Think your sign shop is the BEST?

Did you know that the vast majority of clients do NOT buy your signs because they think you are the best? That’s right folks, you heard it here first, people are not motivated to buy just because you are (or say you are) the best sign shop in town. I realize that this is a shocking (and to some, insulting) statement but that does not change the fact… sorry.

Honestly, I never really thought about this personally and always assumed that my clients came to me solely because of our great reputation and superior products. We regularly enjoy excellent referrals from happy clients and love it when someone tells us… “Joe from ABC told me you guys are great… “ I mean, if people are telling us this, and they order signs, and they tell their friends about us then it MUST be because we are good right?

Come on, it’s just common sense, who would ever willingly go to a bad supplier? Who would intentionally use the guy on the other side of town when you KNOW he just doesn’t make signs as well as you do? … of course, somehow, the guy on the other side of town IS getting work and people ARE walking into their shop instead of yours…

Something to think about isn’t it?

This particular phenomenon came to mind recently after reading a very interesting book entitled “You, Inc” that I found at my local Barnes & Nobles. The book discussed all aspects of personal branding but also devotes a section to how we, as humans, make buying decisions. What all of the research has proven is that we very rarely EVER make a decision based on logical criteria (such as Acme Signs is the best sign shop around). No, we make the vast majority of our purchases based on…. wait for it… almost there… Feelings & Emotion. What?! Yes, we constantly make decisions based on instinct, emotion, or feelings about the purchase and THEN justify spending the money by using the “facts”.

Think about the last time you headed into the store looking for a coffee maker. Did you research all of the available brands, check out the various features of each model and verify the consumer reports? No, you simply looked for one that matched your price range and then selected the one that matched your kitchen or looked cool. You “assumed” that all of the coffee makers in that price range were essentially the same. You “assumed” that there was little or no difference in features, quality etc and made your decision… whether or not your “assumption” was true or not. You made your decision based on an emotion.

Guess what? Potential clients all over the world are all doing the exact same thing when they start looking for a sign company. The first thing that an individual does is assume that if a sign shop is in business that they must be a professional. In their opinion, there are plenty of sign companies out there that are skilled and competent so that factor becomes, in their mind, a non-issue. Now I can already hear the screams of frustration coming from you… I know that there are all sorts of warning signs to let people know that Joe Blow’s sign business is just horrible. I mean, how could they fail to notice that Joe Blow can’t design worth anything? How could they not see that Joe’s vinyl signs start to peel after 6 months or Joe’s blanks are never cut square? The simple fact is, they DONT know, and have no problem having Joe makes their signs for them. They will probably even stay with Joe for years despite any number of problems as long as Joe is able to deliver just one thing to them…

A Feeling… whether that is emotional fulfillment, a feeling of importance or a personal connection. All of the research shows that people do business based on fundamental emotions. People always prefer to do business based on a personal relationship. They want to feel important. They want to feel needed and vital to you and your company. They want to feel… wanted. Remember the old saying “It’s not what you know but who you know”? That’s relationships folks.

So, what are you doing to make sure your clients feel wanted? What are you doing to fulfill their fundamental need to feel important and vital? What are you doing to make an immediate connection with new potential clients coming in? Do you ever offer a “Best Customer Ever” discount, send a personal note or simply say Thank You?

I guarantee, if you spend a little time delivering on this one thing then you will rarely, ever lose a client to a competitor. Remember, providing true value is not just limited to your hand crafted, premium signs.

Good Luck!