Let’s kick this off with some strategies for making yourself a singular supplier to your customers and keep yourself out of the dreaded commodity world. I know we have all been told “I can get this from your competitor cheaper” and if your only reply is to lower your price, you have fallen into the commodity bucket.
Long-term clients can be a boon to apparel decorators, and help bring in steady business for shop owners of all sizes. In some instances, those frequent contract jobs even help a business expand into a bigger, busier production facility. But how do you accommodate a long-time customer who might be taking an excessive amount of time to approve a job, or is just generally being indecisive? If artwork is taking a while to be approved, or a price quote still hasn’t been okayed, it’s undoubtedly going to hold you up. This is a tricky situation since you obviously don’t want to hurt the client relationship, but also need to make sure the work is worth yours, and your employees’ time.
This is as quick and easy as you can find, but yet most of us neglect this unknowingly. The crazy part is that it is super easy, and the right thing to do. So here it goes (have I stalled long enough now?) … Build a better relationship with your CURRENT customers.
Over the years, one of the markets that have been most intriguing was the print on demand market. This market is exciting because it overcomes a natural barrier of purchase by changing the perceived value of a product and can take the cost factor nearly out of the equation. This market can be highly profitable, so here are some tips, tricks, and examples for you.
What is the printing on demand market? The print on demand market is when you travel to an event or specific location to be with potential customers and decorate apparel or other items on the spot. This can be as straightforward as having pre-done transfers so you can heat press the customers chosen transfer onto their chosen shirt size and color. It can also be as intricate as having online design tools and templates with the ability to do onsite photography to then digitally create items like photo panels, cell phone cases and again even apparel. Typically, this market is serviced by a heat press and transfers and/or digital decoration, noting occasionally, screen print garments are done.
Many times small business people or even professional sales people reach the end of a sales cycle and they run into objections that normally seem to feel like a price or cost objection.
From my experience, I have found that a pricing or cost objection is not actually an interest in a lower price, but it is actually a lack of perceived value. To overcome sales objections, make sure that you explain to them thoroughly why the products value is what it is and help them find a perceived value before lowering price.
In my nearly 20 years being involved with sales, marketing and technical support, I have been fortunate to work with a wide variety of folks who are both really good and really bad at customer interactions. I have observed many of them (including myself) and have come to discover that there is one key word that people dealing with customers should really REMOVE from their vocabulary. By removing this word, those individuals were able to more smoothly interact with customers and resolve issues quickly.
So you have read the title of this blog and you must be thinking I have lost my mind, but this is not a new sales tip. Throughout my career in sales and marketing, I have heard this strategy in several different variations. I am not sure who originally coined it and definitely not taking credit for its invention, but I think it is very beneficial technique to generate business. Personally, I compare this approach to a similar strategy for playing Blackjack. Side note, I’m a horrible Blackjack player and seem to be the guy who can have a 20 with the dealer showing a 6 and inevitably the dealer will pull a 5 card for 21! But…I am not crazy; this really is a good sales tip. I have heard it from other professionals and it makes sense.