Thursday, August 22, 2013

Still product pushers after all these years

Here I go again.  After all, I could have titled this "Are you really a Promotional Consultant?" but where is the fun in that.

Frankly, I have nothing against product pushers.  Many buyers of promotional products have a product need rather than a need for a consultant.  And there are many promotional consultants too, but you would not know it by reading the social media posts from most suppliers & distributors.

So this post is not meant to offend, rather, it is intended to get you to think about how you position yourself offline and online.  Even a good "product pusher" is probably a promotional consultant.

con·sult·ant  Noun
A person who provides expert advice professionally

Consultants tend to be experts in 1 focused area.  Check.  You are focused on Promotional Products and know the space well.

Consultants love to talk about their work (often in hopes of acquiring a new client).  Check. You talk.  A Lot... 

Consultants have deep domain expertise.  Check.  You know the vendors, products, and latest decoration techniques.

Consultants listen to their client needs and provide solutions to fit their needs. Check.  Sometimes, even taking an order is the job of a consultant. Not every buyer inquiry needs to have 30 questions.

So perhaps you are a consultant after all?  In fact, even a traditional "product pusher" probably is a consultant as long as they are steering clients to the right vendors for the right reasons.

Yet there is little great content on social media about promotional products.  Most of the social media content is pushing products.  Perhaps it is because the type of consulting you do requires knowing the specific client needs before you can consult?  Perhaps.  I think, however, we can do better.   

We need to start sharing knowledge of successful campaigns rather than pushing products on social media.  Because whether you are a consultant or not, people don't like products pushed at them via social media. Providing educational content and advice establishes you as a consultant in the mind of your clients.

PS I have said something similar before about suppliers when I said "Promotional Products Suppliers Stink at Twitter".  

Geiger CIO Dale Denham, MAS+ provides practical insights on how you can benefit from technology in no nonsense terms. Follow him on Twitter:@GeigerCIO.