Selling: embrace it! We all have to do it

Robert Bruce

28/08/2012

In my experience people typically hate being sold to, and quite often hate doing the selling. But selling is not all that bad! It makes the world go around, so we may as well embrace it (and at least do it well).

Selling: it is not so bad!

My blog today is about selling, and how to incorporate it into your life as a promotional person / brand ambassador or any kind of sales person. Because you know what: almost all of our jobs include selling something whether we like it or not! We all have to sell products, or ideas, or sell candidates, or sell a dream, or a solution..We may as well try to make it enjoyable for both the promoter, and the recipient.

I think the most important thing to remember here, is that in almost all cases our clients are being measured by the increase in sales they generate from their marketing activity, it is that simple. All of the branding, advertising, logos, stunts, event sponsorships, speeches, experiential campaigns, fashion shows, parties, product launches, TV interviews, press releases, packaging design… they are all working towards one ultimate goal, which is to drive more sales (and therefore increase revenue and profit) for an organisation. Sound cynical? Well, sorry: there it is. As a business owner I get this concept easily- because when it is YOUR money being spent on an idea, you darn well want to know that it is turning into sales for you: otherwise you are just giving your money away. So now, when I meet with a client one of my first questions is always “what does success look like for you? What are you trying to achieve? What is your sales target?”


We are all selling something

Once you have got your head around the idea that your life (working for an agency of any sort, advertising/marketing/branding/experiential/promotional or even in politics or retail etc) is about creating sales, then you can start getting on with life. Things become much easier. Creativity should and must still apply (in regards to the WAY in which we attract customers and engage with them or win them over about an idea), but clients wanting creativity for the sake of it (without a meaningful or measurable sales driver) are few and far between, in this market anyway.

Examples of retail campaigns

Some of the campaigns my staff are working on right now, include:

- wine demonstration in super markets and liquor stores,

- fragrance / cosmetics demonstration in department stores and pharmacies.

These two retail environments are classic examples of where standard promotional techniques are ‘not enough’, and you need to be a little more creative in the way in which you stop people in their tracks, and make a sale. By ‘standard promotional techniques’ I mean the idea of giving out a sample, smiling sweetly, and leaving the customer with a brand message of some sort..

"Hi sir, here, try this sample of wine from XYZ company, it’s on special.. ok, bye!"

The way my clients and I are training promotional people at the moment, is all about closing a sale, up-selling, cross-selling, and creating repeat business and long term customer loyalty. There are a number of ways that these outcomes can be achieved, but paramount (in my opinion, and from years of experience) is about listening to what your customer is saying, finding their need, then giving them what they want.. easy! This is not even selling, it is just solving someones problem.

Let me further explain.

When should you sell to me?

When I walk into a supermarket, I have money in my pocket: I am there, because I want to buy something: I am already in the head space of shelling out some of my hard earned cash, so, the ‘time is right’ to conduct an in store demonstration or sales exercise. What I am open to buying however, is dependent on a number of conditions. At the most basic level, it depends on the day of the week and time of day: On a Sunday night when I am doing my weekly grocery shop I am probably less likely to buy wine as I am not really thinking about drinking at this time. Saturday afternoon however I am wide open for a bottle (or four) because I am hosting a party that night, or going to a birthday or BYO dinner.

Assume, as a promoter, that you have been put into a store for a reason: that we (as your agency) or our client have decided that it is the perfect time to meet target market customers when they are ‘open’ to buying.

So, I have cash to spend (tick the box). You are in the right place at the right time (tick).

Next: what do I want, what do I need?

The ONLY way you can find out what a potential customer wants or needs, is to ask questions. This is by far, the single easiest yet most under-utalised method of closing a sale. It amazes me in this enlightened age how many promoters or sellers or product demonstrators just jump straight into a pitch without asking what someone wants or needs first! How do you know what to offer them, if you have not asked any questions??

Staying with the wine example, the type of question you might ask someone walking past your stand is:

"Hello sir, where are you drinking / partying / eating / going tonight?"

This question immediately starts a conversation, which is crucial in sales. You will note that he cannot answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (otherwise known as a ‘closed question’), and his answer lets you know if he is having a dinner alone on the couch, entertaining VIPs, or going to a BYO restaurant. Each situation may require a different product, or amount of products.

Let’s assume for this case study he says “I am actually having some friends over for a shared dinner”.

So, our useless promoter (again) would jump straight in with the pitch and offer whatever they have close to hand: “well sir we have the XYZ wine, it is on special tonight..”

Keep the conversation going:

This conversation you are having is a perfect opportunity to find out more about the customer, what they need, and to further tailor the pitch (before giving it). We call it the interview.

The interview:

I have always like the saying that you have two ears and only one mouth: they should be used proportionately.

So, during the interview our promoter should ask questions such as:

"how many of you will there be?"

"what do you normally drink?"

"what food are you cooking?"

"what is your budget?"

Note: this conversation has happened BEFORE a single free sample has been given away. We call this process qualification of the lead. You are finding out if this person is even vaguely interested in what you are selling, or just wasting your time.

What information you are looking for

So our unsuspecting customer is feeling relaxed: you have found out that he is having half a dozen friends over, including his mum (wine critic who does not like mainstream wines). He he cooking a roast lamb, and normally enjoys a spicy, big wine. It is a cold, wet day (reds are more popular in winter). He is wearing nice clothing, and you spy a BMW key ring sticking out of his pocket (we listen with our eyes and ears remember)..

Using this information: the pitch

So you have gathered all this information, you have built a mental profile of your customer and their needs, NOW you are allowed to start talking!

As a sales person or promoter, you are  now at the easy part: assuming that your product is good (at my company, we don’t market products which are not good.. so let’s just assume it is a quality wine brand for this story) and that you have been given a selection of products to offer (again, an assumption, but smart clients will always give you a variety of flavours or variants to sample so that if one option is not suitable, the customer will have more options to choose from) you can start offering options.

Based on the feedback you have gathered from the customer in the minute or so you have interviewed him, and based on the things you have observed such as the weather and what the customer is wearing, you can now offer him the perfect solution to his needs, which by my calculations is:

- a quality / premium wine (for Mum, the critic)

- probably a big red (Shiraz, Merlot, or even Pinot Noir), since they are having lamb

- in the mid to high price range (price doesn’t matter, quality is more important)

- a few bottles at least (as he is entertaining friends).

Sample time:


You offer him some samples of your options, asking for feedback along the way:

"Sir, what do you think of that one?"

"What flavours do you get out of that option?"

"do you prefer the Pinot Noir or the Pinot Gris?"

While seeking feedback, you talk about the products, emphasising (and impressing the customer) on your knowledge of the brand, region, and product, and complimenting the client on successfully picking the notes or flavours in each sample. Remember, it does not matter if the customer ‘gets it right’, wine sampling is a very individual experience: what matters is that he likes it. 

Ask for the sale

This whole interaction has only taken a couple of minutes (but metaphorically speaking, the sales process can take as long as is required. Selling a luxury car may take weeks. Buying a boat could take a year).

