October '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 1 9 O C T O B E R P R I N T W E A R 6 5 Stitch Solutions EMBROIDERY create an overall impression around a cen- tral look, color, or style. Once you mas- ter this concept, you can then help your customers do exactly the same thing, for themselves and for their staff! It is a par- ticularly effective strategy for sales people, making them memorable. You can almost hear your customer saying, "You know, that guy that always wears the red shirt – contact him to order the new stuff." BE THEIR EXPERT Your clients are not experts in apparel. They are experts in their business. Very often, they do not have the time, informa- tion, or ability to wade through the end- less options of apparel and soft goods that can be embroidered or logoed. They have a need to fill. Very often, they will follow whatever recommendations you make to meet their needs. To make the best recom- mendations, you must truly understand their specific need and know your prod- ucts. If they need shirts for factory workers to wear on the job, would you recommend a high-end dress shirt? Hopefully not! Ask the right questions to gather the following information so that you can make the best recommendations: • Who is it for? Men, women, adults, youth, families, plus size, employees, customers, family members, or spon- sored event? • Where will it be worn? Front office, on the road, in a factory, unknown, business casual settings, executive retreat, company outing to an amuse- ment park, or at trade shows? • How often will it be worn? One time use, daily uniform, as needed? • How long is it expected to last? All year, one time, for several years, or maybe a few months? By getting enough and the right information, you can then make recommendations for products that will meet their specific needs. In the process you will (again) demonstrate how valuable you can be as part of their marketing team. Prove to them that you can and will make purchasing logoed apparel a straight-forward and effective process. BE EVERYWHERE The third most important step to earning a mental spot on your clients' marketing team is to become a recognizable brand yourself. Like it or not, social media is here to stay. Social media offers the reach and power to create your brand as the expert your customers want to use, so use it! There are excellent marketing tools that allow you to put your face, your logo, your brand, and your business in front of your existing customers and your targeted customers on nearly a daily basis. More importantly, these tools provide an easy, fast way for clients to find and connect with you. It is well worth a half hour every few days at the bare minimum. If the idea of social media is overwhelming to you, here are some simple ways to get you started while building your own star power: • Post vocabulary and terminology—Show a photo of a piqué golf shirt, and then post the description of what a pique fabric is, and then include examples of why this shirt is an excellent choice for the company golf outing, casual days at the office and for salesmen that are traveling to trade shows, for example • Post new products—Again, include a photo, and add a description of the item and some recommendations on when this would be the perfect product • Post photos of finished orders and testimonials from customers • Run a contest (which is easy to do on Facebook) where customers send in photos of their logoed apparel being worn. Pick one every month to win a coupon or free hat. BE CONSISTENT If you want people to remember who you are and how you can serve them, make it easy for them. Develop your brand and then stick to it. Use one color scheme, one logo, one look, and one overall message for your marketing. It can be something as simple as "We make you look good." The goal is to be so consistent so when someone sees your logo, company name, or social media post they immediately think of looking good. Their next thought just might be, "I need to get in touch with them." I have seen even the best salesmen lose orders more often than you would imagine simply because they did not keep in touch with their customers nor remind their customers that they were available. PW Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a profes- sional organization for apparel decoration business owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP members with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, volume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at or go to continued from page 25

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