How many times have you had a chance to talk with a new potential sign or graphics client, only to hear… “Oh, I already have a sign guy” or “We’’re happy with our current vendor”? Now you know that this particular company would be a great fit for your services. You know you can deliver exactly what they need to grow and improve their business. Your personalities mesh and there seems to be a genuine connection that is vital to forging a good business relationship. But, wham, just like that, up goes that brick wall.
What do you do? If you are a typical salesperson, you kindly thank them for their time, maybe hand off a brochure or business card and silently retreat out the door. STOP RIGHT THERE!!! You have just been handed a perfect situation to accomplish two things…
1.You now have a situation in which you can praise this client for making such a good choice in sign companies. Look, the situation right now is they have a great supplier and are happy with working with them. Let’s be honest here, despite your personal feelings to the contrary, there ARE plenty of good sign shops out there that provide top-notch service, reliable products and deserve their stellar reputation. If this client is working with a great sign company then this is good for the sign industry’ reputation as a whole. Be happy for both your prospect AND the competing shop.
2.You also have an opportunity to ask a pertinent and valuable leading question… “On a scale from one to ten, how would you rate the sign shop / current vendor?”
Once you ask this question in a sincere & genuine manner you will hopefully receive an honest answer… seven, eight, nine… Now, here’s the thing, If the answer is anything less than a fast and confident ten, you now have a reason to ask a perfectly legitimate follow-up… “why not a ten?”
At this point in the conversation you should be listening very closely to what your prospect says because you may just hear the opening you need. You may discover that the signs that this client gets are always top notch but lack some design “pop”. You may find out that the designs and installs are always great but the other sign shop always takes way too long to respond to e-mails / phone calls etc. You may even find out that the last order was delivered with a defect and the other sign company has been slow in addressing the problem.
If your shop can immediately and convincingly address an apparent shortcoming and solve your prospect’s problem then, all of a sudden, you are back in the hunt. At the very least, this gives you a chance to communicate some more of your sign company’s offerings and service.
Remember, if you can genuinely solve a prospects problem then you become a worthy possibility to earn their business. BUT, if are you the shop causing the problem then you are vulnerable to another aggressive sign shop using this very same tactic with your clients. I would even suggest that you ask your contact to rate you the next time you talk. You never know, you may find out about a problem that you never knew existed and save a client.
So, how do YOU rate on a scale of 1 to 10?