June '20

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M 2 0 2 0 J U N E G R A P H I C S P R O 6 1 you talk with a customer, spend time looking through the current catalogs from your favorite suppliers. You just might be surprised at how diverse the product selection is now. You could win an extra order from a customer simply because you suggest an unexpected product when you meet with them. If you are comfortable talking about and selling only one brand or one style of shirt, you are leaving all sorts of potential business on the table. Pati Robben of Robben's Nest Stitchery has expanded beyond left chest logos and other basic work to also create custom wool felt pen- nants. The pennants are ordered by a local school to commemorate some of the colleges that accepted their students. Robben also start- ed making products to sell online through Amazon Handmade. All her products incorporate positive messages and include patches, dolls, pillows, stickers, and even DIY kits. STRATEGY NO. 4 This strategy also applies to the apparel decoration methods that you offer. If you only offer direct embroidery, you are leaving your- self wide open to lose the customer to another apparel decoration professional. One way to do this is to find someone that can heat press, appliqué, screen print, or digital print products for you. You keep your customer and outsource the work that you do not create yourself. If a customer is buying embroidered apparel or products from you, it is highly likely that they have a need for other decorated products at lower price points. Become their one-stop shop, even if you do not do the other forms of apparel decoration. Usually the customer does not care in the least where or who did the work, they just need and want their stuff, as ordered and on time. STRATEGY NO. 5 Get them to mentally walk through the entire store to find what they need. We tend to default to immediate customer service mode, getting right to the point by showing the customer just what we think they want. I discovered that taking a visual stroll through a catalog in a sales meeting can sometimes bring in additional (and highly profitable) orders. Page through the catalogs with your customers (you do not have to flip to every single page). I move through the book in chunks— golf shirts, fleece, athletics, outerwear, headwear. They often see something that catches their eye. It might meet a need they have immediately, or it might plant a seed for a future order. It is surpris- ing how often they say, "Oh wait, go back, what was that?" That is the sound of opportunity knocking. The next time you find yourself in the grocery store, take a look around. What are they working hard to sell you? It is the high- profit, upsell products. They know you will buy meat. They know you will get milk. They have eggs in the far corner because they know you will pass through all sorts of other things to get there. Notice what is on sale. There are savings to be found on things like pop, ice cream, and snacks. These non-essential, but highly profitable, products are important sales for the grocery store, as they bring up the profits and help level out their losses on the perishables. Apply some of their effective and time-tested strate- gies to your business to increase your sales and or increase your profits. GP JENNIFER COX is one of the founders and serves as president of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), an organization that supports embroi- dery and apparel decoration professionals with programs and services designed to increase profitability and production. LOW CURE SCREEN PRINTING INK SERIES CURES AT 230 DEGREES Bleed-resistant inks perfect for activewear. Great stretchability with a flat, smooth finish.

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