By now this customer should be ready to walk away with at least a few bottles of your wine in their trolley, if you have followed the steps above. But this is where many promoters get it wrong ( I have seen it so many times!). They let the customer just walk away!

In this day and age, people ‘get it’. They know that nothing is for free. This customer has had a free wine, a free chat with a charming and well presented and knowledgeable person, they have met someone who cares enough about their life and well being that they have tailor-made a presentation for them.. they know they have to buy now! Nothing is for free in this life. It is a pretty mean shopper who will put a demonstrator through this whole process and then not purchase!

My favourite line at this point is something like, so sir would you like a case of the Merlot or Pinot Noir?

In sales, you can ALWAYS go down (in price or volume) but it is extremely hard to go up, if your initial pitch is too low. This customer will not want to lose face in front of you. He will assume that everyone buys by the case. He will want to feel as though he has made a great decision, will be the envy of his friends, and will impress his Mum.

He can of course always say “It’s ok I will just take a couple” or “ok I will take one of each”, but even this is a success compared to him just walking away with one bottle, or worse- none. 

Remember, if you do not ask someone to buy from you, chances are that they won’t!

Objections:

There are a million different signs to watch out for with customers at this point of closing a sale (like maybe you have talked too much, he is concerned about the price, he doesn’t like the brand, he has some past bad experiences to overcome, he has not enough money, or no time to stay and pay). These are all called objections, and I could write a novel on techniques to deal with them, so that you still get the sale. Oxfam are really good at it! Everyone will have an excuse for not buying (how many times have you done it?) but normally you can easily overcome these. This information will be a blog for another day.

One thing to remember with objections: it if someone says ‘no’ it basically means they are wanting more information. They feel uncertain about one element of this deal (for whatever reason), so you may need to go back over the benefits or features of the product, or dispel the issue they have with the product by focusing on the positives.

Never let the customer walk away empty handed. If they simply WILL NOT BUY then at least give them a flyer or voucher or website link, and tell them to come and buy next time. It is likely that they will, once they have had time to think it over or when the have more time or money available. 

Wrap:

What is important to remember, irrespective of if you are a promoter for my agency or a sales person or promoter somewhere else, is that we are all trying to sell something. Once you get over that concept and stop feeling icky about it, the world will be a better place. Embrace your chance to influence someones buyer behavior, enjoy making someones day better (or the day of their loved one) by selling them a product they want or need, and pat yourself on the back when you close a sale.. it is thrilling!

But conversely, please don’t be someone that sells products you do not believe in, or screw someone out of money for something they really do not need: make sure you pick and choose what you promote or sell, if possible, and never prey on the vulnerable or people without full information at their disposal. We have all had the ‘hard sell’ by someone, that left us feeling violated and we experienced ‘buyer remorse’ afterwards… People that sell in this manner can only ever do it once: and the customers will never come back. Not a good long term strategy.

True sales people ensure the customer is so satisfied, they come back again and again (and tell all their friends).

Love your work, enjoy your selling!

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
+6421 238 7758
+64 9 360 9777
Generator Office Facility

Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East

Auckland City
1011

* Robert Bruce is Managing Director of SublimeNZ and an experienced salesman, promoter, and experiential marketer. He has worked with many of the leading brands in the world to develop sales strategies and promotional campaigns, and helped companies generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Promotional staff and Brand Ambassadors

One of the great parts of this job (promotional staffing and experiential marketing), is that is you get to meet and work with so many amazing people. 

This week alone we have interviewed dozens of amazing promotional people around New Zealand for roles in our agency ranging from wine-waiters to grid girls, and last night we conducted a group training in Auckland CBD for about 20 new candidates. 

As company owner, probably the most rewarding part of this job is getting to know the hundreds of promotional staff and brand ambassadors who have been selected to work for us (and to be fair, even most of those who have been unsuccessful- it is nothing personal). These are people who are at the top of their game: students, models, actors, or full time workers who just love doing promotional work and most of all LOVE people! The new team last night were great: they interacted and engaged during the group work, asked good questions, and then stuck around afterward for a drink and made an effort to get to know both their new co-workers, and managers.

It is often over a beer that you really get the chance to really get to know someone. The types of people that we take on at SublimeNZ are those who are friendly, non-pretentious, intelligent and likable. It is always interesting hearing about their lives outside of promotions  (such as what they are studying, working on, or aspire to become). Last night I chatted to some new staff who are cameramen, physio students, and property developers! Two of our new staff drove 4 hours return to make the training. That is commitment!

The key to being a great promotional person (or brand ambassador, as we prefer), comes down to a few things:

1/ You are personable, and love people

2/ You love selling and are not afraid to close a deal!

3/ You are confident- you are the centre of attention, and love making people laugh!

4/  You are professional and organised: this job is not for the faint hearted- you need to be able to find your way to work, and not forget your uniform!

5/ You are well presented, in shape, and really care about your appearance. After all, first impressions count!

We are taking people on for a number of roles at SublimeNZ, including:

- wine demonstration

- in-store sampling

- airport/retail sales and promotion

- promotional model work (race track)

- event marketing / sampling (sports drink)

If you are interested in becoming part of the SublimeNZ team around NZ, then apply via our online staff management system Staff Connect now!

We also have a role available now: check it out here http://www.starnow.co.nz/Casting-Calls/Actors-wanted/Events/casting_for_race_team_premium_grid_girls_promotional_staff.htm

Love your work

Robert Bruce

Director

Team SublimeNZ

More engaging in-store demonstration

Recently SublimeNZ has been pitching, and winning, some innovative in-store sampling campaigns that I thought I would share with you. It is exciting stuff!

In-store sampling can be in a number of channels (grocery, liquor, even petrol stations, or shopping malls) and historically very bland- with minimal thought or strategy behind them. This, I would not call experiential marketing.

But the sort of in-store brand engagement we have been advocating /pitching at the point of purchase includes features like:

- tablets/computers with links directly to the clients website or social media,

- unique demonstration zones, matching the clients brands (more than just core flute ‘demo tables’)

-authentic/ exciting uniforms,

- and of course highly trained brand ambassadors.

Although confidential right now, I can share that the success we have had is in the wine industry, with a major liquor client who is THRILLED to have a more unique in-store display than usual, and looking forward to seeing how much we can sell. 

As with my last post about ‘are promotional staff experiential?’ this poses an interesting question, which ‘is in-store demonstration experiential?’

I would say that historically, in-store demonstration is just that: point of sale promotion. But, with clients looking for more cut-through in the highly competitive grocery channel, there is more scope for creativity and therefore experiential ideas like what we are coming up with.

One of the selling points of SublimeNZ is that we have a creative department with amazing/modern graphic artists ready to create mock ups and renderings of our ideas, and we are working towards changing perceptions about point of sale / promotional activity.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ

SublimeNZ News Feed

Selling: embrace it! We all have to do it

Robert Bruce

28/08/2012

In my experience people typically hate being sold to, and quite often hate doing the selling. But selling is not all that bad! It makes the world go around, so we may as well embrace it (and at least do it well).

