by Steve Spence
One of the easiest markets to sell to is your local Volunteer Fire Department. The men and women, who give their time to protect their community from fire and all the related tragedies in their community, do it out of a deep passion, a love for the job, the adrenaline rush and the camaraderie.
Regardless of their motive however, one thing is sure, they love what they do. It is far more than a hobby; it is a calling and with it comes a deep love and appreciation for anything related to fire fighting. If you go into their homes, they will have pictures of fires or fire fighting equipment on the walls, plaques, old fire hose nozzles, and the like treasured and displayed throughout their homes. I once bronzed a section of fire hose for one fireman â€“ I never did understand what significance it had but he was willing to pay several hundred dollars for it. That was enough for me.
To sell to fire departments of their sister units such as EMTs, water rescue units, and the like, you must understand one thing: They donâ€™t give a hang about a picture of some generic fire truck, no matter how pretty it is. They want to have things with a picture of their fire truck, ambulance, rescue boat, etc., on it. And thatâ€™s good because that is exactly what sublimation is best at â€“ creating products with the customerâ€™s photo and personalized with the customerâ€™s name â€“ nothing generic here.
It usually wonâ€™t take more than a phone call for the crew to roll out their fire engine in front of the â€˜ol fire house for a photo shoot. Take your trusty little digital camera and take a few shots of the two together. With any luck, you might even catch them on a day when everyone is there for training or a meeting and be able to get them all standing in front of that favorite fire truck â€“ what a gold mine!
Vapor Shirts, UNISUB picture frames, plaques, name badges, key fobs, luggage tags, ceramic tiles â€“ you name it and they will probably buy it â€“ not because it has a picture of a fire truck on it but because it has a picture of their fire truck and their name to boot. Just flip through the Conde catalog and pick out dozens of items you can offer.
Best of all, fire companies are very competitive. Once you sell to one fire station, others will probably be calling as well.
Donâ€™t forget to contribute something to their annual fund raising â€“ maybe a plaque for the person who brings in the most money.
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