A Great Leave Behind Gift

Posted by | October 26, 2009 | Marketing Advice | 3 Comments

Paint contractors try so hard sometimes to come up with a unique “leave behind gift” which will hopefully cause their potential clients to remember them. Typically they end of with a widget that has a company logo on it and looks cheap: a pen, a calendar, a mug, and a magnet to name a few of the most common items. I’ve even seen some more creative ideas like an engraved company logo on a very expensive, name-brand knife. While this may not be a complete waste of money and can have some good branding features, it probably will not cause the leave behind products to stick in the minds of your prospects. You want to give them something that will cause them to remember you more than anyone else!

What can you give them to do just that? Some painters are providing free popcorn at community events with their branded logo on the popcorn bags. If they continue to show up to these events and hand out free popcorn on a regular basis, people will remember them as the paint company that hands out free, good-tasting popcorn in their community. It is unique! They don’t charge for it. It is something a prospect can not only use right then and there but will actually enjoy the taste. My guess is there will be a few that will come back for seconds.

While I was working at Chism Brothers Painting, we created our own blend of coffee which we called, “Chism Blend.” It was roasted for us by a local, San Diego-based roaster. They did not care if we ordered 1 lb or 50 lbs. We then created an attactive full-colored label, purchased 1/2 lb bags of coffee and created our unique “leave-behind gift.” When I showed up to a prospects home for an estimate, I’d begin my conversation/sales process, then sometime in the meeting, I’d hand them a bag of Chism Blend. The bag would have the roasted date, typically the same week we hand them out. I then told people, “If you like our special coffee, you’ll love our painting service even more!” I created a coffee blend, for my gift to prospects because I had a creative analogy to share with each one of them about the similarities of fine coffee and exceptional painting. It at least made people to smile! Did the idea work? I once sold a large repainting project (over $50,000) using my coffee gift. I showed up for the first estimate with a 1/2 lb bag. It was a great conversational starter. I then found out who was bidding the job (my main competitor vs. me) and so I showed up again a couple days later with another 1/2 lb. The client was so excited to receive the coffee and thanked me over an over again. He told me, “I was hoping I could have gotten another bag! I loved it.” How much did it cost me? An hour of my time and less than $6 worth of coffee. The client and I built a relationship because I connected with him using coffee. The coffee gift is something they can use, not once but a number of times throughout a two-week period…with my logo on the front of the bag every time they open it!

So pick something fun and completely different and run with it. Be known for that leave behind gift in your area! It will work!

If you need help brainstorming your unique leave-behind gift, I’d love to help!

About David Chism

David Chism started his business out of a passion for helping small contracting businesses grow, be more profitable and become better known to their target clients. One lifelong hobby of David is using techie gadgets. So this blog is a place where he writes about technology, marketing ideas, just for fun (humor), personal thoughts on small business and more.


  • Julie G says:

    Cool David! I remember the ocntractor in Florida that made his own wine as a hobby he and his wife enjoyed. Then they had a proprietary label of his painting company on it and the customers loved it – called him to ask if they could buy it from him. Which they could not because he couldn’t “sell” the wine so he would tell them, “Let me paint another room and I’ll bring you a bottle!” I love that. Julie

  • Amilia says:

    That was an encouraging read! 🙂 I am now faced with the task of thinking up a unique leave behind item idea… I’m an artist, and going into an entrepreneurial business myself. I mainly draw and want that to be the focus of item. Any thoughts and suggestions would be appreciated! I have a few in mind, but would like another opinion… Thank you!

  • We have a pressure washing company and are looking for a unique leave behind. We service roughly 20+ clients each week. The coffee idea I love but if we don’t have a roaster do you have any unique ideas? Our before and afters are incredible and we have hundreds of testimonies on line. We want a leave behind that would wow them. But at the same time is $5+

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