Selling: it is not so bad!

My blog today is about selling, and how to incorporate it into your life as a promotional person / brand ambassador or any kind of sales person. Because you know what: almost all of our jobs include selling something whether we like it or not! We all have to sell products, or ideas, or sell candidates, or sell a dream, or a solution..We may as well try to make it enjoyable for both the promoter, and the recipient.

I think the most important thing to remember here, is that in almost all cases our clients are being measured by the increase in sales they generate from their marketing activity, it is that simple. All of the branding, advertising, logos, stunts, event sponsorships, speeches, experiential campaigns, fashion shows, parties, product launches, TV interviews, press releases, packaging design… they are all working towards one ultimate goal, which is to drive more sales (and therefore increase revenue and profit) for an organisation. Sound cynical? Well, sorry: there it is. As a business owner I get this concept easily- because when it is YOUR money being spent on an idea, you darn well want to know that it is turning into sales for you: otherwise you are just giving your money away. So now, when I meet with a client one of my first questions is always “what does success look like for you? What are you trying to achieve? What is your sales target?”


We are all selling something

Once you have got your head around the idea that your life (working for an agency of any sort, advertising/marketing/branding/experiential/promotional or even in politics or retail etc) is about creating sales, then you can start getting on with life. Things become much easier. Creativity should and must still apply (in regards to the WAY in which we attract customers and engage with them or win them over about an idea), but clients wanting creativity for the sake of it (without a meaningful or measurable sales driver) are few and far between, in this market anyway.

Examples of retail campaigns

Some of the campaigns my staff are working on right now, include:

- wine demonstration in super markets and liquor stores,

- fragrance / cosmetics demonstration in department stores and pharmacies.

These two retail environments are classic examples of where standard promotional techniques are ‘not enough’, and you need to be a little more creative in the way in which you stop people in their tracks, and make a sale. By ‘standard promotional techniques’ I mean the idea of giving out a sample, smiling sweetly, and leaving the customer with a brand message of some sort..

"Hi sir, here, try this sample of wine from XYZ company, it’s on special.. ok, bye!"

The way my clients and I are training promotional people at the moment, is all about closing a sale, up-selling, cross-selling, and creating repeat business and long term customer loyalty. There are a number of ways that these outcomes can be achieved, but paramount (in my opinion, and from years of experience) is about listening to what your customer is saying, finding their need, then giving them what they want.. easy! This is not even selling, it is just solving someones problem.

Let me further explain.

When should you sell to me?

When I walk into a supermarket, I have money in my pocket: I am there, because I want to buy something: I am already in the head space of shelling out some of my hard earned cash, so, the ‘time is right’ to conduct an in store demonstration or sales exercise. What I am open to buying however, is dependent on a number of conditions. At the most basic level, it depends on the day of the week and time of day: On a Sunday night when I am doing my weekly grocery shop I am probably less likely to buy wine as I am not really thinking about drinking at this time. Saturday afternoon however I am wide open for a bottle (or four) because I am hosting a party that night, or going to a birthday or BYO dinner.

Assume, as a promoter, that you have been put into a store for a reason: that we (as your agency) or our client have decided that it is the perfect time to meet target market customers when they are ‘open’ to buying.

So, I have cash to spend (tick the box). You are in the right place at the right time (tick).

Next: what do I want, what do I need?

The ONLY way you can find out what a potential customer wants or needs, is to ask questions. This is by far, the single easiest yet most under-utalised method of closing a sale. It amazes me in this enlightened age how many promoters or sellers or product demonstrators just jump straight into a pitch without asking what someone wants or needs first! How do you know what to offer them, if you have not asked any questions??

Staying with the wine example, the type of question you might ask someone walking past your stand is:

"Hello sir, where are you drinking / partying / eating / going tonight?"

This question immediately starts a conversation, which is crucial in sales. You will note that he cannot answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (otherwise known as a ‘closed question’), and his answer lets you know if he is having a dinner alone on the couch, entertaining VIPs, or going to a BYO restaurant. Each situation may require a different product, or amount of products.

Let’s assume for this case study he says “I am actually having some friends over for a shared dinner”.

So, our useless promoter (again) would jump straight in with the pitch and offer whatever they have close to hand: “well sir we have the XYZ wine, it is on special tonight..”

Keep the conversation going:

This conversation you are having is a perfect opportunity to find out more about the customer, what they need, and to further tailor the pitch (before giving it). We call it the interview.

The interview:

I have always like the saying that you have two ears and only one mouth: they should be used proportionately.

So, during the interview our promoter should ask questions such as:

"how many of you will there be?"

"what do you normally drink?"

"what food are you cooking?"

"what is your budget?"

Note: this conversation has happened BEFORE a single free sample has been given away. We call this process qualification of the lead. You are finding out if this person is even vaguely interested in what you are selling, or just wasting your time.

What information you are looking for

So our unsuspecting customer is feeling relaxed: you have found out that he is having half a dozen friends over, including his mum (wine critic who does not like mainstream wines). He he cooking a roast lamb, and normally enjoys a spicy, big wine. It is a cold, wet day (reds are more popular in winter). He is wearing nice clothing, and you spy a BMW key ring sticking out of his pocket (we listen with our eyes and ears remember)..

Using this information: the pitch

So you have gathered all this information, you have built a mental profile of your customer and their needs, NOW you are allowed to start talking!

As a sales person or promoter, you are  now at the easy part: assuming that your product is good (at my company, we don’t market products which are not good.. so let’s just assume it is a quality wine brand for this story) and that you have been given a selection of products to offer (again, an assumption, but smart clients will always give you a variety of flavours or variants to sample so that if one option is not suitable, the customer will have more options to choose from) you can start offering options.

Based on the feedback you have gathered from the customer in the minute or so you have interviewed him, and based on the things you have observed such as the weather and what the customer is wearing, you can now offer him the perfect solution to his needs, which by my calculations is:

- a quality / premium wine (for Mum, the critic)

- probably a big red (Shiraz, Merlot, or even Pinot Noir), since they are having lamb

- in the mid to high price range (price doesn’t matter, quality is more important)

- a few bottles at least (as he is entertaining friends).

Sample time:


You offer him some samples of your options, asking for feedback along the way:

"Sir, what do you think of that one?"

"What flavours do you get out of that option?"

"do you prefer the Pinot Noir or the Pinot Gris?"

While seeking feedback, you talk about the products, emphasising (and impressing the customer) on your knowledge of the brand, region, and product, and complimenting the client on successfully picking the notes or flavours in each sample. Remember, it does not matter if the customer ‘gets it right’, wine sampling is a very individual experience: what matters is that he likes it. 

Ask for the sale

This whole interaction has only taken a couple of minutes (but metaphorically speaking, the sales process can take as long as is required. Selling a luxury car may take weeks. Buying a boat could take a year).

