Don’t sell a sign without asking questions!

Ever had a customer walk into your sign business and tell you exactly what she wanted? I know it’s rare but sometimes it does happen…

…“Hi, my name is Tammy and I want a 4’x8’ white banner with red letters in the Clarendon typestyle. The name of my business is Tammy’s Hairdressing so I want that real big at the top and then add these 47 things that I do in list along the bottom… how much is that going to be and when can I pick it up…?” At this point, you could simply go for the easy sale, look her in the eye, give the standard 4’x8’ banner price and let her know she can get it on Thursday. You could…

Of course you could also walk into your doctor’s office, tell him you have a headache and your stomach hurts with small twinges of pain in your right side. This trained and “professional” doctor could just start writing a prescription for you, take your insurance information, send you out the door and collect an easy check. Yes, I know, that just doesn’t sound right does it?

Well of course we all know that no doctor would ever start offering solutions without first asking questions, and I say, neither should you. In order to be considered a sign professional, I would venture the opinion that you need to know enough about signs to “ask the right questions”. Every customer is different and every project can different. The colors, typestyles and aesthetic
look that might be perfect for Joe’s Hardware might also be the absolutely wrong thing for The 27th National Bank down on Main Street. It is your duty and responsibility to educate yourself to the point where you know the differences and can clearly and effectively communicate your recommendations to the client. Simply and bluntly put, I believe that this simple concept very quickly separates the “hack” sign shops from the truly professional ones.

Which one are you? Have you really thought about it? What kind of questions might be good to ask about a new project?

Here are some starters….

1.Get a name and full contact info first: this is easy to forget at the end of the conversation and besides, it makes it easier to build trust when you can quickly refresh your memory and use their first name.
2.Do they already have artwork, a logo or brand?
3.What colors do they like AND dislike? Do these colors actually support the intended use?
4.Spend some time to ask about their intended use: Is it for a long term main sign? A short term event? A special sale or just some cool graphics for their car?
5.Where is the sign / graphics supposed to be viewed? From 100 feet away at 65 MPH or 3 feet away in a car show?
6.Have they actually done any research on their desired type of sign?

This last one is a big one for me and I usually don’t waste much more time on the client who has not considered this part of the process. Once I hear “I don’t know, that’s why I came to you” I shift out of Specific Project Mode and go into General Information Mode. This is where my Sign Buying Guide comes in very handy. This easy to navigate information booklet provides the prospect with simple information on types of signs, benefits of each sign type and general budget amounts. The resource is provided free of charge, no obligation and the prospect is encouraged to look it over. 80% of the time this approach has eliminated tire-kickers from wasting my time and, even more importantly, it has helped close the deal on countless fun and profitable projects.

Feel free to download each one of the pages in the Sign Buying Guide and use them in your own sign business.