Ramblings of an old sign maker

Trade Designer Suppliers

Ramblings Of An Old Sign Maker

22nd June 2016

Ramblings Of An Old Sign Maker

I won’t go on about how things were in the past, but forgive me for referencing it occasionally.

Episode 1.

Where do I start? What pearls of wisdom can I impart on a generation who has everything available to them online?

Here is my brief insight in to running a successful sign company…

First and foremost: customers!

Are you a person who feels that customers spoil a good day at work? They have no idea what they are asking for? They don’t even know what they want? They have seen a sign in the next town and they want one like it?

  • If you are one of these people: NEVER talk to customers again.
  • If you own the business: employ someone who understands how people work. If you don’t own the business, you are in the wrong job. For those of you who deal with the customer, always remember that you know how to design, build and fit signs. You are talking to potential customers who may bake great cakes or tailor the perfect suit, but however creative they are, you’re the one with the sign knowledge.
  • If you can grasp this concept, already your business has moved forward.

Do you spend money on your own sign and van livery? Do you advertise? Do you promote your business? Why do you do this? To get customers to contact you! If you get frustrated because your customers don’t know what they want, stop spending money encouraging people to find you.

Go get a job as a pigeon farmer.

Customers are the life blood of all business. Treat them all as special and you will get the rewards. Be prepared to hold their hand and walk them through every aspect of what they want. The best sales person is one who listens. The customer will tell you what they want. They will have no idea how to achieve it, but you do. 

Don’t put yourself in a position of assuming that you have interpreted their needs correctly – you can save a lot of time doing a quote that isn’t what they had in mind.

During the initial conversation ask them what their budget is. This can make a huge difference to what they want. There are always two ways of quoting a job:

1. You can ‘upsell.’ Give the customer a quote to suit their budget but offer another option explaining the benefits of spending more. You will find the customer will appreciate this and will often give you the first chance should they get an alternative quote.

2. If they ask for a visual to help them decide, ask them for £150.00 (for example) this will cover the cost of you photographing, measuring and producing the visual, but explain that when they give you the job you can remove £150 from the final invoice.

This does two things:

  1. The £150.00 commits them to you
  2. If they get a quote elsewhere after you have done the visual at least you have lost no money.
  3. It is also a bargaining tool to amend your quote to match others if your costs allow.

If you found anything of interest, I can assure you it will make a difference, if not I hope the Pigeon Farm goes well.

Tune in next month to my thoughts on health & safety within the sign industry.

(That’s providing I have taken delivery of my ergonomic chair which’s gives me the correct skeletal lumber support whilst sitting at the correct height, ensuring that my line of vision to the computer screen is correctly set at an arm’s length and making sure that the brightness of the screen is set as recommended DSE regulations. Then, before typing, making sure that the key board is at the right angle for my wrists and the office lighting is not producing glare on my screen and before I get to my desk I have to risk my life hoping that the office doors handles are set at the correct height and the corridor to my office is a minimum 44” wide. Then I am hit by the thought that I may be more that 75ft away from a fire extinguisher.)

Bollocks, I will blog about LED lighting…