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Billys Blog

Baby Steps to Program Selling

June 27th 2012

Posted by Billy Booe

Most of us follow the same path in learning the promotional marketing business. First we familiarize ourselves with the product sales method and then gradually we graduate to program selling. By saying, “Sure, I can do that” and having to learn on-the-fly, we come to understand the strategic advantage of being able to conceptualize and execute a solution to various problems.  Best of all, we are able to sell a large amount of product along the way. Consequently, we are more valuable to our client and we have made more money with them than ever before.

So where are you on the journey?  Have you graduated from product sales into value-added services such as program selling?  If you are looking for new sources of revenue for adding value and becoming a more integral partner with your customers, there are a number of places to look. One of the easiest ways to venture into program selling is through the awards, recognition, and premium incentive industry. Best of all, it is easy to find professional help, training and access to some of the biggest brands without having to secure a lot of internal resources. Having the ability to provide these services can separate you from your competitors and make you more valuable to your clients. 

There are two areas of separation that can provide you with new, long term revenue:

  • Being able to build consumer sales promotions like sweepstakes, coupon programs, direct mail premium offers, is once again valuable to corporate America.


  • Understanding and learning more about our customers takes time but gives us the strategic information we need to gain the advantage over the competition.

Truly knowing how our customers operate enables us to create a wide variety of tailored programs. These programs yield bigger payoffs for us as sales people and most importantly, our customers.

Program selling can also get you into new areas such as safety, wellness, healthcare, education, and fund raising.  These programs are important to all organizations, but especially the Fortune 500 crew. Being able to provide credible solutions for this market can create new revenue streams you never thought possible.

Just remember, you must do your homework in terms of selling these services and programs.  They usually have a lot of moving parts and are far more complicated as compared to traditional promotional product sales. Fortunately today we have a multitude of resources at our disposal. Both ASI and PPAI provide education workshops at national and regional shows as well as online resources.  In addition, there are numerous companies on the supplier side who are more than happy to help out. There are also social channels to obtain information as well as organizations. The Incentive Marketing Association, which has recently created a Promotional Products Provider Council for suppliers and distributors seeking to learn how to manage the process and obtain new selling skills.  



Aimee PeerMay 03, 6:51pm

Well said!

Early on in my career I reached out to Don Sanders after hitting my first ASI Show; he introduced me to the Safety Compliance market. My clients were thrilled when I was able to reduce their overhead with significant reductions of their insurance policies.

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