8 Tips For A Successful Sampling

So many times we see companies overwhelmed and trying to manage so much of the administration duties than they sometimes lose sight of some basic best practices that make for a successful demo. We want to help you succeed!!

Determining your budget, the best chain(s) to reach your target consumer, when to schedule (seasonally, leveraging promos, introducing new products, etc.) and the most appropriate of your products to serve should be first your very first objective — but this list is for after you’ve planned all of this and we’re going to save this discussion for another post.

We understand the goals of promoting your product through a demo is to drive its success through a great consumer experience for a successful sampling. So here are our tips to help:

1. Staff Wisely

Your brand educators should be both knowledge and enthusiastic. Other factors of a good employee also play a giant role in management, and leaving a great impression on customers as well as the store; including; promptness, completed reports, shelf merchandising and overall knowledge of specialty products. The BEST ambassadors have all these qualities and are excited to share and educate your exemplary product – we always the complete package.

2. Come Prepared

To properly support a demo and educate guests, your rep needs to have all the right tools and materials. Ensure your demo specialists are equipped with printed materials that explain your product and visuals on the table.

Understanding and communicating the needs for the environment is imperative; whether your product needs equipment to heat it up, keep it cold or serving utensils – your reps need to have the right tools for the job! Many times your demo service (HGR!) can provide these necessary tools for you, sometimes the store will have them and other times you’ll need to send them. (We always discuss this process with our clients to ensure these needs are met).

When sampling, your guests love to check out visuals at the table while tasting/trying your product. These materials will not only help attract them to your table but they’ll also further engage them to talk about / ask questions about your product. We recommend posters, pamphlets, SWAG and any other tabletop printed materials to help support your demos.

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3. Table Location

Sometimes this one is tricky but basically you want to try for two objectives: 1) Near the shelf where your product is being sold and 2) The highest foot traffic area. If you can’t get both, #2 is the most important, but make sure the rep knows exactly where the product is so they can direct your guests to there.

This is a topic that the rep will need to discuss with the Person In Charge at the store when they check in. There are a lot of deciding factors including, grocery department promotions (they may not want you to block certain displays), how many other demo reps are in store and the time of day – Lunchtime is a great time to be near the deli section/lunch area is located (if available). Being mindful and respective is of the utmost importance when trying to negotiating space though – and wherever you’re located a great Home Grown Results rep is experienced in making the most of it.

4. Presentation

The table and the ambassador should always be neat and presentable. The food should be appetizing, the table well kept and display area appealing. A messy table or a rep with wrinkled clothes sends a negative message your consumer — Always ask for photos from each demo to ensure your reps are repping your brand appropriately!

5. Stock Up!

Demo 101 – Make sure you have enough product to support your demo’s sampling product and sales! If you’re brand new to this then it may take some sales research to find out what your current sales are in the particular store/market before calculating your estimate of what will be sold. Merchandising 101 – Use your reps as a best of a resource as they can be for you by having them stock the shelf, check tags are up (and correctly) and even take photos of the shelf and nearby competitors or any other simple merchandising objectives that might help your sales team. This is particularly helpful where you may not have a company resource in the area.

6. There’s No “I” In Team

Your reps should always be a good guest when in a store. It leaves a great impression for your brand. When they need something and the store is busy, then they should ask if they can help. For example, “I noticed the product needs to be stocked – Can I help you stock the shelf?” Also, many times customers think a brand ambassador is a store employee and they may ask where bathroom or other products are located. Instead of stating, “I don’t’ work here”, they should be replying, “I’m not sure as I’m not an employee of (store name here) but lets find someone to assist you.” This is also an opportunity to invite them back for a sample – “Come try (product name here) when you’re finished, I think you’ll enjoy it.”

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7. Coupons

Coupons help drive sales during and post demos. They can also encourage guests that are reaching for a competitor brand and to try yours instead. Reps can use the “bait and switch” tactic, “If you like this product then I think you’re really going to love this one – here’s a coupon so you can give it a try today.” This opens up an important dialogue to discuss the benefits of your product, over said competitor.

8. Reporting

Create demo reports for your rep- or request your demo service to provide with reps to keep track sales, guest feedback, challenges and successes. Understanding these key items will enable you to make important decisions for your next demo program!

Wishing you the most successful sampling demo campaigns — We train all of our reps with these tactics and look forward to hearing from you!

Have any success stories to add?

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