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Do promotions work?

DanHolohan
DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
If a manufacturer offers, say, a jacket for buying so many boilers, does that make you want to buy those boilers?
Retired and loving it.

Comments

  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 67
    (wholesale perspective) We have run a few different promos over the years. For equipment it seems like you have to offer something the contractor really wants. Around here contractors want the jacket to just be a given, they sell the product they should at least get a jacket out of the deal, fair enough. The most successful promo we had was when a boiler manufacturer offered up an electric bike with fat tires in a camo print, right at the start of boiler season. We had an hvac company with 3 salesmen who all really wanted it, so those guys competed heavily (all in good fun) The manufacturer had told me that the promo was generally considered a flop in every market except ours.
    CLamb
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,248
    No. But if a manufacturer provided great after sales support I would.
    STEVEusaPAdelta TEdTheHeaterMan
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,671
    What @SlamDunk said.
    For a boiler, they could throw in a hat and/or t-shirt on every order.
    Wayyyyy back when I was in construction, the supply house used to always send out hats, tshirts, construction pencil, etc. Or the sales rep came out with them and doughnuts.
    But to me, service/sales support is the most important.
    steve
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,248
    "I spent thousands of dollars with XYZ Co, and all I have to show for it is this lousy tee shirt."

    That's the first thought that came to mind when I saw this post..
    ZmanEdTheHeaterMan
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
    That’s funny!
    Retired and loving it.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
    A boiler company once gave work boots with their name cast into the soles in reverse. A contractor told me a customer got mad at the company because the boiler name appeared in mud across their kitchen floor. 
    Retired and loving it.
    CLambSTEVEusaPAZmanEdTheHeaterMan
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 67
    Wow I bet they switched to handing out drop cloths as promo after that
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
    I wish they had thought of that!
    Retired and loving it.
  • ScottSecor
    ScottSecor Member Posts: 547
    We have been given the boots, received the shirts and worn the hats. I appreciate the gifts and gladly accept them. To be honest, the "handouts" rarely change my opinions of the product or influence my buying decisions. That being said, it seems like whenever we do a bunch of installations in row they start the promotions immediately afterwards. I also dislike having to fill out submissions for a product we just purchased and installed. Wouldn't it be great if the wholesaler (that has the serial number and model number in their system) could submit the forms for us?

    In my experience, some of the best gifts we ever received from manufacturers or the manufacturer's representatives and wholesalers were simply because they appreciated our business. They gave me (and often my men) something like a nice meal, a trip to their training and/or manufacturing facility (sometimes out of state, sometimes out of the country), a night out at Top Golf, etc. The best ones always had some sort of formal training.

    I am fifty-five years old. As such, I still appreciate hands on training (as do my much younger employees). For old school me, it's hard to replace an in person question and answer session with a you tube video. I miss the days of in-person seminars with Holohan, Hot Rod, Siggy and the many others. On most occasions I appreciated the company that offered the training much more after a learning experience. In my opinion, this is the kind of promotion we could all use. The more we know about a product (boiler, burner, pump, hydro separator, zone valve, etc.) the more we likely we'll be to install it.
    PC7060rick in AlaskaRoohollah
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
    Very insightful and helpful, Scott. Thanks. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,912
    edited May 12
    I have stacks of notepads, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats from supply houses and boiler manufacturers. You know what it's good for? Getting my guys to wear something other than the Gateway/Toro Plumbing shirts and hats I spend hundreds of dollars on seasonally.

    You want to do something for me? Send me some training videos. Pick up the phone when I call instead of having me on hold for 20 minutes. Honor my client's warranty even though it's been 54 weeks since the installation date. I've got clothes. Make me feel a little special, wouldja?

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
    GGross
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
    Nice, John. To the point. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,118
    I suppose it depends on the giveaway and perceived value.  A ball cap, or trip to Italy???
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,900
    Promo stuff isn't worth a dam if the equipment isn't any good or not supported
  • Dave Carpentier
    Dave Carpentier Member Posts: 109
    In my previous career, I definitely leaned towards trusted suppliers that were knowledgeable and had stock. If they convinced me that item-B was also good and came with some trinket, then I'd probably bite. But the main thing is that I trusted that supplier. The trinket was only a bonus, not the deal driver.
    30+ yrs in telecom outside plant.
    Currently in building maintenance.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 2,512
    Hi, The only kind of perk I ever liked was when a training would be offered and specialty tools used for that work were then offered at reduced prices. But, I like tools!

