dinners for 2, cash reward depends on the value of the referral.)

Then you have referral cards and a follow up letter. It's all in the details and how you create benefits to encourage referrals.

Hope this helps.
Thanks, can you share what your card and letter look like, and what industries tend to benefit mostly from your strategy.....Pleeeze
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Old 04-04-2012, 07:30 AM   #10
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Re: Best Promo Products?


I have been doing Home shows for the past 28 years, you have to be creative in your approach to getting attention. The shows are a tool for your first point of contact, so you want the customers to remember your company or your self. I have a pet Whitetail deer that I found when she was a day old. I put some pictures of her (on my display screen at the Home shows) sitting in my leather recliner in my living room. I have such a good response from this because it gets people to stop in front of my booth and ask questions about if the pictures are real or photo shopped, kids drag their parents over to see the deer pictures, other vendors tell visitors to check out the guy with the pictures of the potty trained deer that lives in his house. I could not have planned a marketing idea like this. You have to be creative no matter what you do.
I pay my customers for referrals, I put a spot on the back of my cards where my customers can write their name and contact information, they then can give the card to somebody and if that person buys a project, they get paid a 5% commission, up to $500.00. This has been extremely effective. I have customers asking for 50-100 cards and leaving them on bus seats, on restaurants counters and gas station pumps. I had one customer get close to $16,000.00 in commissions that he put towards an addition on his home.
You also might want to invest in an auto-responder system for your email that sends out monthly or annual emails to your data base, this keeps you in the mind of your customers.
There are also SMS marketing tools that send your company information to anyone with a smart phone that comes within a predetermined distance of your location. I have about 51 marketing tips most business owners are unaware of that are getting me in front of a lot customer. You can PM me and I can get you some more information on some of these marketing tips.
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:04 AM   #11
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Business cards with MAGNETS !!!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:06 AM   #12
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Deck-Great ideas-I especially like the referral cards. I *love* the deer idea, lol! I want one! Now, maybe I can convince my husband it would be good for business! ;-). We had a ranch when I was a child, and we visited one weekend, to find that one of the hands had found one, too-when it was teeny, it would walk around on their waterbed, all weeble-wobble-so adorable!

That brings up a point though-just last night I was telling my husband that we should make Pippa Pig, my daughter's (ok-my) guinea pig the mascot. Joking-of course, but I do think we should put one of the dogs (or her, heck-she's probably more memorable!) in all our print ads. You (at least, I) always remember the animal ads, if they consistent with them.

I will pm you later, I want to see pictures of that deer, I'm fascinated by that! (Have you ever seen a capybara? I want go keep one as a pet so badly, it reminds me of that.) Seriously, I'd like to know some demographics about your town and customer base, and more about your e-mail blasts. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it....
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:14 AM   #13
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by MagicPoolSvcs View Post
Business cards with MAGNETS !!!
MAGIC-what an awesome, innovative idea! ;-) You don't mind if I borrow that, do you?

You remind me (in your one little sentence, lol), of the 'Quality' water/pool guy in our local area. He's responsible for my entry into the siding and window dynasty we have going, lol. He introduced my husband and I at a tradeshow.....we see him in his booth every year, he's seen us go from that shiny new ring on my hand, to carrying a little blue-eyed mini-me of my husband, and he'll see us right before our 10 year wedding anniversary this year! I have a soft spot for you guys, even though he still tries to sell me on whatever the hot new water project is, any given year..........
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:36 AM   #14
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by cbscreative View Post
Siding, you just came very close to answering your own question. It's not so much what you use for your promo item, but how you use it. Keep thinking like you just did above and you'll win.

To help you build on your ideas, think beyond just immediate sales. Look for ways to capture leads that can turn into sales months down the road. A significant part of the selling process is establishing recognition and trust. Sales typically happen after multiple points of contact.

In the situation you asked about, the tradeshow/homeshow will serve as step 1 for most of your leads. You want your giveaway to take them to step 2. You'll probably want to use some kind of drawing in addition to whatever you choose to give away. By doing this, you can capture emails to notify the winner. Everyone on your new mailing list is a potential customer as long as you don't send them junk email.

Find ways to add value to your emails and you will retain permission to put your name fresh in people's minds on a regular basis (once month is an ideal schedule). On the signup, some checkboxes for whether they are considering new siding, windows or doors, or sunrooms would help you target your mailing. Since you will have the advantage of face to face time while people are signing up, you can use this to discover the type of information they are interested in. Be the one to provide that info and your chances of a sale increase.

Using siding as an example, an email where they can download a free guide outlining the pros and cons of different materials under the siding would be useful and not just trying to hawk your services.

These are just off the cuff ideas but it should be sufficient to inspire you in the right direction.

