What to say when you’re selling a sign

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

Looking for the magic words that will let you sell a sign to every customer who walks in the door for top prices? It’s not quite that easy, but over 35 years of selling signs has given Brian Schofield and Karin Levin-Cassella of Lines & Letters Designs, Bridgewater, New Jersey, an approach that makes the interaction and sale with the customer go easier and faster.

You’ll find their impressive work in the March/April 2017 issue of SignCraft (and on the cover!). They turn out well-designed carved and sandblasted 3D signs, as well as painted and airbrushed, and digitally-printed vehicle lettering.

After being in business for so many years, they have developed ways to streamline the process and make things go a little easier with the customer. Sales drive your business, so you want that to go smoothly. You also want to get paid for your design time.

To that end, here is a process that will help you get paid for design, minimize objections and collect deposits. Selling signs is a process that you guide the customer through. You won’t use this process on basic informational signs, of course, but for signs that involve design approval, it will help you get paid for both design and production time.

“I need 15 to 30 minutes to show you our products and determine what you want and need.”

More and more, people want to purchase a sign or get a quote on truck lettering, and do it all online. Brian and Karin say face-to-face meetings are important, though. It speeds the process and minimizes misunderstandings.

“Let’s take a look at a few similar projects.”

As they show examples of signs similar to the client’s project, Brian and Karin mention price ranges and use the customer’s response to get an idea of their budget. Next, they explain that the project has two phases: the design and then the sign production.

“To get started on the design, we’ll need a deposit.”

Charging separately for design can be challenging because some customers don’t realize that quality design takes time and has real value. And, your competitors may not be separating design from the execution of the project.

“Many customers come through the door wanting an elaborate lettering job and design,” says Karin. “They will ask us to ‘just draw something up,’ then they may never come back or then want the design to shop it around. Taking the design fee up front locks you and the customer into a financial commitment, and will help ensure the customer will continue to have you do their vehicle. If they don’t return, though, you’ve been compensated for your design time. This has been a long-standing issue in the sign business—failing to separate the design from the production of the sign.”

“It will take me some time to come up with a design that is both attractive and effective—like the other signs I showed you earlier.”

Since some customers think that designing a sign or truck lettering is just a matter of a few clicks on the computer, expect a certain amount of pushback when you ask people to pay for a design. If they seem surprised that they have to pay for the design up front, Brian explains that it’s a part of the process: Design is the first step, then comes the production.

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