    Yours, Larry
    rick in AlaskaEdTheHeaterMan
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,353
    I would like to double like Scotts post, but can't. Like some of the other guys said, hats and such should just be given out on every boiler. What does it cost? $4?
    Give me training. Hands on training for sure. Make your specialty tools that only work on your product at cost, and not grossly inflated. Wirsbo's radiant tube stapler was like $1000 when it came out, and was worth like $300.
    Wait a minute; I retired in January and guess this doesn't matter much now. But still....
    Rick
    GroundUpCanuckerScottSecor
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,279
    I don't like the idea of tying a promotion directly to a sale. You don't want to push your dealers to push the wrong solution. Clothing and mugs and such are fine, those are advertising, they are more reminding you to look at their product than actively encouraging you to use their product for some reward.
    ScottSecorCLamb
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,385
    X3 on the training. While I've spent literal millions of dollars at supply houses over my career, I personally have never received anything more than a note pad from them in exchange. If Navien were offering a buy one get one free deal on boilers, I would still buy Lochinvar. I don't care about free stuff, I just want quality and support. A hoodie once in awhile would be cool, but isn't going to make me buy something I don't like to get it.
    ScottSecor
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,655
    JohnNY said:

    I have stacks of notepads, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and hats from supply houses and boiler manufacturers. You know what it's good for? Getting my guys to wear something other than the Gateway/Toro Plumbing shirts and hats I spend hundreds of dollars on seasonally.

    You want to do something for me? Send me some training videos. Pick up the phone when I call instead of having me on hold for 20 minutes. Honor my client's warranty even though it's been 54 weeks since the installation date. I've got clothes. Make me feel a little special, wouldja?

    None of that is a cheap or easy gimmick though.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ScottSecor
  • Illinoisfarmer
    Illinoisfarmer Member Posts: 22
    The parallels between our industries here is uncanny. Like everyone who has commented, I could give a rip about getting a free hat or t-shirt. Frankly, I'm not wearing a hat advertising a dealer or their product if I don't trust and use that product anyway. Sell a quality product at a reasonable price and support the product after the sale. I'll buy my own hat, if necessary (Yeah, I know, like a farmer has EVER actually bought a hat).

    A seed company a few years ago offered to pay the lease on a new pickup truck for farmers that agreed to purchase 'X' units of that company's seed every year for a 4 year period. There were some of those trucks around. In year 3 of the program, the company put out some seed that wasn't great. Rather than being able to switch companies to a better product the next season, those farmers were still committed to that company - and stuck driving a rolling advertisement to that effect.

    My experience, which again sounds similar to you folks, is that 'trinket' promotions work on those that don't have a vested interest in the long term success of the endeavor. A Farm Manager, Banker or absentee landlord may be swayed by a trip, or a hat or a free crock pot. Just as a designer, engineer or project manager may direct one of you to install a specific make or model of equipment for the same reason. Those of us in the trenches, so to speak, can pay for our own trips (I was offered meal tickets to the Illinois State Fair once). I'll make my selections, both small and large, based on value, service and support after the sale. I'll give any salesman or vendor the chance make a sale and then to do the right thing. The right thing doesn't end when the tractor is in my shed, or the boiler is in your basement!
    MikeL_2
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,916
    @Illinoisfarmer, I always enjoy your posts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. It’s great to step outside our business and see how others are going through similar things. 
    Retired and loving it.
    Illinoisfarmer
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,716
    I liked getting hats, hoodies, t-shirts, etc. from supply houses and manufacturers. Still do. The difference is that I was already buying and supporting their product while they were already doing everything they could to help me. 

    If I was given a hat or some other thingy promoting a product I didn’t like or something from a company that treated my like a second class citizen, I’d either decline or give it away to someone else. 
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • Steve Minnich
    Steve Minnich Member Posts: 2,716
    I’m not in the game as much anymore. No supply houses.  No live hydronic seminars. It’s basically my desk and my laptop. On Instagram, I saw a hat that was being given away at a manufacturer’s event and I asked how I could get my hands on one of those sweet things. 

    Four days later, I get two boxes delivered filled with 4 hats, 8 pads of graphing paper, stickers, 8 pens, and a high quality stainless steel Yeti mug. They did not have to do that. I just wanted a single hat and was willing to buy it. It made my day. You know who you are and your growing company continues to shine in the hydronic industry. Thank you. 
    Steve Minnich
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    [email protected]
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,983
    I wonder if @Illinoisfarmer has a John Deere Hat?

    Agree with that a promo was not a reason for purchasing a inferior product. I was sold on a brand of zone valve by a promo and decided to use it on my own home. It had some great new features and was just like the Brand H that I preferred. After about 8 years there was a problem with leaking and motor mechanism failed on one and the replacement pop-on motor/actuator failed a year later. As of 8 years ago, I have replaced all the inferior valves with "Brand H" that I preferred and have a great track record. So that "Deal" spoiled me on the whole Promo thing early in my career.

    I done even have a Weil McLain model trucks anymore. The Hess trucks are still pretty cool but I needed to purchase them since the family business was sold in 1999!
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org