T-shirts are perfect for sampling. But there’s an effective way and a less-than-effective way to sample.

The purpose in sampling is to show off the product with the intention of provoking a sale. And the more the act of sampling and the nature and quality of the product excites and intrigues the recipient, the more likely it is to provoke a sale.

First, the less-than-effective way to sample . . .   If you’re going to drop off a sample garment with no explanation and no follow up, don’t hold your breath waiting for results—they’re not coming.

So here, based on my own experience and that of others with whom I’ve discussed sampling, is what I’d suggest . . .  be selective about whom you’re going to sample, that is, qualify them. Then take a page out of Apple’s book and package the sample spectacularly in a way that demonstrates your caring and creativity. The garment(s) should speak to your creative design talents and superb printing quality. I think you know what I mean—wow the recipient.

Just by handing over a sample packaged more like a special gift than a run-of-the-mill commercial sample, will charm the recipient and give you a much better chance of creating a favourable impression. A card with a short, appropriate note explaining that this is a sample of what you can do, will add to the effectiveness of the presentation. Finally, you must follow up to ask if the recipient has any questions and also to keep the contact going.

Sampling with care and charm is an inexpensive yet effective way of making and consolidating contacts, creating a good impression, and generating good vibes. And, as we all know, people prefer to do business with people they like .