Posted on Friday, December 14th, 2018
Thirty years ago, Mike Jackson wrote an article called Price your work on three levels for easier sales for SignCraft. Those two pages outlined Mike’s easy sales approach of offering customers three options on most quotes: economy, basic, deluxe.
Immediately we started hearing from readers who were upselling their customers to better-looking, more effective signs—and making more money in the process. It’s been mentioned in the magazine many times over the years by others who have put Mike’s approach to work successfully, and readers continue to tell us how well it works.
“Mainstream companies of all kinds know that offering several options for a product increases their chances of making a sale, and often selling customers an upgraded product,” says Mike. “Sign companies should be doing this, too.
“Always give a potential client at least three options for every sign—economy, basic or deluxe. You’ll be surprised how many buyers will take the top version. Those odds can go up considerably if the salesperson emphasizes how much value the sign will bring to their company over the next few years.”
A routine 4-by-8 sign for a construction project is a good example. The economy version might have a single color background and one color of basic lettering on a full sheet of material. A basic version might include extra colors and possibly cutting the panel into a custom shape. The deluxe version would also include additional 3-D options like cutout letters for the main topic and/or a raised panel.
This approach may also be the easiest way to uncover the customer’s budget. Asking a customer what their budget is seldom results in an accurate number. They may think that they won’t get their money’s worth once the sign maker knows what they’re willing to spend.
“When you ask a client their budget, most freeze up,” Mike says. “If you were to start out with a few concept options, then give a few prices, they’ll almost always divulge a budget. For example, if I say the economy version is roughly $400, the standard version is roughly $600 and the deluxe version is $2000, they often say they have a $750 budget.
“At that point, I know I can design a project to hit that budget, and in this case, a better sign than I might have been able to sell if I offered only the standard option. Some clients may only want to offer basic information and contact information, so the economy version might fit their needs. Price the project to make your necessary profit and be happy with the sale.
“That’s the goal of any of the options: to make the necessary profit and move on. Let them decide—but always give them options!”
If you are lucky enough to have read about this easy, practical pricing approach in SignCraft over the years, you already know how effective it is. If not, now is a great time to start.
As one reader told us, “If Mike knew how much money I had made thanks to using his approach, he would probably want a commission!”
Mike explains his sales process in detail again in The magic of three-tier pricing in the January/February 2019 issue of SignCraft. See why he offers the deluxe option at a considerably higher price, how he handles jobs he must bid using the customer’s spec, and how he uses this system to consistently upsell customers to signs that are more effective for them and more profitable to the sign maker.
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