Sign & Digital Graphics

November '18

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32 • November 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S RUNNING THE BUSINESS custom-made menu boards, table tops, and wall decorations. But that's the point. I also charged design consulting fees. As a designer, customers feel and receive more value, and you tend to get more business besides the typical rushed sign. The relationship shifts more in favor of a win-win for both you and the customer. Expanded Offerings With the word "sign" incorporated into the name of our business, it is hard to miss what we do. It's obvious. Too obvi- ous, in fact. I remember challenging our sales people to sell signs without using the word "sign" while working through their sales projects. Well, it is almost impossible, but the exercise forces you think more about branding and selling brand solutions instead of just a sign. The conversations usually produce additional options or projects to work on. The way we gained more profitable business was by getting more proactive, expanding our lines of services and products, branding those lines, then letting customers know through tar- geted campaigns and with each conversation. By offering more, we got more. Ask Questions One of the best ways to sell is to ask questions. It is also about the only way you can find out more about a person, or a customer. Conversations are the place for strategic questioning and exposing opportunity. Get to know your customers and their needs better by learn- ing to ask the right kinds of questions that lead to more sign projects and more projects outside of signs but in the realm of branding where you can satisfy the need. Don't forget to ask your client the three high priority ques- tions at the end of a project: Are you happy? Will you provide a testimonial? Can you recommend me? Giver's Gain True genuine giving often returns a gain back to the giver. So why not give? By giving you open up the doors to receive. Giving can be as simple as offering advice, recommendations, or information. Suggestions can be easily given and easily received for con- sideration by your customer. I provide suggestions all the time, but not until understanding the needs then waiting for the right timing to give it. I also put some work into it. For instance, instead of just describing a suggestion, I often draw it and show it as artwork in order for the concept to be understood. I also do this because if the idea is not ripe for today, it might in the future, and the artwork provides a visual reminder. I also give comprehensive ideas. I don't just focus on one application. By showing many ideas, the seeds are planted for future harvests. By giving, and being a giver, you show yourself to be the sort of person who does the extra and goes beyond expectation. When it comes to signs, this quality goes a long way with the customer who is shopping around. Communication Keeping in touch with customers often and through vari- ous means of communicating positions you in what we in the marketing world call Top of Mind—the place you want to be when someone wants or needs what you provide. When was the last time you wrote and mailed a letter? Don't worry. Most people would have a hard time remembering. It's not commonplace any longer. But its a great way to effectively communicate. By the way, emails are not letters. The same goes for cards. Sending a card to say thanks, con- grats, or happy birthday shows you care very deeply about the relationship. The recipient knows the effort it took to send the card. One way I used to thank customers now and then was to send a gift certificate in a card to be used at a special place that they could enjoy anytime they wanted. Our customers receive a weekly blog, a monthly email, and a quarterly newsletter where we not only showcase our work, but we also feature them and their business. These sorts of communications are great venues to educate your customers and become the expert for building impressions with signs, and more. SDG

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