Posted on Wednesday, November 7th, 2018
Before-and-after examples may be the fastest way to educate customers and gain their confidence during the sales process. It may be before-and-after photos of signs you have done, or illustrations that show what a difference new signage can make.
Stephen Salzberg sold millions of dollars’ worth of signs over his 40-plus years in the business. He created Corporate Image of Illinois in 1969, providing architectural design, signage and consultation, and sold the company in 2006. Over the years, he found tools that helped him make sales easier and let him gain the confidence of customers so that he could give them the effective graphics they needed.
A picture is worth a thousand words, and that is especially true when selling signs. Before-and-after examples speak volumes when you are dealing with prospective clients. They show you have the skills to make signs that are more effective and therefore have more value. The prospect can see the improvement in legibility and appeal. It helps them realize that they have come to the right place for their sign.
You can do a lot of talking when you’re selling a sign and still not get those points across. Before-and-afters save you time.
“In my years of selling signage to banks, hospitals and universities,” says Stephen, “the thing that clicked the best with clients were before-and-after examples. They are very powerful sales tools.”
The example he gave in the November/December issue of SignCraft shows how effective before-and-afters can be, and what an improvement can be made in a sign’s effectiveness.
“A physician has the responsibility to heal,” says Stephen, “and a sign designer has the responsibility to guide. Usually, physicians have no interference by others, contrary to the dilemma faced by sign designers, who most often seem to have an uninvited committee hovering over them. That notwithstanding, sign designers must stand their ground, short of alienating their client and losing the project. Making a sign more readable, functional and appealing is their craft, and it’s up to them to show that less-is-more. Always.
“The public, in general, usually has no clue about sign design. They can easily decide what they want the sign to ‘say’ but seldom think about the viewer and the real purpose of the sign. How much time does a driver have to read the sign? How should the copy be organized for optimal legibility? How can color be used to make the sign more functional and appealing?
“This sign reads more like a billboard than a destination sign, and the use of all uppercase lettering with centered format makes this a slowly read sign, which is unacceptable in wayfinding. Although the executive board of the hospital may feel obligated to include a benefactor’s name on the sign, a driver will react more quickly to Breast Center than its formal name, Margaret W. Niedland Breast Center.
“Further, there is no need for redundancy on the sign, i.e., Jupiter Outpatient Surgery Center, when half of that copy appears in the primary copy above. The addition of a reverse-colored panel for Outpatient Campus breaks the layout into three copy blocks, allowing for better readability.
“As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. As such, before-and-after examples speak volumes during the sales process, without the necessity of giving a long, drawn-out lecture to the customer. Your audience will immediately notice the improvement in legibility and function, giving more value to the sign, and you as the designer.
“So more often than not, to clinch the sale, it is worthwhile to have a photographic presentation of before-and-after examples on your phone or device that immediately says you’re a professional—so you don’t have to.”