CASE STUDY: Samples Seal the Deal

Molly Neises, MAS, Sales

You’ve probably heard it a hundred times (or more): “Samples Sell!”  That’s because it’s true!

Putting a physical sample in your customer’s hands can create excitement, increasing your level of customer service while building trust.  It also allows your buyers to feel confident and exhilarated by how they are spending their marketing budget.  As consumers, many of us are more likely to purchase something we have tried first.  This means you are more likely to convert a discussion about promotional products into a sale if the customer has been able to sample the goods.

Read on for two case studies, showing the power of sampling:

CASE STUDY#1: Second Sample Secures the Sale

At Maple Ridge Farms we see requests for spec samples daily, but a Mississippi distributor took it one step further and netted a sizable order from a local hospital with his unique tactic:  He ordered two samples of the exact same product!

In many cases, the contact person whom a distributor calls upon may not be the ultimate decision-maker when it comes to the purchase of promotional products.  A problem arises when the primary contact taste-tests the product, leaving the ultimate decision-maker (or committee) with only the imprinted box or cutting board.  They don’t get to experience that great-tasting food!

In this particular case, the distributor’s contact at the hospital was in charge of selecting three possible items for gifts to doctors.  One of these items would ultimately be chosen by the selection committee.  The distributor ordered two spec samples of our Wooden Collector’s Box (K124), one for his contact to sample and the other for the selection committee.  That way, both could experience the freshness and quality of the food, as well as the quality of the wooden box.

Challenge: The distributor needed to make sure that the final decision maker was able to fully experience the high-level quality Maple Ridge Farms products provided – from the original unboxing all the way through enjoying the indulgent gourmet food.

Solution: By sending a second sample, the committee making the final product selection was able to see the imprint, feel the quality of the packaging, and – most  importantly – taste the delectable treats!

Results: The sales strategy worked, and the hospital ordered over 200 gifts from this savvy distributor.

CASE STUDY#2: Outshine Direct-Seller Competition

In a market where there are many buying avenues, how do you convince your customer to purchase their gourmet gifts through you versus going direct to a big-box store or online option?  You know the top-notch level of quality and service Maple Ridge Farms adds to the equation, but what’s the best way to share that knowledge with your buyers?  Do what a Los Angeles-based distributor did: provide your customer with a Show and Tell (and Taste) opportunity.

This distributor’s customer was planning to purchase 250 gifts from one of the largest direct-to-consumer food gift catalogs (you’d recognize the name).  The distributor explained to her customer that many of these large food gift companies pack their items months in advance and warehouse them for later shipment.  Such practice diminishes the product’s freshness.

She convinced her customer to delay the decision until she could arrange a taste comparison.  She went online and ordered the gift her client was considering.  Then she contacted Maple Ridge Farms and ordered a similar gift tower – complete with her customer’s logo imprinted on the ribbon.

When both packages arrived, she arranged for a meeting at her client’s office.  The customer tasted both samples and quickly discovered the difference in freshness and quality.  The buyer was also impressed with the logoed ribbon, and the outstanding packaging.  The lack of filler and marketing materials found included with the online-purchased gift did not go unnoticed either.

The distributor inked a nice holiday gift order and has had three re-orders just by letting her customer experience the difference. You, too, can enhance your chances to eliminate the competition by simply demonstrating the benefits your partnership with Maple Ridge Farms can provide.

Challenge: Convincing a buyer that her promotional products distributor was the best source for gourmet gifting over simply ordering their gifts through a direct seller online.

Solution: A side-by-side comparison showcased the value the distributor brought to the table in terms of quality of freshness, taste, packaging and service.

Results: By establishing the level of service and quality she could provide, what started as a one-time order has repeated several years running.

These are just a couple examples of how samples can help you strengthen the trust your buyers have in the product and services you provide.  They can help create additional brand loyalty and incentivize new customers to make that first purchase. 

Be sure to check out our Resource Center for more informative (and drool-worthy) case histories.  And Distributors... Click Here for our current Spec Sample Offer or contact our team for additional assistance!

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