By now this customer should be ready to walk away with at least a few bottles of your wine in their trolley, if you have followed the steps above. But this is where many promoters get it wrong ( I have seen it so many times!). They let the customer just walk away!

In this day and age, people ‘get it’. They know that nothing is for free. This customer has had a free wine, a free chat with a charming and well presented and knowledgeable person, they have met someone who cares enough about their life and well being that they have tailor-made a presentation for them.. they know they have to buy now! Nothing is for free in this life. It is a pretty mean shopper who will put a demonstrator through this whole process and then not purchase!

My favourite line at this point is something like, so sir would you like a case of the Merlot or Pinot Noir?

In sales, you can ALWAYS go down (in price or volume) but it is extremely hard to go up, if your initial pitch is too low. This customer will not want to lose face in front of you. He will assume that everyone buys by the case. He will want to feel as though he has made a great decision, will be the envy of his friends, and will impress his Mum.

He can of course always say “It’s ok I will just take a couple” or “ok I will take one of each”, but even this is a success compared to him just walking away with one bottle, or worse- none. 

Remember, if you do not ask someone to buy from you, chances are that they won’t!

Objections:

There are a million different signs to watch out for with customers at this point of closing a sale (like maybe you have talked too much, he is concerned about the price, he doesn’t like the brand, he has some past bad experiences to overcome, he has not enough money, or no time to stay and pay). These are all called objections, and I could write a novel on techniques to deal with them, so that you still get the sale. Oxfam are really good at it! Everyone will have an excuse for not buying (how many times have you done it?) but normally you can easily overcome these. This information will be a blog for another day.

One thing to remember with objections: it if someone says ‘no’ it basically means they are wanting more information. They feel uncertain about one element of this deal (for whatever reason), so you may need to go back over the benefits or features of the product, or dispel the issue they have with the product by focusing on the positives.

Never let the customer walk away empty handed. If they simply WILL NOT BUY then at least give them a flyer or voucher or website link, and tell them to come and buy next time. It is likely that they will, once they have had time to think it over or when the have more time or money available. 

Wrap:

What is important to remember, irrespective of if you are a promoter for my agency or a sales person or promoter somewhere else, is that we are all trying to sell something. Once you get over that concept and stop feeling icky about it, the world will be a better place. Embrace your chance to influence someones buyer behavior, enjoy making someones day better (or the day of their loved one) by selling them a product they want or need, and pat yourself on the back when you close a sale.. it is thrilling!

But conversely, please don’t be someone that sells products you do not believe in, or screw someone out of money for something they really do not need: make sure you pick and choose what you promote or sell, if possible, and never prey on the vulnerable or people without full information at their disposal. We have all had the ‘hard sell’ by someone, that left us feeling violated and we experienced ‘buyer remorse’ afterwards… People that sell in this manner can only ever do it once: and the customers will never come back. Not a good long term strategy.

True sales people ensure the customer is so satisfied, they come back again and again (and tell all their friends).

Love your work, enjoy your selling!

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
+6421 238 7758
+64 9 360 9777
Generator Office Facility

Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East

Auckland City
1011

* Robert Bruce is Managing Director of SublimeNZ and an experienced salesman, promoter, and experiential marketer. He has worked with many of the leading brands in the world to develop sales strategies and promotional campaigns, and helped companies generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Promotional staff and Brand Ambassadors

One of the great parts of this job (promotional staffing and experiential marketing), is that is you get to meet and work with so many amazing people. 

This week alone we have interviewed dozens of amazing promotional people around New Zealand for roles in our agency ranging from wine-waiters to grid girls, and last night we conducted a group training in Auckland CBD for about 20 new candidates. 

As company owner, probably the most rewarding part of this job is getting to know the hundreds of promotional staff and brand ambassadors who have been selected to work for us (and to be fair, even most of those who have been unsuccessful- it is nothing personal). These are people who are at the top of their game: students, models, actors, or full time workers who just love doing promotional work and most of all LOVE people! The new team last night were great: they interacted and engaged during the group work, asked good questions, and then stuck around afterward for a drink and made an effort to get to know both their new co-workers, and managers.

It is often over a beer that you really get the chance to really get to know someone. The types of people that we take on at SublimeNZ are those who are friendly, non-pretentious, intelligent and likable. It is always interesting hearing about their lives outside of promotions  (such as what they are studying, working on, or aspire to become). Last night I chatted to some new staff who are cameramen, physio students, and property developers! Two of our new staff drove 4 hours return to make the training. That is commitment!

The key to being a great promotional person (or brand ambassador, as we prefer), comes down to a few things:

1/ You are personable, and love people

2/ You love selling and are not afraid to close a deal!

3/ You are confident- you are the centre of attention, and love making people laugh!

4/  You are professional and organised: this job is not for the faint hearted- you need to be able to find your way to work, and not forget your uniform!

5/ You are well presented, in shape, and really care about your appearance. After all, first impressions count!

We are taking people on for a number of roles at SublimeNZ, including:

- wine demonstration

- in-store sampling

- airport/retail sales and promotion

- promotional model work (race track)

- event marketing / sampling (sports drink)

If you are interested in becoming part of the SublimeNZ team around NZ, then apply via our online staff management system Staff Connect now!

We also have a role available now: check it out here http://www.starnow.co.nz/Casting-Calls/Actors-wanted/Events/casting_for_race_team_premium_grid_girls_promotional_staff.htm

Love your work

Robert Bruce

Director

Team SublimeNZ

More engaging in-store demonstration

Recently SublimeNZ has been pitching, and winning, some innovative in-store sampling campaigns that I thought I would share with you. It is exciting stuff!

In-store sampling can be in a number of channels (grocery, liquor, even petrol stations, or shopping malls) and historically very bland- with minimal thought or strategy behind them. This, I would not call experiential marketing.

But the sort of in-store brand engagement we have been advocating /pitching at the point of purchase includes features like:

- tablets/computers with links directly to the clients website or social media,

- unique demonstration zones, matching the clients brands (more than just core flute ‘demo tables’)

-authentic/ exciting uniforms,

- and of course highly trained brand ambassadors.

Although confidential right now, I can share that the success we have had is in the wine industry, with a major liquor client who is THRILLED to have a more unique in-store display than usual, and looking forward to seeing how much we can sell. 

As with my last post about ‘are promotional staff experiential?’ this poses an interesting question, which ‘is in-store demonstration experiential?’

I would say that historically, in-store demonstration is just that: point of sale promotion. But, with clients looking for more cut-through in the highly competitive grocery channel, there is more scope for creativity and therefore experiential ideas like what we are coming up with.

One of the selling points of SublimeNZ is that we have a creative department with amazing/modern graphic artists ready to create mock ups and renderings of our ideas, and we are working towards changing perceptions about point of sale / promotional activity.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ

SublimeNZ News Feed

Selling: embrace it! We all have to do it

Robert Bruce

28/08/2012

In my experience people typically hate being sold to, and quite often hate doing the selling. But selling is not all that bad! It makes the world go around, so we may as well embrace it (and at least do it well).

