originally published on November 16th, 2011
One of the facts of life is that people donâ€™t buy what they canâ€™t touch. Each year, I spend thousands of dollars for my wife and I go attend the Las Vegas ARA Trade Show. Why? Because I want to see whatâ€™s new in the marketplace and by that, I mean I want to touch it, hold it in my own hand, feel and see the quality of it. In short, I want to fondle it.
Why? Because, pictures lie. Have you ever ordered a dinner based on a picture in a menu only to be disappointed when the meal arrives like I did at a Ruby Tuesdayâ€™s the other day? The picture showed a plate full of food. Two slices of golden fish with potatoes and a mountain of broccoli only to be served a nearly empty plate with only one piece of fish, a few floweretâ€™s of broccoli and an ice cream dipper of potatoes. The taste was fine but I was so disappointed at the appearance, I almost sent it back.
Most people have been fooled like this. Either consciously or subconsciously, people want to make sure something is what it is supposed to be before they buy it. â€œIs it live or is it Memorex?â€ the old commercial used to ask. Itâ€™s a fair question and the only way we can assure the customer is to let him or her hold a sample. Itâ€™s really to our advantage after all. If a person sees and holds a sample of a product before they order it, and you deliver a product equal to the sample, how can they ever be disappointed?
We have said it for over a decade now, â€œSamples sellâ€ and it is just as true today as when sublimation first came out.
Oh, one last thing: Never, but never show an unprinted sample. Unprinted samples are ugly! Now, you might show all the sizes in an unprinted stage with one glowing example printed in all the glory you can muster but raw products are not going to sell anything. You have to invest in samples!
Donâ€™t just let customers handle finished products, encourage it. And if they damage it, so what? If it wears out and gets scratched, so what? Make another. Let them feel the weight of it, the smoothness of the surface; let them try to rub the image off or try to figure out how you got that image on there.
Sell a product you donâ€™t have on display? Great, make two. One for the customer and one for display. Tell the customer, â€œI was so impressed with your photo, I just had to put one on display. I hope you donâ€™t mind.â€ They wonâ€™t. They will be as proud as punch (whatever that really means). Go ahead, try it.