We all know about product endorsements from influential people. We pay attention when athletes, professionals, celebrities and experts recommend a specific product. But you don’t have to be a famous celebrity to endorse a brand. That’s where Pro Deals come in — it’s a chance for you, as an expert in your particular area, to help others find the products and services that people need while enjoying a discount on products and equipment you love.
There are several different ways for you to find and participate in Pro Deals for the areas that make sense for you – some of them easier than others. Below is a quick list to get you started:
How to Qualify for Pro Deals
- Brand-Direct Pro Programs
- Join ExpertVoice
- Employee and Corporate Discount Programs
- Military Discount Programs
- First Responder Discounts
- Media Discount Programs
- Government Employee Discount Programs
Brands like to partner with influential experts, so their products gain recognition and exposure from a knowledgeable person. Everyday experts and influencers can also find opportunities to partner with top brands and offer advice about important equipment and gear used in their industry. Instead of hearing from a paid influencer, consumers want product and equipment recommendations from the people who actually use them. Experts are the most qualified sources of authentic reviews that the consumer can trust.
Keep reading for more information about how you can get pro deals on the top products and gear you enjoy.
Brand-Direct Pro Programs
Many individual brands offer incentive programs for influencers, including special pro pricing discounts. If you’re especially brand-loyal in a particular area, this is a great way to earn some discounts. You’ll see these kinds of programs a lot when it comes to outdoor gear and equipment—think hunting, fishing, being a professional climber, etc. Patagonia, for example, is known for its Patagonia Pro Discount program. The great thing about these kinds of programs is that they reward you for buying products that you’d likely buy, anyway.
In particular, outdoor brands often sell gear to professionals at a price that’s 40 to 60 percent lower than MSRP. Often these experts are involved in the military, government agencies, outdoor guides, emergency response work, law enforcement or even the media. Once these “influencers” wear or use the gear they’ve purchased at a discount, it’s easy for them to share information about these products to others. For example, if you want to become a hunting guide, you might turn to an influencer in the hunting industry for guidance and advice on what kind of equipment you’ll need for the job.
If you think you might be eligible for a brand’s pro deal program, you can find information about how to apply on the company’s website. The brands will outline the pro deal application process and specify the terms of their discounts. If you’re a major consumer of a particular brand’s products, joining can save you a great deal of money. Some of the best-known brand-supported programs include those from popular outdoor companies like Patagonia, REI, Columbia and Yeti.
One drawback to brand-direct programs is the time and effort it takes to set up these partnerships. You have to visit each brand’s website and apply one at a time. If you want to partner with several brands, plan on taking the time to fill out several applications and be sure to carefully read the terms for each pro deal program. For example, a professional fitness instructor would need to partner with many individual companies to get pro pricing on gear, supplements, clothing and other necessary fitness equipment. This can take a lot of time and make it very difficult to maximize personal trainer discounts that may be available to certified instructors.
Join ExpertVoice Professional Pricing Program
ExpertVoice specializes in connecting experts and professionals with top brands. These companies offer ExpertVoice members a chance to use and talk about new and popular products. Experts and professionals have the opportunity to try new products and get fabulous discounts while sharing their industry expertise and expert opinion with others in their industry.
ExpertVoice offers a large program for a variety of industries. All are welcome to apply—guides, instructors, coaches, managers, referees, technicians, police officers, EMTs, firefighters, medical personnel, members of the military, security guards, educators and more. Basically, anyone who has a qualifying area of expertise can become an expert influencer.
The advantages of joining ExpertVoice are huge — by joining the platform, you’re able to connect with hundreds, potentially thousands, of brands all in one spot. You won’t have to contact individual brands or settle for only one kind of discount as once you join ExpertVoice you can gain access to many top-tier brands through the ExpertVoice platform. It’s an enormous opportunity for savings and you only have to apply once and then re-affiliate annually.
You’ll get to meet other experts who share your passion and share expert recommendations on the topics you love to talk about, whether related to your professional field or your favorite hobby. And it’s so easy to simply go through one sign-up, application and approval process for everything—and then you’re done.
See if you qualify and sign up here.
Employee/Corporate Discount Programs
Many brands and companies offer discount programs to their employees. This is especially common for those who work in the outdoor industry, but discounts are available for almost every profession. For example, a Nikon employee can get a discount when purchasing a Nikon camera or equipment.
The philosophy is the same—employees are trained to be brand experts. By using the company’s products, they can help raise awareness of a brand’s products, sharing information and guiding others on the best gear to buy. This also works well if employees wear or use their products on the sales floor where they can demonstrate a product to a potential customer. Buyers see the product in action from a trusted source and are more likely to consider purchasing that brand when they make their final decision.
Some schools of thought suggest that there’s no better influencer than a company’s employees. The better a brand can market to its employees, the more likely these powerful influencers will be spreading the word to customers and potential customers. After all, most customers know that the salesperson has expert knowledge of the products and believe they’re a trusted source for product advice. Particularly for retailers, many experts advise that store employees should be treated as a brand’s most important customers – because they have influence over full-paying customer decisions at the point of purchase.
Employee discounts are a nice perk and can save you a good deal of money, but you won’t be able to get discounts on related gear and equipment from other brands or for items your employer doesn’t carry.
