Awards & Engraving

March '19

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PEOPLE BUY FROM PEOPLE by Stephen L. Capper, CRM 18 • A&E MARCH 2019 Stephen Capper, along with his wife, Nora, and their daughters, Jami and Toni, owns and oper- ates A-1 Awards, Inc. in India- napolis. He has been associated with the awards and recognition industry since 1958, and has given numerous seminars since 1979. Of course, the vast majority of the promotional products people didn't have a storefront and most sold from their house or out of their trunk. They produced many of the big orders in recognition, maybe because it was difficult to compete with those who have less overhead. However, I believe it was because the salespeople made personal contacts. THE EFFECTS OF A CHANGING WORLD Do you need a storefront in order to make it work? This question has many different answers according to who you ask. When I started in business, I thought it was impera- tive to have a store. But I found out that two factors guided my business. First, I was young and lacked the experience to know that people went where others sent them, or they chose to go to the nearest store. Location made all the difference as well as reputation. This has changed a little, and with the internet, prospects and clients don't even have to leave their easy chair to place an order or visit several stores all over the country. The website (store) comes to them… it is easy to buy. Reviews often dictate where people shop. It is important to realize that marketing and sales has changed and will certainly continue to change. Tips: • It is difficult to compete with a com- pany who gives the best service. Ser- vice to the client always wins over a bidding war among the incompetent who sell on price alone. The value of the sale is always more important than the price, and service is the greatest of all values. • Don't think that the answer is as simple as just having a website. This doesn't mean that you are going to get all the business you need even with a good website. You must have a way of directing the prospects/clients to your website. Marketing and selling have changed, and the experienced sales- person of yesterday suddenly doesn't have all the answers. In order to be competitive, you must stay ahead of the curve and anticipate the needs of tomorrow. What are the differences in funding for working from home versus a storefront? Working from your home won't likely affect your cost of doing business if you are smart and think about the future. Let me explain. If you work as a discounter because your overhead is less when you operate from home, when you get a store, your clientele will be accustomed to lower pricing. And when your overhead increases, you will likely need to adjust your pricing. Don't sell on price — sell on the value of your service and creativity. Your clients want you to be successful. They want to be close to those who succeed. I n this segment, we continue looking at ways the one- or two-person operation can grow. Just how important is the storefront to the overall good health of your business? In the '60s, '70s, '80s, and '90s, you were looked down upon if you didn't have a storefront. Many of the major suppliers said they wouldn't talk to you or sell to you if you didn't have one. Tips for the One- or Two- Person Shop: Part 3 Opening a storefront

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