Ask Steve

Ask Steve: Can I Get Stores to Sell My Custom Spotter Bottles?

A personalized spotter bottle with free lifetime replacement policy was the single best marketing idea I ever had

Hey Steve,

I know you really promote giving out a free bottle of spotter at the end of the job. But I ‘m thinking about taking it one step further and giving it to stores so they can sell it to their customers.

I’d even be OK with giving it away for free, because as long as my name and contact info is out there I’m fine with paying the buck a bottle or so that these personalized bottles cost.

So Steve, did you ever place your spotter bottles out in the marketplace? And if so, how did you put them out there and what, if anything, did you charge? What were the results?

-Getting Creative in Garland, TX


Dear Getting,

I don’t want to rain on your parade here but getting another company’s employees to promote my business by handing out my personalized bottles never worked well for me. Most stores of any type just weren't interested in promoting my company! Can you believe it? I was shocked!

Here’s what would happen when a flooring or furniture store told me they would give (or sell) them to their clients. I would leave a case of my "Spot Out" carpet spotter free of charge. Then a month later I would go by to restock the case and lo and behold – the box was still full! (And no, Getting, it wasn't a miracle! The employees just forgot about me and the spotter as soon as I walked out the door!)

It wasn't that the store’s staff didn’t like me or were against the free spotter concept. But inertia and old habits are tough to break. And even if you give the store the spotter for free and then let them sell the spotter, how much effort will people put into making 5 or 6 bucks?

Of course, nothing ventured, nothing gained so I say go for it! Keep me posted on what you do, Getting, and I’ll spread the word here on “Ask Steve” if you come up with a breakthrough idea!

P.S. Don't misunderstand my negative opinion above to be against the personalized spotter concept. A personalized spotter bottle with free lifetime replacement policy was the single best marketing idea I ever had - bar none!

Use what company you will to produce your personalized spotter bottles, Getting. But do it! Here are some other ideas on how to get your free lifetime replacement spotters into the hands of your clients and prospective customers.

1. Obviously, as a positive moment of truth, thanking your customers at the conclusion of the job. Remember that 58% of your clients don’t call you back a second time simply because they can’t remember your company name! (Or even who they used last time!) But if every time they remove a spot or spill using your carpet spotter with your contact info on it… well, you get the idea!

2. Give a spotter bottle to the homeowner during your pre- inspection of the carpets, but do it before they accept your proposal. (And with no strings attached.) This is using what I call the “Law of Reciprocal Giving” and it works great! You see, when you give something without asking for anything in return, it puts your prospect under a “subtle obligation” to do business with you.

3. Call your old customer mailing lists that have not used your services for a year or more to see if they need a new free replacement bottle. Many will say, "Sure and while you are at it go ahead and clean the carpets too!"

4. Hand your personalized carpet spotter bottles out at trade shows.

NOTE: Write me at and I’ll e-mail you a copy - no charge - of my report on "The Big Money in Home and Trade Shows!"

5. Go door-to-door in wealthy residential areas you want to dominate and use your customized spotter bottles as a free gift to break the ice. I call this trick “using a hook.” (Here is a door-to-door script)

6. See if retail stores such as beauty shops will let you put a professional display out. Whoops, that was your idea, Getting! But a sharp professional display is my idea. Just don't depend on the store's employees taking the initiative to distribute your bottles. Your display will need to motivate customers on its own!

Steve and ICS want to consult for you! For a personal reply write Steve HERE with your questions, problems, struggles and challenges! Your help is on the way! A new “Ask Steve” will premiere in the ICS eNewsletter every Thursday. Register to receive it by clicking here

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