As a promotional products distributor, giving out promotional items to promote your business is a no-brainer. Most importantly, it’s also a valuable opportunity to show your creativity. To demonstrate that you practice what you preach, so to speak.


The purpose of the self promo is not necessarily to sell that particular item, although it’s a frequent – and welcomed- result. The purpose is to get new clients or to upsell our existing ones.


With this in mind, I planned my self promos according to how I planned to use them. I wanted to make sure they communicated creativity in every aspect, from the item itself, to the message to the way it was being distributed.


I’ll admit that a few times I fell for a super deal offered by a supplier, and got self promos that I never used much at all. Just goes to prove that low price is not a good criterion to select a self promo. Not that I don’t love a good deal. But selecting your self promos on purpose comes first.


Speaking of self promo purposes, breaking the ice at networking events and other business functions is a valuable one. How about your business card printed on an item?


Print your business card on a credit card style mint dispenser


This was the very self promo I did when I first started the business, and I went to every networking function I heard about.   When someone asks for your business card and you hand a mint dispenser, you can be sure a conversation about promotional products will get started… by the prospect!. I landed several clients this way.


This more than proved the staying power of promotional products. I had people call me months after I’d met them. They saved my “card” because my company got their attention, and they knew they would need promotional merchandise at some point in the future. They choose my company because I showed how to use a branded product.


Besides the obvious distribution at business functions, it also came in very handy when I met “important” people at events where it wouldn’t be appropriate to do a sales pitch. I love the arts and support my community, so I frequently attend different events. Many times, at luncheons and dinners, I sat next to a hot prospect. On those occasions, while chatting I casually pulled out my mints, took one and, in a very friendly gesture, offered them some, saying “they are sugarless”.  When they went to return the container after taking one, I said: “ oh keep it, I have a ton of those”.  And just like that, a business conversation with a hot prospect got started.


Later on, when I hired an outside sales rep, he got his cards on a dispenser as well. He loved the positive effect when he handed them to the receptionists when he went out canvassiong.  He always got the information he wanted, and many times an immediate introduction to the marketing people. Worked like a charm!


I also had regular printed business cards to hand out to non-prospects, saving the mints for the right occasions.


This was certainly one of the most successful self promos for my business. What about you?


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