October '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M O C T O B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 5 9 that you don't want to waste any efforts going in the wrong direction. Get online and do some research to find out how and in which environment the prospect might use your product or service to attract customers. "Trending colors for blah, blah, blah," or "is year's favorite font" are just some of the search phrases that will take you places where you can find not only inspiration but validation for your design directions. If it's a coffee shop or restaurant, or any business where retail customers visit, it's easy to park your car in their lot and watch who visits their store on any given busy day. Seeing the types of cars they drive makes all the difference in cate- gorizing their possible spending habits, likes, dislikes, and personal tastes. It's not an official product user survey, but it's enough to get the conversation started on this subject. When you can use research and facts to validate your design choices, it's powerful stuff, and suddenly your claim to profes- sionalism is validated by your presentation and creative work as a whole. at's what separates a professional from a beginner. It also puts you in the driver's seat for the sale, so that revisions really don't exist, and prospects turn into customers. GIVE THIS A TRY An additional way to ensure fewer revi- sions is by taking it to the next level with the upfront design deposit and agreement. is is perfect for the chronic revisionist who must jump in and be way over-in- volved in the design process. When you have this type of prospect, the best way to handle them is to pull out the "upfront design agreement and deposit." is usu- ally clears the fog from the room and clar- ifies what is acceptable and what is not. e design agreement can be written any way you feel it will do its best to get the point across that they are paying for the entire design process. One way to sell this idea is to say that "it's customary when clients like them need specialized attention with our designers." e prospect will own the designs created and will have the option to go to any other shop to get similar pricing to complete that job, and 99% of the time, they won't go anywhere else. ey will stay with you and your company because they are already deep into the project with your designer. It's human nature – once they pay you the $500 fee and sign an agreement, they are your customer. So, minimizing or eliminating revisions has less to do with "designing it to their liking" as much as it has to do with set- ting the stage and course of accountabil- ity on how the design relationship will be handled, who is in charge, and how many revisions are permitted for the upfront fee, and how much each subsequent revision will cost. In this way, you are working on their dime, and they are spending money with you. ey are paying for your design- er's time. Consider not doing design work for an open book of a potential sale that may not happen. It's better to walk away and find a prospect that will work within your terms than to be tooled by a keen prospect who "revises" your creative side to death and then decides to go with the competition with no explanation why. Be in control of the process. GP Matt Charboneau started his career in the sign industry in 1985 as Charboneau Signs, later changing it to Storm Mountain Signs. In 2017, he published the Pre-Sale Sign Survey Field Guide and provides sign design training at his site: Contact him at Matt@,, and 970-481-4151.

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