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Fifth in a series

In this series, distributor owner and sales coach Josh Frey answers frequently asked questions on a wide range of sales topics.


My background is in corporate gifts, and let’s just say I know a few things when it comes to selling holiday gifts. Back in the day, 60 percent of our business was dependent on Q4 sales and the overwhelming majority of the orders we sold and processed were holiday gifts.

For some of us, holiday gift-selling is an “icing on the cake” sale if you have a stable client base ordering year around. For others, this is a huge part of your overall sales and take-home commissions. Regardless of where you and your promo business fit in, there are several things you can do to end your 2021 strong with a bump in profitable sales.

Whether your clients’ offices are open, or their employees (and their clients) are working from home, now more than ever companies are trying to find ways to connect with their employees and clients. You can be that bridge, and there are a lot of products and services to offer. 

Want to know how to get started? Don’t sweat it. I have got you covered with some sales strategies you can deploy to proactively and successfully sell and deliver on holiday gift orders in Q4.

Here are my top five ways to crush holiday sales:


Ideally, choose suppliers that offer a wide selection of gift categories (food/wine, brand name, personalization) and have deep levels of inventory and production capacity to process your orders on time.


If a client asks for a specific product that is outside the offering you have built from these suppliers, redirect them to something you know is available. Be transparent with your buyers, let them know why you are recommending these products as alternatives and encourage quick decisions in return for guaranteed stock and delivery.


Many distributors start the holiday gift conversations with clients in September (or over the summer) but if you’ve waited, you may still be able to deliver. However, with supply chain shortages and production backups, the earlier you can get your clients’ orders placed, the more confidently you can assure them of on-time delivery and avoid stock/back order issues. Leverage the current supply chain challenges to get your clients to order earlier than ever before. It may not seem like it, but it’s an opportunity to close more deals, faster.


Now more than ever, clients want products that are unique, personalized and shipped directly to their employees’ or clients’ homes. There are numerous suppliers that offer custom kitting services for clients who request a compilation of products. Ask your outside sales rep at your preferred suppliers to see what services they offer and relay these opportunities to your clients. 


To make money in this business, you have to sell volume profitably. In my experience, I make this happen by spending the majority of my time on revenue-generating activities. Are you wasting your time calling factories and sitting on hold to find out if there’s stock or to learn the status of your orders? Most of the big suppliers have real-time inventory and order status updates at the click of a button. They have built out fantastic tools to keep you informed so you can sell more volume, efficiently. Take advantage of these resources that are available to you and free yourself up so you can focus on sales.

With these tips you will be well equipped to now go out and crush your holiday and Q4 sales. Good luck!  


Josh Frey is founder of Falls Church, Virginia-based distributor On Sale Promos and the Swag Coach Program. He is a 25-year industry veteran and front-line sales coach. Visit to register for his next Distributors Helping Distributors show and learn more about his promo coaching programs offered.