Military Discount Programs
If you’re in the military, you are eligible for many discounts and pro deal programs. Thousands of retailers across the country offer regular product discounts to active members of the U.S. military and veterans — and sometimes military family members, too.
Military discounts are a great way to show support for the troops. However, it can take some effort to find out which businesses offer military discounts. You’ll likely have to spend a great deal of time researching individual stores to find out if they offer a military discount. Some military discount websites like ExpertVoice, GovX and Govdeals help match members of the military with pro deals. While Govdeals is primarily focused on opportunities to exchange surplus items, ExpertVoice connects both current and former military members with brands for pro deals.
First Responder Discount Programs
First responders need gear and equipment that’s durable and reliable during emergency situations. Several companies offer discounts for first responders on everything from outerwear to vehicles at reduced prices. These programs can be a little different from typical offers for industry professionals — many of them are motivated by the idea that because first responders regularly risk their lives for the good of the public, a rewards or discount program is a nice way for a company to show gratitude for their public service.
Many firefighters, law enforcement officers and people interested in EMT jobs often turn to influential first responders for advice on the best-performing professional products. Just like members of the military, first responders like police officers, firefighters and EMTs can qualify for pro deals from a variety of brands and businesses. Be prepared to do some homework to find out which companies offer first responder discounts and how each individual purchase program works.
Government Employee Discount Programs
Many discount programs are available to government employees. These programs are typically easy to join, especially if you have a .gov email address, which makes verifying your government employee status a snap. Cell phone carriers are well known for their government employee discount programs, and government employees can also typically enjoy discounts on everything from hotels and theme parks to electronics and even new cars. As previously mentioned, those with law enforcement or firefighter jobs are often eligible for additional discount programs.
Media Discount Programs
Who better to promote a brand’s products than people who communicate for a living? Members of the media who cover particular topics, such as the outdoor industry, the military, or law enforcement professions are often eligible for pro deals through various brands. Reporters, editors, producers and writers who work for various trade publications or even those who are certified members of industry organizations are often eligible. Examples of industry organizations may include groups like the Adventure Travel Trade Association, the National Ski Patrol, the Association for Experiential Education and many other associations and trade groups.
Guidelines for Pro Deals
As you reach out to brands and business for pro deals, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind. Common guidelines often include the following terms:
- Your pro deals are just that: yours. No sharing with friends or family.
- It’s frowned upon to resell pro deals items on Craigslist or eBay, and this behavior will often times cause you to become disqualified. Remember—the intent is for YOU to use those items and then share your experiences.
- You may be limited to a certain number of items/purchases within a specific time frame.
- Sometimes, shipping is restricted to a single location/address.
Make sure you’re aware of each pro deals program’s guidelines and expectations before you join – and that you’re willing to abide by them. Most brands and companies take the abuse of pro deals seriously. Operating outside the guidelines of your pro purchase program can also seriously damage your credibility as an influencer.
Hallmarks of a Strong Pro Deal Program
Keep in mind that a pro deal program is about more than purchasing and reviewing a product. It also lets you see how a company or brand handles customer service. Things like returns, answering questions, technical support, etc. Here is a quick list of indicators that you’re part of a top-notch program:
- Knowledgeable people running the program – For many companies, influencer relations is an underdeveloped part of their business strategy. When you find a pro deals program run by knowledgeable people who want to work with you and value your time and expertise, you know that’s a winning program. A knowledgeable team can also help you understand what makes a good recommendation from an influencer.
- Plenty of product information – You need sufficient information before you can decide whether to move forward with trying a product. It’s important for every pro discount program to offer training and incentives for a brand’s existing products and new releases. This gives you the tools and knowledge that you need to make helpful and accurate recommendations.
- Strong return/exchange policy – A hassle-free return policy is a key tenet of good customer service. Your overall customer experience will help prepare you to speak knowledgeably about the brand in addition to individual products the brand sells.
- Easy application/review process – Qualifications for a pro deals program should be simple to understand and must be communicated effectively with interested applicants. You should have a pretty good idea if you meet the qualifications before you apply. And don’t forget — this is the great advantage of programs like ExpertVoice, where you go through one simple process to connect with hundreds of brands.
- Good communication – Remember, advocacy/influencer marketing is important, yet often under-utilized part of a brand’s business strategy. A strong pro deals program will stay in regular communication with you, advising you of new products, gauging your experience and continually cultivating a strong relationship with its influencer community. Strong communication can also help you steer clear of product inaccuracies and social media mistakes.
How to Find Discounts and Pro Deals
Expert advocacy programs that offer pro deals can be powerful and effective marketing tools for any industry, company or brand. These businesses can offer you an opportunity to save money while sharing your expertise with a wide group of fellow enthusiasts. Your opinion and expertise matter as you help others make purchase decisions. As an added bonus you can shop like it’s Black Friday all-year long.
If you have particular expertise in an industry or recreational hobby, signing up for pro deals can be a fun way to connect with others in your community and communicate about the gear and products that are meaningful to you. Want to know a bit more about how ExpertVoice matches up against some other pro deal platforms? Check out this post.
Join ExpertVoice today and connect with top brands that are looking for your expertise in order to help consumers purchase items more confidently.