The promotional products industry experienced a world of change over the last several months when the COVID-19 pandemic hit, but now that certain product categories are beginning to see an increase in demand once again, it’s important that you revisit your sales strategy and make adjustments in order to once again reach your goals. We’ll walk you through how to be successful selling promotional products.
With no surprise, orders for personal protective equipment (PPE) and healthcare products exploded at the onset of the pandemic, with 69.8 percent of businesses surveyed in the COVID-19 Promotional Products Industry Recovery Research study reporting increasing sales in the category.
But with the second installment of the same study, there are some new insights into sales trends for promotional products. PPE & healthcare products remain at the forefront, as expected, with little signs of slowing down. Over the course of June and July, 67.5 percent of surveyed companies reported an increase in sales, while 17.3 percent said their sales in this category remained the same when compared to April through May. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve seen PPE products such as masks, sanitizer, and others really carry the industry.
With healthcare products being a given, what are some other product categories that have seen an increase during this time? Apparel, for one, has started to show some signs of life. Since the beginning of the pandemic, apparel has taken a big hit and sales have plummeted when compared to 2019, but the study shows that apparel was the third-best performing product category for the period from June-July, with 18.6 percent of promotional product companies reporting an increase in sales, compared to only 10.6 percent from April-May. That 8 percent increase is the largest for any product category over this time.
On the other hand, 51.8 percent of companies still reported that their sales in apparel were decreasing, but that’s still an improvement over the 65.3 percent that reported decreased sales during the prior months, so there is progress being made.
In addition to apparel, print products have also made strides forward, as they were the second-best performing category during June-July. The number of survey respondents that reported increasing orders increased slightly from 17.8 percent to 18.7 percent. The office and home as well as drinkware categories noticed a minor increase in demand as well. Office and home went from 8.5 percent increasing in April-May to 12.4 percent increasing in June-July, with drinkware going from 7.5 percent to 10.7 percent.
Shift Your Focus to Sales
Now more than ever, the key to your success is by setting up your distribution to allow you and your team to focus on sales as much as possible. In order to do so, you need to have a strong support foundation. This includes assistance in areas like order financing, back-office support, and marketing and sales. By setting up your team with support in these areas, you’ll be able to successfully shift your focus to sales and get through these tough times.
As a promotional products distributor, you know how big of a pain order financing can be. Vendors want you to complete a credit application, provide a significant down payment, or even make a deposit on your order — and this isn’t even just for large orders either. This all takes valuable time away from you making additional sales. By implementing a team to handle your order financing for you, you’re free to focus your time elsewhere and not have to worry about the cash flow of your business or using personal capital to complete an order. This keeps your orders moving forward and your customers and vendors satisfied — preserving relationships and growing your revenue.
The more you sell as a distributor, the more you earn, but with that comes a number of administrative tasks that can quickly eat up your valuable time that could otherwise be spent out in the field making sales. This is a common challenge faced by many distributors, but there is a solution. A back-office support team allows you to focus on what you want to focus on — selling. This team can take a lot off your plate, including time-consuming tasks like order follow-up, invoicing, rush order support, out-of-office support, and accounts receivable assistance, just to name a few.
Sales & Marketing Support
Ridding your plate of time-consuming administrative tasks provides you with more time to focus your efforts on sales, but you might find yourself in need of some marketing assistance or additional sales support every so often. By relying on a team to provide you with sales and marketing support, you can quickly generate more opportunities and reach your greatest potential in this competitive industry. From marketing campaigns to collateral, seminars, coaching, and sales development, you can take your distributorship to the next level.
Need an extra hand, but not quite ready to hire a full-time employee just yet? A virtual assistant might be just what you need to fill the gap until you are ready to bring a new member on board. A virtual assistant can help with tasks such as product research, order entry, order management, supplier interaction, customer communication, invoice approvals, problem resolution, database management, prospecting support, social media support, and much more.
If you’re wondering how to be successful selling promotional products during this uncertain time, lean on iPROMOTEu’s knowledge and expertise in the promotional products industry to help you do so. At iPROMOTEu, we offer all of the above services and can help take the administrative strain off of you so that you can once again focus your efforts on sales — which is what your business really needs during this time.
Now you know how to be successful selling promotional products during these uncertain times.
Discover the iPROMOTEu Difference
iPROMOTEu is one of the largest and fastest-growing promotional products distributors in the country. We have achieved this because of what we believe in working with our Affiliates. When you partner with iPROMOTEu, you keep your brand, reduce your administrative workload, gain greater operational freedom, create financial advantages for yourself, and gain a community and team that you can lead on for success. Contact us today to learn more and how you can become an Affiliate today.