Forget the Competition… Sell the Value!

Forget the competition and sell the VALUE!!! Stop thinking about what “the other guys” are doing and focus on YOUR strengths in your marketplace. I know I’ve talked about this before BUT, due to the increasing number of e-mails I have been getting on the subject, I believe it is time to discuss this topic again.
It seems that a lot of you out there have decided that, when I talk about the value of signs & graphics, I am only speaking metaphorically… Apparently there are a large number of sign folk who are firmly convinced that there is no way “they” could sell their signs for so much money. I mean, Joe Blow from down the street is selling his signs for $xx.xx , so how could I possibly sell for so much more.
In order to drive the point home, here are the most common objections (paraphrased of course) that I get when I encourage sign company owners / sales people sell based on the value of their sign products…

*** Why would a customer come back to my sign shop if he finds out that “Joe” sells his signs for 30% less than what I charge? ***
*** These materials only cost me a few bucks… I’m making good money just doubling / tripling my money right? ***
*** All the other sign companies in my area only sell these signs (insert product here) for X amount. ***
*** No one in this market gets that much for a banner, coro sign, truck lettering, electrical sign… etc.“ ***
*** Our market has just been killed by all the low-ballers out there. We are just barely holding on with the prices we are charging now…”

Needless to say, the list could go on & on but, rather than focus on the negative, I would like to give you all a quick list to help you get over this mindset if you feel trapped into this mentality.
1.First, you have to convince yourself that you provide a valuable service. Let me say that again… YOU PROVIDE A VALUABLE SERVICE. Before you can even consider moving into the world of value based (and highly profitable) sales, you must first convince yourself that you are actually delivering something of true value to your clients. If you cannot get over this first hurdle… well, then there’s no point in reading further.
2. Yes, you do makes signs for a living but signs are NOT what you should be selling. If you fixate on the fact that you hand someone a sign for money then you are missing the value of what you do. If you are a competent and talented sign designer then sell your artistic value and effective designs. If you make the fastest signs east of the Pacific then sell your effective, reliable systems and ability to respond in an emergency. If you make the best, most solid, dimensional signs than sell the longevity of your signs and the incredible return on the investment… after all, $2,000 for a sign that will last 500 years is incredibly cheap when figured on a yearly cost (that’s $4.00 per year so you don’t need to do the math)
3.Consider the impact of what you provide… Are you making a banner for the Chamber’s event or are you providing a well thought out informational / directional landmark? Did you simply hand Judy a two color Coroplast sign or did you provide her a means to increase her sales by 35% for the month? Did Fred get a logo slapped on his truck doors or did you supply an improved community image and increase his sales to the higher end (and deeper pocketed) client base?

So, my point here is, when you get to the point where you realize the value of what you provide, can clearly communicate that value / benefit to your customers, can provide a reliable business system and can develop ongoing relationships on these principles then your competition becomes a complete non-issue. Through hard work and a dedication to elevating your status is your own eyes, as well as the eyes of your clients, you CAN sell the value of your signs!