The Promo Pro: Matt Gledhill, VP of Sales & Marketing, Walker Advertising Inc. (asi/354440)
Client: An aircraft manufacturer
Job: Provide one million face masks
Order Value: $290,000
Don’t Be Afraid to Pivot
As sales of traditional promotional products were wiped out across the industry this spring, Matt Gledhill orchestrated the largest single deal of his 15-year promo career.
With COVID-19 sweeping across the U.S., ushering in mass societal lockdowns and prompting rampant demand for personal protective equipment (PPE), Gledhill and the San Antonio, TX-based distributorship for which he works, Walker Advertising, swiftly switched their focus to providing end-buyers across markets with safe, quality PPE-related products like face masks. “Our nimble pivot put me in position to win this massive order,” says Gledhill.
Network Like You Mean It
The requirement from the aircraft manufacturer was truly huge – one million face masks to help protect its employees from COVID while on the job. Gledhill was in the running for the order thanks to his savvy networking; despite the sales challenges presented by the coronavirus, Gledhill never capitulated. He kept prospecting and working his network. The strategic tenacity earned him a referral (from a friend of a friend who works for the manufacturer) to the manufacturer’s purchasing agent. “After we made contact, the agent expressed an instant need for masks,” Gledhill explains. “I made it my immediate priority to make everything fall into place.”
To close the deal and keep the agent from moving on to a competitor, Gledhill had to strike the right balance between providing cost-effective pricing and a high-quality product. To pull off that juggling act with aplomb, he required a partner he could trust.
“Shady factories were the biggest challenge we faced on this order,” Gledhill details. “We decided not to go with the lowest cost option in favor of using a trusted and vetted supplier – Promo Imports LLC. I’m on a first-name basis with owner Alan Horovitz and we have a genuine desire to see each other succeed. For a deal this big, you really need a supplier you can rely on.”
Deliver on Quality & Pricing
Even though Gledhill didn’t go with bottom-dollar masks, he was still able to offer great pricing, and the 3-ply masks were of excellent quality – something that did not go unnoticed. “The client was happy with the product,” says Gledhill, noting the masks weren’t branded. “They really liked the construction and the fit of the mask over other options.”
To date, Gledhill hasn’t delivered another sizable PPE order for the aircraft manufacturer, but that’s OK by him. “In a way, I hope I don’t get another mask order from them,” he says, “as that could mean that the virus is on its way to becoming a part of our history rather than a part of our lives.”