Thanks, Steve! We do implement a give-away (as in a large, 'sign-up to win!' type deal, with a form asking 1) if they are even interested in a quote-we live in a college town...lots of rentals, so we don't want to waste our 'Christmas' with ppl only interested in the give-away, and 2) if they are interested, what, specifically?

I love that e-mail idea-what I have learned in the few years of marketing/PR that I did, is to incorporate your name and product into something that people want to keep and refer back to over and over. I worked at a radio station, and we would put together a mail-out during the holidays with various cookie/dinner recipes, check-lists, that kind of stuff. Of course, an advertiser would sponsor each, and be sprinkled within. that's what I keep going back to....it's been so many years since I did that, I love getting fresh ideas and staying relevant.

Our customer base is 40+, usually,-so, how much do you think they respond to any sort of the 'customaryl' trade show promos? Do they? Or have they seen so much-become such 'educated consumers', that they think that anything is just a ploy for business, and get turned off? Luckily, my husband is a great salesman-and not in a terrible, pushy, plaid-jacket, 'howya folks doin'-type way. He genuinely likes people-and makes them feel comfortable.....is this just what people are looking for at the end (of course it is-but what else, other than product knowledge, that stuff). Now you've got me thinking, lol, when it comes down to it-like you said, it doesn't really matter WHAT it is-so, how much does it actually matter, you know?

Are we all killing ourselves trying to stay innovative, when we have the keys already? I guess what I should be concentrating on is getting the piece of the pie, under-40...the people who think siding is old-school and lame....new construction....that we don't have. I hope I'm even making sense, it's early. ;-) Thanks for the insightful reply-appreciate it!
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:42 AM   #15
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DavidC View Post
My spidey sense indicate that this is very close to an unpaid ad James. Last I knew the practice is frowned upon by the powers that be and the general audience.

Just pointing out that you will need to throw out a bone or risk censure.

For the OP, 2 years in a row we set out a display near the front edge of our booth;



Just a half dog house that ran water over the roof covered with debris to show off a gutter screen. First year we sold one, second year none.



But what it did do was attract the attention of men and children, they don't seem able to resist running water. Waiting patiently, Mom/Mother would glance over our booth and more times than not find something to ask about. At the time we were offering siding, windows, garages and a number of other outdoor services.

We now offer a more focused set of services (K&B w/ concrete counter tops) and it simply wouldn't fit. I wish it would.

Our show was this past weekend and I saw a display with an outdoor concrete top that had a stream running through it which dropped into a lower level pond type set up. Got me thinking again.

Good Luck
Dave
Dave-that is a great looking display, and we've been batting around the idea of building a little 'house' for awhile now-great idea to just start off with a pre-fab dog house, though. We get to thinking about it, then it starts getting busy right about now, and well, you know what happens. :-/

Concrete countertops! I need to pm you-we put some in when we built our house-don't know how much I love them now, but I know that it's more of a poor install problem, rather that product problem......
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Old 04-04-2012, 08:50 AM   #16
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesBrine View Post
Yes your referrals system starts right at the start of the project, you need to drop hintsbthat you get a lot of work through referrals. This way they start to realize you will one day ask them.

As it gets closer to the end of the project you approach them with your referral form and explain if there are any rewards for referrals who sign on with you. (dinners for 2, cash reward depends on the value of the referral.)

Then you have referral cards and a follow up letter. It's all in the details and how you create benefits to encourage referrals.

Hope this helps.

Nice, James-that does help-so, do you make the referral program a part of your initial marketing plan? Like, is this something we should make a big or small mention of in our 'getting to know you' type of stuff that we hand out, show, at our shows, for not-yet customers? Is it something you feel people factor in to their final choice of contractor, if they feel that they are pretty similiar in product, price, the biggies?
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:04 AM   #17
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
Originally Posted by SidingSweetie View Post
Dave-that is a great looking display, and we've been batting around the idea of building a little 'house' for awhile now-great idea to just start off with a pre-fab dog house, though. We get to thinking about it, then it starts getting busy right about now, and well, you know what happens. :-/

Concrete countertops! I need to pm you-we put some in when we built our house-don't know how much I love them now, but I know that it's more of a poor install problem, rather that product problem......
Your PM would be welcome and warmly received. I will do what I can to assist. But how about another thread with pics so you can also tap into greater minds than mine?

Good Luck
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Old 04-04-2012, 09:16 AM   #18
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Re: Best Promo Products?


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Your PM would be welcome and warmly received. I will do what I can to assist. But how about another thread with pics so you can also tap into greater minds than mine?

Good Luck
Dave

I'll try to take some decent ones-they are black-so it's hard to capture sometimes. We had another friend/contractor who was just getting into concrete at the time-so, it was one of those, 'hey, you guys are building a house? Well, I need to have some samples.......' *sigh* Bless their hearts. :-)
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Old 04-04-2012, 10:57 AM   #19
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Something gross has worked for us. (At trade shows.)

