- Size – The size of a sample case is like the length of the copy to advertise a product. The sample case, like the advertisement, must do a definite selling job. If a number of samples must be used — and if those samples are interesting — the sample case must be large. But if the salesman has to carry a big case he may be tempted to forget it. Don’t blame him for that. Big sample cases must be so good that the salesman is enthusiastic about them. Then he will use them in spite of their size.
There is also the dealer to consider. A big sample case may make him feel that he will get hung up for a lot of time if the salesman once opens it. That is why a big sample case must enlist the salesman’s enthusiastic co- operation. What about the very small sample case? In extreme cases it may weigh only a few ounces and be carried in the side coat pocket. No bother at all. The salesman starts talking. Out comes the coat pocket sample case, opened in no time at all. Samples shown before the dealer has a chance to object. Theoretically this is the ideal sample case, but its creation is not always easy. It is a good goal to Aim at, although I know of one instance where the salesman reported that the sample case was so small and incomplete that dealers were not interested in it. Like an over brief, fragmentary piece of advertising copy, it failed either to interest or to convince. There are two more points about size: The sample case should fit easily under a Pullman berth. This points to a flattish case rather than to a square one. A flat case is also easier To carry. The arm hangs straight and naturally. A big, square case makes the arm go out at an unnatural angle. 2 . Order- In most sample stories the exhibits must be shown in a certain sequence, so it often pays to number them. This helps both buyer and seller; and when putting the samples back in the case in the right order. Samples of dissimilar size may appear to be less orderly, but they add interest through variety. One sales manager says that dissimilar sizes help orderliness. How? The compartments for the different samples are naturally different in size; only the right compartment will accommodate each sample; and the case cannot be packed in the wrong way. 3.Cleanliness – Plush catches dust; as do other rough surfaces also. Avoid too many corners or other dust catching features. The whole case should be easy to clean — perhaps with a damp cloth. Machine shop operatives or others who examine the samples may have dirty hands which smudge the paper labels on bottles. Shellac such surfaces. Then they can be cleaned easily. It should be possible to lift out with ease parts and exhibits for cleaning. Finally, don’t trust the salesman too much. Examine the sample case after every trip or two. (That shows the salesman that you think the case is important — but that’s a secondary point.) At examination time, clean the case, check for order, replace any broken or otherwise defective samples. 4. Quick Action – The ideal sample case is opened quickly. Opening one latch is quicker than opening two latches and unlocking a lock. The first, quick view the dealer gets should be interesting. Salesman should be able to take out the desired samples quickly. The first lot exhibited should summarize the story quickly and whet the dealer’s appetite for more. 5. The showman’s touch – It is good to have an arouser of curiosity. A watch salesman carried three antique watches; the dealer was interested in spite of himself. Color may play an important part. Brightly colour samples will catch the eye quicker than drab ones. Shiny metal surfaces are better than dull ones. That may be why so many automobile manufacturers show nickel- plated chassis at show time. 6. Sequence of displays – Arrange to show important displays first in order to get interest. Then show the less interesting ones: and then more of the interesting ones for a strong climax. 7. Following up the sample talk – Some sample cases also carry booklets which go over the same ground that was covered by the salesman. When the salesman finishes his talk he hands out a booklet which the dealer may read later to refresh his memory and “resell” himself on the goods. How shall we get our salesman to use the sample case? (1) Invite the salesmen to collaborate in making it. Have it meet their actual needs. Invite them to criticise and perfect the case as it approaches what seems to be its ultimate form. (2) Advertise the sample case. Let dealers know, through business paper advertisements or direct, personal letter, that the salesman now has a real sample story along lines that will interest him. Or send post cards to dealers telling them to ask the sales- man some question which can be answered best by opening the case. (3) Make salesman report on what use he has made of the sample case. Perhaps he may be asked to tell in each report call whether he showed the sample case and what effect it had. (4) Change samples from time to time. After a few rounds with the sample case, it may become a bore both salesman and dealer. Periodical changes should be provided to keep interest alive. One company has three different kinds of sample cases. These are rotated among different groups of salesmen. During the year each salesman has three different sample cases to exhibit. (5) Be sure to circulate among the salesmen any instances of particularly effective use made of the sample case by their fellows. (6) First and last make the sample case obviously useful. It ought to be a self-seller as far as the salesman is concerned. The man who gets it up should himself go out on the road and test it against several types of dealers. He ought to know from field experience that it will work before he orders one of the cases for every salesman.
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