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Moving From Sales Rep to Promotional Consultant

A New Breed of Salesperson is on the Rise

9/19/2023 | Cliff Quicksell, MAS+, Cliff's Notes

The ‘product’ salesperson mentality is slowly eroding away. Many have made great incomes selling “stuff” however a new breed of salesperson is on the rise. This new salesperson understands how promotional products in conjunction with creative packaging, theme development, creative delivery and the like are driving massive profits. I am not saying one should give up selling products, I am suggesting there are opportunities emerging which will significantly enhance your positioning in the market, along with increasing your profitability.

Clients are driving this process; many are looking to create a significant point of differentiation within their markets and are challenged daily to measure every dollar they spend.

 Traditionally promotional products are used to drive C.P.I. (cost per impression) and while an excellent form of measurement, clients are demanding more. In an article written in B2B magazine a few years back, it mentioned, CMO’s are being compensated on their ability to “drive measurement with their marketing efforts”, this one statement led me to believe we have an tremendous opportunity to be more to our clients than just product providers…however that transition MUST start with you; you changing your mindset -  in fact, changing the way you market yourselves..

 Understanding how to think more like an agency and getting paid for your most precious commodity – your time, is a critical component to the overall success of your business. For over one hundred years, distributors, jobbers, and suppliers have made money selling items, but times have changed. Just look at last year, when ‘packaging’ was named ASI’s Product of the Year. Our industry has changed, influencer boxes with creative graphics, themes, relevant products all which tell a story or drive a compelling message.

 Our industry has a massive influx of new distributors anytime there are furloughs or significant market shifts, this industry is too easy to enter. Then add the internet and our emerging hi-tech clients and we have further created a gap. And if you really want to become frustrated just GOOGLE ‘promotional products discount codes,’ where the entire basis of our discount structure which at one time, was ‘secret’ is now public knowledge.

 Now more than ever, it is so important for you to create a point of difference, a professional gap, between you and your competition. If you do not then you become one of many; at that point, the client is completely in control relegating you to sell more on price than ingenuity and creativity.

 Developing your creativity, knowing how to select, keep and fire the right customers are critical aspects of growing an emerging, highly profitable company  Developing the skills to present effectively and professionally is essential in this every changing market.

 I implore you to take an introspective look at your business, reinvent yourself; major companies do this as a matter of course. By doing this you will uncover a deeper understanding of your business and the path you will need to be on to succeed. To this day, I take a hard look at my business, every aspect: my clientele, messaging, the look and feel of my brand, logo, website, social media. I may only make minor tweaks, but at times, I have made major changes. To underscore why I do this, several years back, a client called me and was looking to hire me to speak at a marketing conference, we had negotiated every detail and right before they signed, his partner said, “Look at his website, it’s dismal, we can have him speak to our clients with a site like that!” I did not get the high-paying gig. It was, however, a wakeup call; I immediately shut the site down, reviewed other sites, created a site architecture that worked better and relaunched about forty days later. Now, it is my practice to review all aspects of my business twice a year to see where I can make improvements. I look to my peers and people I trust for input to help make it better. The great Ken Blanchard was quoted, “Feedback Is the Breakfast of Champions” – I love that.

 I want to be perceived more as a consultant, a conduit of information, and not generic – one-in-a-million, I strive to be extraordinary, and it is a process, a never-ending process. If you want to be  perceived differently, start looking inward, look to more creative ideas on growing your business, being much more profitable as a promotional consultant and not just a product pusher.

 Cannot wait to see what you do with your brand, continued good selling! ~ CQ

For nearly 40 years, Cliff Quicksell, CSP, MAS+, MASI, with his company, Cliff Quicksell Associates, has been speaking, coaching, training, and consulting both nationally and internationally, to association members and small business groups, on more effective ways to market themselves, their products, and services; as well as motivating their personnel. In 2021, Cliff was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame.

Recognized by PPAI for his creativity, he has won the prestigious PPAI Pyramid Award over 30 times, the Printing Industry's PSDA’s Peak Award for creativity 5 times, and Regional Association CPPA’s Peak Award 6 consecutive years with a total of 8 awards. Cliff has coached countless others with the same level of results. Cliff received PPAI's Ambassador Speaker of the Year Award six consecutive years; and was the inaugural recipient of PPAI's Distinguished Service Award. Named one of top six industry speakers and trainers, he was recognized by PPAI in the book, "PPAI at 100", as having a significant influence in education in their industry. He was recognized by Counselor Magazine as one of the Top 50 Most Influential People in the Promotional Products Industry. 

Cliff’s BLOG 30 Seconds to Greatness won the 8LMedia Award for Most Passed Around Content. Cliff’s most recent book, 30 Seconds to Greatness, is available on his website www.QuicksellSpeaks.com  Connect with him on LinkedIn or via email at cliff@QuicksellSpeaks.com 

Cliff will be launching a new company in the next couple of months geared specifically for small business owners and entrepreneurship. Connect with Cliff to get connected to his podcast and upcoming events.


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