Selling: it is not so bad!

My blog today is about selling, and how to incorporate it into your life as a promotional person / brand ambassador or any kind of sales person. Because you know what: almost all of our jobs include selling something whether we like it or not! We all have to sell products, or ideas, or sell candidates, or sell a dream, or a solution..We may as well try to make it enjoyable for both the promoter, and the recipient.

I think the most important thing to remember here, is that in almost all cases our clients are being measured by the increase in sales they generate from their marketing activity, it is that simple. All of the branding, advertising, logos, stunts, event sponsorships, speeches, experiential campaigns, fashion shows, parties, product launches, TV interviews, press releases, packaging design… they are all working towards one ultimate goal, which is to drive more sales (and therefore increase revenue and profit) for an organisation. Sound cynical? Well, sorry: there it is. As a business owner I get this concept easily- because when it is YOUR money being spent on an idea, you darn well want to know that it is turning into sales for you: otherwise you are just giving your money away. So now, when I meet with a client one of my first questions is always “what does success look like for you? What are you trying to achieve? What is your sales target?”


We are all selling something

Once you have got your head around the idea that your life (working for an agency of any sort, advertising/marketing/branding/experiential/promotional or even in politics or retail etc) is about creating sales, then you can start getting on with life. Things become much easier. Creativity should and must still apply (in regards to the WAY in which we attract customers and engage with them or win them over about an idea), but clients wanting creativity for the sake of it (without a meaningful or measurable sales driver) are few and far between, in this market anyway.

Examples of retail campaigns

Some of the campaigns my staff are working on right now, include:

- wine demonstration in super markets and liquor stores,

- fragrance / cosmetics demonstration in department stores and pharmacies.

These two retail environments are classic examples of where standard promotional techniques are ‘not enough’, and you need to be a little more creative in the way in which you stop people in their tracks, and make a sale. By ‘standard promotional techniques’ I mean the idea of giving out a sample, smiling sweetly, and leaving the customer with a brand message of some sort..

"Hi sir, here, try this sample of wine from XYZ company, it’s on special.. ok, bye!"

The way my clients and I are training promotional people at the moment, is all about closing a sale, up-selling, cross-selling, and creating repeat business and long term customer loyalty. There are a number of ways that these outcomes can be achieved, but paramount (in my opinion, and from years of experience) is about listening to what your customer is saying, finding their need, then giving them what they want.. easy! This is not even selling, it is just solving someones problem.

Let me further explain.

When should you sell to me?

When I walk into a supermarket, I have money in my pocket: I am there, because I want to buy something: I am already in the head space of shelling out some of my hard earned cash, so, the ‘time is right’ to conduct an in store demonstration or sales exercise. What I am open to buying however, is dependent on a number of conditions. At the most basic level, it depends on the day of the week and time of day: On a Sunday night when I am doing my weekly grocery shop I am probably less likely to buy wine as I am not really thinking about drinking at this time. Saturday afternoon however I am wide open for a bottle (or four) because I am hosting a party that night, or going to a birthday or BYO dinner.

Assume, as a promoter, that you have been put into a store for a reason: that we (as your agency) or our client have decided that it is the perfect time to meet target market customers when they are ‘open’ to buying.

So, I have cash to spend (tick the box). You are in the right place at the right time (tick).

Next: what do I want, what do I need?

The ONLY way you can find out what a potential customer wants or needs, is to ask questions. This is by far, the single easiest yet most under-utalised method of closing a sale. It amazes me in this enlightened age how many promoters or sellers or product demonstrators just jump straight into a pitch without asking what someone wants or needs first! How do you know what to offer them, if you have not asked any questions??

Staying with the wine example, the type of question you might ask someone walking past your stand is:

"Hello sir, where are you drinking / partying / eating / going tonight?"

This question immediately starts a conversation, which is crucial in sales. You will note that he cannot answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (otherwise known as a ‘closed question’), and his answer lets you know if he is having a dinner alone on the couch, entertaining VIPs, or going to a BYO restaurant. Each situation may require a different product, or amount of products.

Let’s assume for this case study he says “I am actually having some friends over for a shared dinner”.

So, our useless promoter (again) would jump straight in with the pitch and offer whatever they have close to hand: “well sir we have the XYZ wine, it is on special tonight..”

Keep the conversation going:

This conversation you are having is a perfect opportunity to find out more about the customer, what they need, and to further tailor the pitch (before giving it). We call it the interview.

The interview:

I have always like the saying that you have two ears and only one mouth: they should be used proportionately.

So, during the interview our promoter should ask questions such as:

"how many of you will there be?"

"what do you normally drink?"

"what food are you cooking?"

"what is your budget?"

Note: this conversation has happened BEFORE a single free sample has been given away. We call this process qualification of the lead. You are finding out if this person is even vaguely interested in what you are selling, or just wasting your time.

What information you are looking for

So our unsuspecting customer is feeling relaxed: you have found out that he is having half a dozen friends over, including his mum (wine critic who does not like mainstream wines). He he cooking a roast lamb, and normally enjoys a spicy, big wine. It is a cold, wet day (reds are more popular in winter). He is wearing nice clothing, and you spy a BMW key ring sticking out of his pocket (we listen with our eyes and ears remember)..

Using this information: the pitch

So you have gathered all this information, you have built a mental profile of your customer and their needs, NOW you are allowed to start talking!

As a sales person or promoter, you are  now at the easy part: assuming that your product is good (at my company, we don’t market products which are not good.. so let’s just assume it is a quality wine brand for this story) and that you have been given a selection of products to offer (again, an assumption, but smart clients will always give you a variety of flavours or variants to sample so that if one option is not suitable, the customer will have more options to choose from) you can start offering options.

Based on the feedback you have gathered from the customer in the minute or so you have interviewed him, and based on the things you have observed such as the weather and what the customer is wearing, you can now offer him the perfect solution to his needs, which by my calculations is:

- a quality / premium wine (for Mum, the critic)

- probably a big red (Shiraz, Merlot, or even Pinot Noir), since they are having lamb

- in the mid to high price range (price doesn’t matter, quality is more important)

- a few bottles at least (as he is entertaining friends).

Sample time:


You offer him some samples of your options, asking for feedback along the way:

"Sir, what do you think of that one?"

"What flavours do you get out of that option?"

"do you prefer the Pinot Noir or the Pinot Gris?"

While seeking feedback, you talk about the products, emphasising (and impressing the customer) on your knowledge of the brand, region, and product, and complimenting the client on successfully picking the notes or flavours in each sample. Remember, it does not matter if the customer ‘gets it right’, wine sampling is a very individual experience: what matters is that he likes it. 

Ask for the sale

This whole interaction has only taken a couple of minutes (but metaphorically speaking, the sales process can take as long as is required. Selling a luxury car may take weeks. Buying a boat could take a year).

