Do we ask the right questions to get the answers we want, ponders BPMA director general Gordon Glenister

Often when I speak to organisations in the promotional merchandise and clothing sectors, they tell me it’s a very competitive world and they only get an order if they are the lowest price provider. With margins in some areas severely depressed, how can you stand out from your competitors?

Well, as a seasoned sales expert, I often say it’s all in the questions you ask. The research we conducted at Marketing Week Live last year revealed that brands see understanding their needs as the most important priority – well above that of price.

The most important thing to consider initially is to build rapport. Always put yourself in the buyer’s shoes. Would I buy from me? They want to know if they can trust you – can they? Will you do a good job? Do they actually like you?

The next is to establish the pain points, and this is where the questions you ask will be the most powerful. Buyers naturally want to achieve great value at minimum risk and you have to provide this.

Here are what I consider to be the most important questions to ask:
1. What is the garment going to be used for?
2. Can you show me your logo and message so that I can recommend garments that might work well with them?
3. Have you considered bespoke clothing to allow us to create something really different for your team or clients?
4. What’s the most important consideration in selecting promotional clothing?
5. What type of clothing do you currently like and why? Could it work in your business?
6. Have you encountered any problems with suppliers in the past – what happened ?
7. In a perfect world, what would your ideal choice of garment be?
8. Have you considered working on a sole supply agreement with a potential rebate in place?
9. What branding do you think stands out best?
10. What budget are you working towards? (Some won’t give you a figure, but will then suggest some ludicrous variances, which should give you an idea.)
Happy questioning!

Gordon Glenister

Takeaway: Make sure your business is an ingredient in the marketing mix, not a cherry on top

If you have any questions or topics that you would like Gordon to address, please email with ‘BPMA’ in the subject line.