Got a quick question for you.
How do you sell more toilet paper to commercial or industrial businesses?
Think about it for a few minutes. The answer is pretty obvious, but many people miss it.
Now, if you said you should make it pretty, softer or stronger, you’re just a little off base. Not that those things aren’t important. But, there is a better strategy you can use to get those rolls flying off the shelf.
Of course, price is always a factor. Buyers will always look for the best price, particularly for something as mundane as toilet paper. But, remember that a large facility will use massive quantities of product in a year’s time. Besides, there’s not much of a price difference for commercial TP.
And it’s not a luxury; it’s a necessity
Employees eat. Employees need toilet paper.
To sell more toilet paper, give them the dispensers for free. Now, and in the future.
Unless, of course, you expect your customers to hang the rolls on a nail.
And the concept works for more than just toilet paper and other restroom necessities.
It can work for your business too, no matter what you sell.
It is better to give to receive
That’s a different take on an old adage.
But it proves true. And it’s why paper companies give away toilet and towel dispensers. The easier you make it for people to use your product, the more likely they are to buy it.
I’ve worked in a large industrial plant where the warehouse had shelves full of dispensers. All from the same company and all given to the business for free.
And that same paper company has been supplying the paper towels and toilet paper for 30 years. Believe me … they sold enough product to cover the cost of the dispensers and still make a huge profit.
But, aside from the obvious convenience of free dispensers, there’s another factor at play.
Another, even more powerful rule.
Give me something free, I’ll return the favor
Because I have to.
People like to keep an even score sheet. It bothers them to “owe” someone else. So they will find a way to even the score. To pay their alleged “debt.”
In his series of books, Dr. Robert Cialdini calls it the “Rule of Reciprocity.”
And a powerful rule it is!
When you give people a gift, whether of real or perceived value, they feel obligated to return the favor. And if the value is high, their subconscious will work overtime to settle the debt. Almost without thinking, they’ll try to even the score.
And they will even the score.
It’s even been a subplot in many movies. The hero saves someone’s life and now that person feels obligated to follow the hero around.
At least until they can do something significant for the hero and clear their debt.
How do you use this Rule of Reciprocity?
Provide something meaningful … for free.
Give them free, useful content. Well, not entirely free. You do want to get their contact information in the process.
So, you give them something that they perceive as valuable in exchange for that information. And in doing so, you let them off the hook. You gave them something valuable and they gave something valuable back.
But, here’s the kicker.
What you give them for free should be so valuable to them that they can use it … whether they purchase your product or service or not.
If they must purchase your offer to use the gift, the value decreases substantially. Here are some examples from the industrial manufacturing market:
- You manufacture or distribute bearings. Give them a free report on the care and feeding of roller bearings. Explain how they can increase the life of their bearings through proper installation, inspection and lubrication.
- If you’re an electrical parts manufacturer or distributor, give them a tip sheet on how to troubleshoot electrical systems effectively, reducing downtime.
- Sell motors and power distribution equipment? A chart that assists engineers in selecting the proper horsepower motor and gearbox for a project, based on the load and other variables, would be valuable.
All three of these content marketing “gifts” are extremely valuable … with or without your product or service. The prospect doesn’t even need to look at your offering.
Chances are that the right ones will. You’ve given them something free. You gave them a way to even the score by providing contact info.
After they consume it, they’ll feel obligated to return the favor.
They want to even the score one more time. And since they gave their contact information to soothe their troubled soul the first time around, you now have new, qualified leads, willing to hear more.
Wipe your competition with TP marketing
I’m really surprised at how many industrial manufacturers don’t use free, yet gated content.
I recently did a search for bearing companies. Three of the top four companies had no form of lead generation whatsoever. “Contact us” forms aren’t really lead generation. The prospect has to be interested first. And most aren’t there yet on the first visit.
The fourth offered a newsletter and blog, buried deep within the site.
And even that potential lead magnet was pretty much worthless. The newsletter was all about the company, not the prospect.
Bad move … very bad move.
The next time you get ready to market a product, do some hardcore thinking. Obviously, you’ll enumerate the features and benefits of your product.
But while you’re doing that, figure out what kind of content would prove useful to your prospect. Useful with or without them needing to purchase your product.
It’s a part of transforming yourself into someone your prospects can get to know, like and trust. You’ll become a likeable expert, a trusted friend.
And you’ll be the trusted friend others will turn to when the need arises.
Wishing you success!
Article written by Steve Maurer – Steve Maurer Freelance Writing
You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at +1 (479) 304-1086
Mailing address: Steve Maurer 3000 West Anne Street Fayetteville, AR (Arkansas) 72704 United States of America