By now this customer should be ready to walk away with at least a few bottles of your wine in their trolley, if you have followed the steps above. But this is where many promoters get it wrong ( I have seen it so many times!). They let the customer just walk away!

In this day and age, people ‘get it’. They know that nothing is for free. This customer has had a free wine, a free chat with a charming and well presented and knowledgeable person, they have met someone who cares enough about their life and well being that they have tailor-made a presentation for them.. they know they have to buy now! Nothing is for free in this life. It is a pretty mean shopper who will put a demonstrator through this whole process and then not purchase!

My favourite line at this point is something like, so sir would you like a case of the Merlot or Pinot Noir?

In sales, you can ALWAYS go down (in price or volume) but it is extremely hard to go up, if your initial pitch is too low. This customer will not want to lose face in front of you. He will assume that everyone buys by the case. He will want to feel as though he has made a great decision, will be the envy of his friends, and will impress his Mum.

He can of course always say “It’s ok I will just take a couple” or “ok I will take one of each”, but even this is a success compared to him just walking away with one bottle, or worse- none. 

Remember, if you do not ask someone to buy from you, chances are that they won’t!

Objections:

There are a million different signs to watch out for with customers at this point of closing a sale (like maybe you have talked too much, he is concerned about the price, he doesn’t like the brand, he has some past bad experiences to overcome, he has not enough money, or no time to stay and pay). These are all called objections, and I could write a novel on techniques to deal with them, so that you still get the sale. Oxfam are really good at it! Everyone will have an excuse for not buying (how many times have you done it?) but normally you can easily overcome these. This information will be a blog for another day.

One thing to remember with objections: it if someone says ‘no’ it basically means they are wanting more information. They feel uncertain about one element of this deal (for whatever reason), so you may need to go back over the benefits or features of the product, or dispel the issue they have with the product by focusing on the positives.

Never let the customer walk away empty handed. If they simply WILL NOT BUY then at least give them a flyer or voucher or website link, and tell them to come and buy next time. It is likely that they will, once they have had time to think it over or when the have more time or money available. 

Wrap:

What is important to remember, irrespective of if you are a promoter for my agency or a sales person or promoter somewhere else, is that we are all trying to sell something. Once you get over that concept and stop feeling icky about it, the world will be a better place. Embrace your chance to influence someones buyer behavior, enjoy making someones day better (or the day of their loved one) by selling them a product they want or need, and pat yourself on the back when you close a sale.. it is thrilling!

But conversely, please don’t be someone that sells products you do not believe in, or screw someone out of money for something they really do not need: make sure you pick and choose what you promote or sell, if possible, and never prey on the vulnerable or people without full information at their disposal. We have all had the ‘hard sell’ by someone, that left us feeling violated and we experienced ‘buyer remorse’ afterwards… People that sell in this manner can only ever do it once: and the customers will never come back. Not a good long term strategy.

True sales people ensure the customer is so satisfied, they come back again and again (and tell all their friends).

Love your work, enjoy your selling!

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
+6421 238 7758
+64 9 360 9777
Generator Office Facility

Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East

Auckland City
1011

* Robert Bruce is Managing Director of SublimeNZ and an experienced salesman, promoter, and experiential marketer. He has worked with many of the leading brands in the world to develop sales strategies and promotional campaigns, and helped companies generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Promotional staff and Brand Ambassadors

One of the great parts of this job (promotional staffing and experiential marketing), is that is you get to meet and work with so many amazing people. 

This week alone we have interviewed dozens of amazing promotional people around New Zealand for roles in our agency ranging from wine-waiters to grid girls, and last night we conducted a group training in Auckland CBD for about 20 new candidates. 

As company owner, probably the most rewarding part of this job is getting to know the hundreds of promotional staff and brand ambassadors who have been selected to work for us (and to be fair, even most of those who have been unsuccessful- it is nothing personal). These are people who are at the top of their game: students, models, actors, or full time workers who just love doing promotional work and most of all LOVE people! The new team last night were great: they interacted and engaged during the group work, asked good questions, and then stuck around afterward for a drink and made an effort to get to know both their new co-workers, and managers.

It is often over a beer that you really get the chance to really get to know someone. The types of people that we take on at SublimeNZ are those who are friendly, non-pretentious, intelligent and likable. It is always interesting hearing about their lives outside of promotions  (such as what they are studying, working on, or aspire to become). Last night I chatted to some new staff who are cameramen, physio students, and property developers! Two of our new staff drove 4 hours return to make the training. That is commitment!

The key to being a great promotional person (or brand ambassador, as we prefer), comes down to a few things:

1/ You are personable, and love people

2/ You love selling and are not afraid to close a deal!

3/ You are confident- you are the centre of attention, and love making people laugh!

4/  You are professional and organised: this job is not for the faint hearted- you need to be able to find your way to work, and not forget your uniform!

5/ You are well presented, in shape, and really care about your appearance. After all, first impressions count!

We are taking people on for a number of roles at SublimeNZ, including:

- wine demonstration

- in-store sampling

- airport/retail sales and promotion

- promotional model work (race track)

- event marketing / sampling (sports drink)

If you are interested in becoming part of the SublimeNZ team around NZ, then apply via our online staff management system Staff Connect now!

We also have a role available now: check it out here http://www.starnow.co.nz/Casting-Calls/Actors-wanted/Events/casting_for_race_team_premium_grid_girls_promotional_staff.htm

Love your work

Robert Bruce

Director

Team SublimeNZ

More engaging in-store demonstration

Recently SublimeNZ has been pitching, and winning, some innovative in-store sampling campaigns that I thought I would share with you. It is exciting stuff!

In-store sampling can be in a number of channels (grocery, liquor, even petrol stations, or shopping malls) and historically very bland- with minimal thought or strategy behind them. This, I would not call experiential marketing.

But the sort of in-store brand engagement we have been advocating /pitching at the point of purchase includes features like:

- tablets/computers with links directly to the clients website or social media,

- unique demonstration zones, matching the clients brands (more than just core flute ‘demo tables’)

-authentic/ exciting uniforms,

- and of course highly trained brand ambassadors.

Although confidential right now, I can share that the success we have had is in the wine industry, with a major liquor client who is THRILLED to have a more unique in-store display than usual, and looking forward to seeing how much we can sell. 

As with my last post about ‘are promotional staff experiential?’ this poses an interesting question, which ‘is in-store demonstration experiential?’

I would say that historically, in-store demonstration is just that: point of sale promotion. But, with clients looking for more cut-through in the highly competitive grocery channel, there is more scope for creativity and therefore experiential ideas like what we are coming up with.

One of the selling points of SublimeNZ is that we have a creative department with amazing/modern graphic artists ready to create mock ups and renderings of our ideas, and we are working towards changing perceptions about point of sale / promotional activity.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ

SublimeNZ News Feed

Selling: embrace it! We all have to do it

Robert Bruce

28/08/2012

In my experience people typically hate being sold to, and quite often hate doing the selling. But selling is not all that bad! It makes the world go around, so we may as well embrace it (and at least do it well).

