March '23

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8 2 G R A P H I C S P R O • M A R C H 2 0 2 3 G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M B U S I N E S S S T R A T E G I E S And so, I got "laid off " that day even though all store employees had been given the same incentive to increase sales. Supposedly, the reason for my reduction in force was cutting back on payroll. It was my first lesson in politics. But I real- ized in those three months that some type of sales was the key to my future despite some other retail positions for the next few years. So how does jewelry translate to signage? Fast forward to my years at Bachendorf 's. I learned by selling Pulsar watches at Zales that it was easier to sell something that was unique that no one else had. Selling is an emotional transference of feeling. at always happens best when you are face-to- face. (Buying a $20,000 engagement ring over the phone doesn't work well.) at was my approach to selling loose diamonds, especially to about-to-be newlyweds. Even today, I always get face-to-face if possible to sell a custom sign, a campus identifica- tion project or a global branding program. Trust me; your competition will always take a shortcut and try to do everything over email. at's the shotgun approach. I like the hypodermic needle option. How does a jewelry salesperson sell a $20,000 engagement ring? What I found that worked best was to start with the dia- mond itself. When you isolate several dia- monds in a price budget range to pres- ent to a couple or buyer, you find three that meet their cut, carat, color, and clar- ity. But you have one of the three that slightly exceeds their expectations; one with a wow factor. e one you'd select if money was no object. And you show it last. But only after you talk about the rar- ity of their investment. What is your wow factor in your sign business? All diamonds, like a custom sign, are unique. When you do a rendering, show two or three options (and always show a free-standing sign with an electronic mes- sage display option whether they asked for one or not.) People like choice. And they really like it when they feel you are on their side of the table with their interests in mind. When they favor or choose one option from several they like, they are often already making a buying decision based on their inner vision. When I showed a loose diamond under a gemology microscope, I pointed out flaws and glorified them. ese inclusions were going to make the diamond unique among any other in the world. When you point imperfections such as feathers, cav- ities, crystals, clouds, needles, chips, etc. you are being transparent (pun intended) to the client. It builds trust and the dis- cussion can lead your customer to under- stand that they are natural, unique, and part of nature's fierce process of creating a diamond. Internally flawless diamonds are a sight to behold. And they carry a hefty price tag because they are one in 5,000 jewelry-worthy diamonds. When you talk about a quality of a cus- tom sign, do you prepare your client on the industry standards of viewing for fin- ish, fit, and graphic registration? Signs are made to be viewed from feet away, not inches. For an ADA sign, there is a closer eye standard than for a high-rise highway flexible face sign that is 75' from grade. But it is incumbent that you set the stage before they see the finished prod- uct. During my career, it's viewing from

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