By "us" I'm talking about my day job working for a sewer district (I do writing, PR and outreach, not sewer cleaning ).

We participate in Earth Day festivals and environment/green-related trade shows. We're not selling any products, of course, but are trying to "sell" behavior change (much tougher IMO).

A major problem for us these days are disposable wipes -- especially ones that are labeled as "flushable." They are advertised like crazy and very popular. But they don't break down quickly in water, so they get caught on debris and cause clogs in the pipes, they gum up our pumping equipment, etc. They've overtaken grease as the number-two cause of sewer overflows in our area (roots are number one).

Anyway, the behavior change we're targeting is to get people to stop flushing the damn things despite what's on the label.

Our Earth Day exhibit includes a large photo showing one of our workers holding up a really gross clump of disposable wipes (and other stuff) that had just been removed from a clogged pump. It kinda looks like he's holding some sort of waterlogged deformed dead creature -- people are disgusted but fascinated and want to know what it is.

They come closer and also see two large jars on our table. Both have water. One also has toilet paper (clean ) in the water, the other has a popular brand of "flushable" wipes in the water. When people approach, we jiggle the jars a bit to swish around the contents, and it's very obvious that the toilet paper disintegrates & dissolves rapidly in water, while the disposable wipes do not. Then we go into our spiel about why this is important, and what can happen when disposable wipes are flushed.

Seeing is believing, and many people are more highly motivated by fear than desire.

If what you're selling can prevent a problem, you might try something similar -- show them (not just tell them) how bad that problem could become. Get them thinking "Yikes! I don't want THAT to happen! How can I prevent it?" Then present them with your solution.

I hope that helps.

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Old 04-04-2012, 11:57 AM   #20
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Re: Best Promo Products?


Quote:
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Our customer base is 40+, usually,-so, how much do you think they respond to any sort of the 'customaryl' trade show promos? Do they? Or have they seen so much-become such 'educated consumers', that they think that anything is just a ploy for business, and get turned off? Luckily, my husband is a great salesman-and not in a terrible, pushy, plaid-jacket, 'howya folks doin'-type way. He genuinely likes people-and makes them feel comfortable.....is this just what people are looking for at the end (of course it is-but what else, other than product knowledge, that stuff). Now you've got me thinking, lol, when it comes down to it-like you said, it doesn't really matter WHAT it is-so, how much does it actually matter, you know?

Are we all killing ourselves trying to stay innovative, when we have the keys already?
I'm going to avoid putting people in a box or making statements that are too broad because there's no one size fits all answer. However, generally speaking, the market is much more educated now before making a purchase. Retailers are having a very tough time with this, but it can seriously work to your advantage.

In the case of retailers, all the "tricks" that worked just a few years ago are no longer relevant. It used to be that if they got you in the store, then all their hard earned research would get you to spend more money than you intended. Because the customer is now educated in advance, they come into the store on a mission. They know exactly what they are there to get, grab it, beeline to the cash register and bolt out the door.

What is a challenge for retailers is a serious advantage for savvy contractors, but you probably know from your radio days that customers come in 4 primary flavors and can be at different stages of the buying cycle. That's why I want to avoid the box because you need to appeal to each type of buyer that matches your business model and offer them what they need at the stage they are at.

Since going into detail on these points would make for a very long post, I'll need to limit the focus for right now to just your question about the way people will react to your offers. Some will see it as a ploy regardless of how you present it, so I would be inclined to evaluate which type (or types) of HO you best identify with. With your hubby being a genuinely concerned sales person, that gives you an advantage to brainstorm effective strategies.

The questions people ask are a goldmine of inspiration for providing answers to the ones most frequently asked. Your web site is an ideal delivery system for making resources available. Regardless of what promotional item you choose, you want to direct potential customers to your site so you can bring them closer to a buying decision. It's great to have the item be kept because it is useful and has your name on it, it's better if it generates traffic to your site.

I should mention that I used to work for a company that sold promo products so I know a lot about this topic. One of the best items is also the cheapest. The snag is that someone else usually has this one covered, but I'll throw it to you just in case. The plastic bags that everyone puts all their trinkets in costs only pennies. If you can possibly be the one providing these bags, your name is being carried all over the event.

On your question about the value of being innovative, it is possible to over think it, but being creative has its advantages. If you can tie the giveaway to your booth, you make it more memorable.

Here's another off the cuff, unrefined idea from my creative mind. Maybe you can make it work. Set up two windows on stands: one a standard window, the other a low-e with UV protection. Then if you had mock sunlight floodlights that can be shined through the windows while people are standing behind the glass, they could feel the difference. After this demonstration you give them a badge pin that says, "I've seen the light!" with your name and web address printed much smaller. That makes for a very inexpensive token made memorable by the demonstration.

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