Selling: it is not so bad!

My blog today is about selling, and how to incorporate it into your life as a promotional person / brand ambassador or any kind of sales person. Because you know what: almost all of our jobs include selling something whether we like it or not! We all have to sell products, or ideas, or sell candidates, or sell a dream, or a solution..We may as well try to make it enjoyable for both the promoter, and the recipient.

I think the most important thing to remember here, is that in almost all cases our clients are being measured by the increase in sales they generate from their marketing activity, it is that simple. All of the branding, advertising, logos, stunts, event sponsorships, speeches, experiential campaigns, fashion shows, parties, product launches, TV interviews, press releases, packaging design… they are all working towards one ultimate goal, which is to drive more sales (and therefore increase revenue and profit) for an organisation. Sound cynical? Well, sorry: there it is. As a business owner I get this concept easily- because when it is YOUR money being spent on an idea, you darn well want to know that it is turning into sales for you: otherwise you are just giving your money away. So now, when I meet with a client one of my first questions is always “what does success look like for you? What are you trying to achieve? What is your sales target?”


We are all selling something

Once you have got your head around the idea that your life (working for an agency of any sort, advertising/marketing/branding/experiential/promotional or even in politics or retail etc) is about creating sales, then you can start getting on with life. Things become much easier. Creativity should and must still apply (in regards to the WAY in which we attract customers and engage with them or win them over about an idea), but clients wanting creativity for the sake of it (without a meaningful or measurable sales driver) are few and far between, in this market anyway.

Examples of retail campaigns

Some of the campaigns my staff are working on right now, include:

- wine demonstration in super markets and liquor stores,

- fragrance / cosmetics demonstration in department stores and pharmacies.

These two retail environments are classic examples of where standard promotional techniques are ‘not enough’, and you need to be a little more creative in the way in which you stop people in their tracks, and make a sale. By ‘standard promotional techniques’ I mean the idea of giving out a sample, smiling sweetly, and leaving the customer with a brand message of some sort..

"Hi sir, here, try this sample of wine from XYZ company, it’s on special.. ok, bye!"

The way my clients and I are training promotional people at the moment, is all about closing a sale, up-selling, cross-selling, and creating repeat business and long term customer loyalty. There are a number of ways that these outcomes can be achieved, but paramount (in my opinion, and from years of experience) is about listening to what your customer is saying, finding their need, then giving them what they want.. easy! This is not even selling, it is just solving someones problem.

Let me further explain.

When should you sell to me?

When I walk into a supermarket, I have money in my pocket: I am there, because I want to buy something: I am already in the head space of shelling out some of my hard earned cash, so, the ‘time is right’ to conduct an in store demonstration or sales exercise. What I am open to buying however, is dependent on a number of conditions. At the most basic level, it depends on the day of the week and time of day: On a Sunday night when I am doing my weekly grocery shop I am probably less likely to buy wine as I am not really thinking about drinking at this time. Saturday afternoon however I am wide open for a bottle (or four) because I am hosting a party that night, or going to a birthday or BYO dinner.

Assume, as a promoter, that you have been put into a store for a reason: that we (as your agency) or our client have decided that it is the perfect time to meet target market customers when they are ‘open’ to buying.

So, I have cash to spend (tick the box). You are in the right place at the right time (tick).

Next: what do I want, what do I need?

The ONLY way you can find out what a potential customer wants or needs, is to ask questions. This is by far, the single easiest yet most under-utalised method of closing a sale. It amazes me in this enlightened age how many promoters or sellers or product demonstrators just jump straight into a pitch without asking what someone wants or needs first! How do you know what to offer them, if you have not asked any questions??

Staying with the wine example, the type of question you might ask someone walking past your stand is:

"Hello sir, where are you drinking / partying / eating / going tonight?"

This question immediately starts a conversation, which is crucial in sales. You will note that he cannot answer with ‘yes’ or ‘no’ (otherwise known as a ‘closed question’), and his answer lets you know if he is having a dinner alone on the couch, entertaining VIPs, or going to a BYO restaurant. Each situation may require a different product, or amount of products.

Let’s assume for this case study he says “I am actually having some friends over for a shared dinner”.

So, our useless promoter (again) would jump straight in with the pitch and offer whatever they have close to hand: “well sir we have the XYZ wine, it is on special tonight..”

Keep the conversation going:

This conversation you are having is a perfect opportunity to find out more about the customer, what they need, and to further tailor the pitch (before giving it). We call it the interview.

The interview:

I have always like the saying that you have two ears and only one mouth: they should be used proportionately.

So, during the interview our promoter should ask questions such as:

"how many of you will there be?"

"what do you normally drink?"

"what food are you cooking?"

"what is your budget?"

Note: this conversation has happened BEFORE a single free sample has been given away. We call this process qualification of the lead. You are finding out if this person is even vaguely interested in what you are selling, or just wasting your time.

What information you are looking for

So our unsuspecting customer is feeling relaxed: you have found out that he is having half a dozen friends over, including his mum (wine critic who does not like mainstream wines). He he cooking a roast lamb, and normally enjoys a spicy, big wine. It is a cold, wet day (reds are more popular in winter). He is wearing nice clothing, and you spy a BMW key ring sticking out of his pocket (we listen with our eyes and ears remember)..

Using this information: the pitch

So you have gathered all this information, you have built a mental profile of your customer and their needs, NOW you are allowed to start talking!

As a sales person or promoter, you are  now at the easy part: assuming that your product is good (at my company, we don’t market products which are not good.. so let’s just assume it is a quality wine brand for this story) and that you have been given a selection of products to offer (again, an assumption, but smart clients will always give you a variety of flavours or variants to sample so that if one option is not suitable, the customer will have more options to choose from) you can start offering options.

Based on the feedback you have gathered from the customer in the minute or so you have interviewed him, and based on the things you have observed such as the weather and what the customer is wearing, you can now offer him the perfect solution to his needs, which by my calculations is:

- a quality / premium wine (for Mum, the critic)

- probably a big red (Shiraz, Merlot, or even Pinot Noir), since they are having lamb

- in the mid to high price range (price doesn’t matter, quality is more important)

- a few bottles at least (as he is entertaining friends).

Sample time:


You offer him some samples of your options, asking for feedback along the way:

"Sir, what do you think of that one?"

"What flavours do you get out of that option?"

"do you prefer the Pinot Noir or the Pinot Gris?"

While seeking feedback, you talk about the products, emphasising (and impressing the customer) on your knowledge of the brand, region, and product, and complimenting the client on successfully picking the notes or flavours in each sample. Remember, it does not matter if the customer ‘gets it right’, wine sampling is a very individual experience: what matters is that he likes it. 

Ask for the sale

This whole interaction has only taken a couple of minutes (but metaphorically speaking, the sales process can take as long as is required. Selling a luxury car may take weeks. Buying a boat could take a year).

