Sign & Digital Graphics

October '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • October 2019 • 29 the company's core competency, not as a place to get a dirt-cheap computer. All of which would suggest a flaw in its deci- sion to follow its competitors into the low-price ring. What does this mean to a sign and digital graphics shop? Basically, it should serve as a wake-up call. If you take a stu- dent's view of what immediately precedes a company's filing for bankruptcy or becoming a takeover target, you will find that three things occur most frequently: • prices are slashed to stimulate sales, • gross margins decline sharply, and • sales revenues approach record levels. Let me again ask you an important question: "Which would you rather be, profitable or busy?" Brisk sales do not guarantee fiscal success. Being skilled at selling at prices higher than your com- petitors does. I fully appreciate that the cut-throat mentality in today's economy makes it difficult to hold your ground on prices. But for the sake of your own survival, you must. When I've asked business own- ers in our industry to describe what their company is best known for, I've received answers such as "unmatched quality," "one-of-a-kind design," "atten- tive customer service" and "dependable delivery." You can argue that those four distinctions translate into trustworthi- ness, likeability and convenience in the eyes of the customer. Does that mean that your company must be great in every aspect throughout the selling process? Not by a long shot. It just means that your company should consistently distinguish itself from the competition in the arena, that means the most to your targeted clients. If you aren't sure which of your value propositions is most appealing to your customer base, take time to con- duct your own market research. For a specific period of time—say, a month or so—attach a one-question survey to every packing slip or invoice and encour- age your customers to respond: What was the most compelling reason you chose to do business with us today? (please select only one answer): Was it… a) Our low price b) Our superior quality c) Our unique and creative design work d) The way you were received and treated before and during place- ment of your order e) Our outstanding after-the-purchase support and service f) Our on-time delivery/installation, as promised g) Our convenient location and hours of operation h) In response to a promotion or special offer i ) The easygoing and enjoyable experience of shopping with us. After several dozen responses to that one question, you should see a pattern emerge. Hopefully, you will receive the least number of votes for low price and special offers. From the other choices, the overwhelming response will reveal your business's core competency in the customer's eye. Once identified, invest even further in becoming world-class in that area. Dare to set the standard of what you do best for the rest of the industry. The byproduct of conducting such a market study will lead to a renewed vigor for your business. As a result, the temptation to slash prices to stimulate sales should subside. A Bit of History In the late 1960s, simple signage grew in popularity. Even with double-digit Which would you rather be, profitable or busy? Brisk sales do not guarantee fiscal success. Being skilled at selling at prices higher than your competitors does. print & signmaking software in the universe number thinksai.com S u b s c r i p t i o n f o r $ 4 9 . 9 5 p e r m o n t h * * b a s e d o n a n n u a l c o m m i t m e n t M o r e p r o d u c t i o n p o w e r t h a n e v e r b e f o r e

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