What to say when you’re selling a sign

By SignCraft Magazine

Posted on Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

“It’s like building a building,” Brian says. “You start with the architect and get the design, then the builder produces the building from that. Customers seem to understand that comparison.”

“I should have a couple of designs for you to look at by next Thursday.”

Be realistic about how soon you’ll have the design ready. Remember that it’s better to “under-promise and over-deliver”—to be ready a day early rather than to be a day late. Do a couple of designs, then have them come by to see them. Remember, these are sales designs, not finished art. There’s no use investing extra time until one is chosen.

“Avoid doing more than two or three designs for them to choose from,” he says. “Too many choices can confuse and complicate the decision-making process.”

“Once you choose one, I can make a few revisions if necessary.”

When they come in to see the designs, Brian and Karin find most decide on one. Some may want revisions—but those are limited to two. “Trust me,” Brian says, “it took only one job with multiple revisions for me to learn that lesson.”

When possible, Brian and Karin avoid sending designs for approval by email. Although it can be a bit inconvenient for the customer, they prefer the customer comes back so that they can discuss the final design choice.

“If you email the design,” says Brian, “then ‘outsiders’ like friends, coworkers or spouses can confuse your potential customer with sometimes ridiculous input into the design/layout. I know this sounds a bit controlling, but you cannot imagine the confusion and ‘second thoughts’ I have had to undo because of outside influence. As professionals, it is best to keep the customer on track with the process that you have set forth. Believe me, this technique works. It can sound harsh, but it is all about control. Slowing up the process uses up your valuable time!”

“Great. The deposit on the sign is x dollars and we’ll get started on it.”

“We get a 50% deposit up front before beginning designs for sign projects,” says Brian, “and again before starting the actual sign. This way we’re getting paid for our time throughout the process — rather than waiting until the end and hoping that we get paid in a timely fashion. We collect the 50% balance on completion of each phase. As a general rule, we do not offer 30-day payment on the balance. You need to keep cash flow going in your shop.”

Brian says to remember that the object is to make a living by producing effective designs, signs and truck lettering. That concept has to be the focus of the sales process to keep your business successful. It is important to stay in control of that process.

“You have something the customer wants,” he says. “When that something is out of your hands, you no longer have control over the project. Take ‘baby steps’ through the process. Collect monies as you go along—don’t wait until the end of the project to collect the big lump sum. People will release smaller amounts much easier through the process rather than dropping a big bomb on them at the end. All these techniques add a little more time to the process, but in the end you will not be chasing money.

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