By now this customer should be ready to walk away with at least a few bottles of your wine in their trolley, if you have followed the steps above. But this is where many promoters get it wrong ( I have seen it so many times!). They let the customer just walk away!

In this day and age, people ‘get it’. They know that nothing is for free. This customer has had a free wine, a free chat with a charming and well presented and knowledgeable person, they have met someone who cares enough about their life and well being that they have tailor-made a presentation for them.. they know they have to buy now! Nothing is for free in this life. It is a pretty mean shopper who will put a demonstrator through this whole process and then not purchase!

My favourite line at this point is something like, so sir would you like a case of the Merlot or Pinot Noir?

In sales, you can ALWAYS go down (in price or volume) but it is extremely hard to go up, if your initial pitch is too low. This customer will not want to lose face in front of you. He will assume that everyone buys by the case. He will want to feel as though he has made a great decision, will be the envy of his friends, and will impress his Mum.

He can of course always say “It’s ok I will just take a couple” or “ok I will take one of each”, but even this is a success compared to him just walking away with one bottle, or worse- none. 

Remember, if you do not ask someone to buy from you, chances are that they won’t!

Objections:

There are a million different signs to watch out for with customers at this point of closing a sale (like maybe you have talked too much, he is concerned about the price, he doesn’t like the brand, he has some past bad experiences to overcome, he has not enough money, or no time to stay and pay). These are all called objections, and I could write a novel on techniques to deal with them, so that you still get the sale. Oxfam are really good at it! Everyone will have an excuse for not buying (how many times have you done it?) but normally you can easily overcome these. This information will be a blog for another day.

One thing to remember with objections: it if someone says ‘no’ it basically means they are wanting more information. They feel uncertain about one element of this deal (for whatever reason), so you may need to go back over the benefits or features of the product, or dispel the issue they have with the product by focusing on the positives.

Never let the customer walk away empty handed. If they simply WILL NOT BUY then at least give them a flyer or voucher or website link, and tell them to come and buy next time. It is likely that they will, once they have had time to think it over or when the have more time or money available. 

Wrap:

What is important to remember, irrespective of if you are a promoter for my agency or a sales person or promoter somewhere else, is that we are all trying to sell something. Once you get over that concept and stop feeling icky about it, the world will be a better place. Embrace your chance to influence someones buyer behavior, enjoy making someones day better (or the day of their loved one) by selling them a product they want or need, and pat yourself on the back when you close a sale.. it is thrilling!

But conversely, please don’t be someone that sells products you do not believe in, or screw someone out of money for something they really do not need: make sure you pick and choose what you promote or sell, if possible, and never prey on the vulnerable or people without full information at their disposal. We have all had the ‘hard sell’ by someone, that left us feeling violated and we experienced ‘buyer remorse’ afterwards… People that sell in this manner can only ever do it once: and the customers will never come back. Not a good long term strategy.

True sales people ensure the customer is so satisfied, they come back again and again (and tell all their friends).

Love your work, enjoy your selling!

Robert Bruce
Managing Director
SublimeNZ Ltd
+6421 238 7758
+64 9 360 9777
Generator Office Facility

Stanbeth HouseLevel 1, 22- 28 Custom St East

Auckland City
1011

* Robert Bruce is Managing Director of SublimeNZ and an experienced salesman, promoter, and experiential marketer. He has worked with many of the leading brands in the world to develop sales strategies and promotional campaigns, and helped companies generate millions of dollars in revenue.

Promotional staff and Brand Ambassadors

One of the great parts of this job (promotional staffing and experiential marketing), is that is you get to meet and work with so many amazing people. 

This week alone we have interviewed dozens of amazing promotional people around New Zealand for roles in our agency ranging from wine-waiters to grid girls, and last night we conducted a group training in Auckland CBD for about 20 new candidates. 

As company owner, probably the most rewarding part of this job is getting to know the hundreds of promotional staff and brand ambassadors who have been selected to work for us (and to be fair, even most of those who have been unsuccessful- it is nothing personal). These are people who are at the top of their game: students, models, actors, or full time workers who just love doing promotional work and most of all LOVE people! The new team last night were great: they interacted and engaged during the group work, asked good questions, and then stuck around afterward for a drink and made an effort to get to know both their new co-workers, and managers.

It is often over a beer that you really get the chance to really get to know someone. The types of people that we take on at SublimeNZ are those who are friendly, non-pretentious, intelligent and likable. It is always interesting hearing about their lives outside of promotions  (such as what they are studying, working on, or aspire to become). Last night I chatted to some new staff who are cameramen, physio students, and property developers! Two of our new staff drove 4 hours return to make the training. That is commitment!

The key to being a great promotional person (or brand ambassador, as we prefer), comes down to a few things:

1/ You are personable, and love people

2/ You love selling and are not afraid to close a deal!

3/ You are confident- you are the centre of attention, and love making people laugh!

4/  You are professional and organised: this job is not for the faint hearted- you need to be able to find your way to work, and not forget your uniform!

5/ You are well presented, in shape, and really care about your appearance. After all, first impressions count!

We are taking people on for a number of roles at SublimeNZ, including:

- wine demonstration

- in-store sampling

- airport/retail sales and promotion

- promotional model work (race track)

- event marketing / sampling (sports drink)

If you are interested in becoming part of the SublimeNZ team around NZ, then apply via our online staff management system Staff Connect now!

We also have a role available now: check it out here http://www.starnow.co.nz/Casting-Calls/Actors-wanted/Events/casting_for_race_team_premium_grid_girls_promotional_staff.htm

Love your work

Robert Bruce

Director

Team SublimeNZ

More engaging in-store demonstration

Recently SublimeNZ has been pitching, and winning, some innovative in-store sampling campaigns that I thought I would share with you. It is exciting stuff!

In-store sampling can be in a number of channels (grocery, liquor, even petrol stations, or shopping malls) and historically very bland- with minimal thought or strategy behind them. This, I would not call experiential marketing.

But the sort of in-store brand engagement we have been advocating /pitching at the point of purchase includes features like:

- tablets/computers with links directly to the clients website or social media,

- unique demonstration zones, matching the clients brands (more than just core flute ‘demo tables’)

-authentic/ exciting uniforms,

- and of course highly trained brand ambassadors.

Although confidential right now, I can share that the success we have had is in the wine industry, with a major liquor client who is THRILLED to have a more unique in-store display than usual, and looking forward to seeing how much we can sell. 

As with my last post about ‘are promotional staff experiential?’ this poses an interesting question, which ‘is in-store demonstration experiential?’

I would say that historically, in-store demonstration is just that: point of sale promotion. But, with clients looking for more cut-through in the highly competitive grocery channel, there is more scope for creativity and therefore experiential ideas like what we are coming up with.

One of the selling points of SublimeNZ is that we have a creative department with amazing/modern graphic artists ready to create mock ups and renderings of our ideas, and we are working towards changing perceptions about point of sale / promotional activity.

Robert Bruce

Director

SublimeNZ