• Bill Petrie

Is It Important to Your Client?

For a sales conversation to happen, it must be important to them.

I fervently love what I do, and I hope people sense that just by how I present myself. As a result, I get to create meaningful marketing and branding work that matters, work with fabulous clients that have become friends, and continue to be part of an industry that has generously given me far more than I’ll ever be able to give back.

As I speak with people, I get asked many “why” questions. Sometimes it’s why I have dedicated so much time learning and cooking barbecue, while other times, it’s why I favor a certain Pasadena, CA-based hard rock band that was started by one of the greatest guitarists ever to roam this planet. Most of the time, however, I get asked about the things I do in the industry and why I approach them the way that I do:


  • Why do you still write a blog every week?

  • Why do you continue to speak at PPAI Expo, ASI events, and regional webinars?

  • After 101 episodes, why do you consistently record the Promo UPFront Podcast with Kirby Hasseman every week?

  • Why do you continue to mentor people in the industry?

  • Why do you spend time volunteering as a chef in PromoKitchen?


The answer to the above questions is the same: because it’s important to me.

Those queries are often followed up with a variation of, “you’re so busy – how do you find the time?” The answer is exactly the same as the first one: if it’s important to me, I will find the time.

There’s not one person I know that’s not busy. Between work, family, social, and other obligations, every single person I know is jam-packed with things that make them busy. This is the reason I loathe the word itself because “busy” has become a crutch word that people prefer to use instead of “no” because they (incorrectly) think that it’s a softer way of letting someone down.

It’s not.

We all know that being busy is a euphemism for “it’s not important to me.” From my perspective, it’s far better to simply say no to a request and offer an alternative than to profess how busy you are. If someone only states they are too busy to do something, they are telling you it’s not significant to them.

This goes for prospects and clients as well. You know the ones I’m talking about – the ones who tell you they are too busy to meet with you this week, too busy to look at your proposal today, or too busy to think about promotional products as part of a new product launch right now. These are the same people who build false hope by asking you to contact them next week, next month, or at the beginning of the year, only to brush you off again. In most cases, next week, next month, or next year never really happens because they don’t see the importance and/or value in what you’re selling.

This is where you, Mr. and Mrs. Promotional Products salesperson, come in. Have you shown them – not told them, but shown them – how a perfectly decorated piece of promotional merchandise will not only enhance their project but define it? Have you explained that promotional marketing is the only advertising medium where the recipient says, “thank you?” Have you thought beyond the simple, tangible product and, instead, communicated a complete end-user experience from packaging to usage?

When a prospect’s words or actions tell you that promotional products aren’t important to them because they are “too busy” right now, it’s up to you to change that conversation. Don’t buy into the false hope of “call me next week” when you know that next week is nothing but an apparition.

It’s time to realize people will only genuinely engage you when they realize how critically essential promotional merchandise is to achieving their goals. Remember, just like you or me, they will only spend time on conversations that are important to them.

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