The current economic atmosphere has made the majority of Americans cling tight to their wallets like never before. People are less willing to spend money on the little things that are not vital to their existence. Everyone is looking for a bargain, and becoming and remaining a successful business owner is becoming more and more difficult.

At least that is how a lot of business owners think A few business owners are thriving and prospering in the current climate, and what likely sets them apart from their counterparts who are failing is the courage to remember how they gained their success in the first place.

Marketing is key to most businesses, and if you are one of the fortunate few who does not require a marketing plan, please stop reading this now. For those of you that are seeking out new business, take heed of the psychology that determines whether or not a customer decides to do business with you instead of your competition.

This author has a deep and abiding love of guerrilla marketing. The act of physically seeking out business through telephone calls, promotional events, print advertising, and relentless footwork. These techniques have been proven time and time again to be highly effective, especially for those companies with the tenacity to do so on a regular basis.

There is a reason that big chain stores send out brochures and catalogs to their customers…they work! Take a visit to your local Wal Mart, and you will see dozens of customers doing their shopping based on what they found in an advertisement prior to paying a visit.

There is an old adage that says that you need to spend money in order to make money, and there is a tremendous amount of truth in it. It is vital that you present a prospective customer with something that makes a great first impression, and nothing makes a strong statement like a well designed, professional business card, flyer, or brochure to go along with your winning smile.

The following is a list of seven psychological reasons quality promotional products are a vital part of your business:

1. When someone is in the market for a product or service, they typically will seek out people who are good at what they do. Consequently, they believe that someone who is good at their profession is successful. They expect everything about a business to be perfect. Nothing shatters that mental perception more quickly than a poorly designed brochure or business card that was printed on your personal computer.

People assume (and they are generally correct in their assumption) that successful people are successful because they are able to focus on small details. Your mystique and uniqueness can be quickly undermined by a perforated edge or a logo that looks like it was designed by a third grader. If you expect success, you must demonstrate success. Today’s consumer demands excellence, not only in the quality of your work, but in your methods of procuring business.

2. The nightly news is rife with stories about unsuspecting consumers being taken advantage of by companies that promised one thing and then did another. For this reason, consumers are highly cautious. A business card printed on Avery business card paper and run through a home laser printer is something that literally anyone can do with relative ease. Professional promotional products make customers feel more comfortable doing business with you. The last time someone handed you a business card with a perforated edge, how long did it take before it was in the trash?

3. Put yourself in a hypothetical customer’s shoes for a moment. How comfortable are you going to feel writing a sizable check to a company that does not care enough about their business to produce a decent printed explanation of what they offer? How much research are you going to have to do before you decide to do business with a company that hands you a black and white business card with a list of your services? The world revolves around the consumer, and they expect immediate gratification for their desires. How likely is a consumer to do business with you instead of a competitor if they do not immediately trust you? Furthermore, how much steeper is that proverbial hill to climb if you are not able to offer a good looking printed product that reflects your dedication to your trade?

4. Size matters. Despite what every girlfriend you had in high school told you, size is very important to a potential customer. Nothing implies size and success like a professionally designed promotional product. If you hand someone a business card that took next to no effort to create, consumers instantaneously view you as suspect, demonstrating a lack of professionalism, and a tiny one man operation whose future is in question. To the contrary, a glossy business card with a substantial thickness elicits a sense of trust. It sounds a bit on the silly side, but most professionally designed business cards have the approximate thickness of a greeting card. Professional products feel like a gift to a customer and help you build rapport and trust.

5. Customers need to see things in writing. Bids and proposals simply do not look nice when they are printed on plain white paper. Professional letterhead makes a proper statement, and is a demonstration of the professionalism of your business.

6. Name recognition is subconscious. If you are able to remember the first time you ever heard of Nike, it would be a surprise. However, with no effort whatsoever, you can probably name ten products that they produce. This is because the big companies of the world have done a fantastic job of producing a brand through advertising cleverly and using a myriad of promotional products to burn their company into your memory forever. You can, on a much smaller scale, and for far less money, do something similar for your business in your own community.