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Discussion How to take that "next leap"?

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by JTBoh, Jan 28, 2019.

  1. JTBoh

    JTBoh I sell signage and signage accessories.

    Jun 15, 2011
    Clermont, FL
    I've been in the trade for about 10 years, and am currently employed by a good company, with a very good customer base and "take" in our area, and good prospects for me down the line.

    We're looking to expand our business, and I want to design and run various marketing programs in order to make it happen. I've determined what our vertical markets are, and want to start this year by targeting individual industries to help drive growth. Namely, construction, commercial realty, and property management, and anyone else who has repeated needs for large scale sign projects. We have very good relationships with the PMs in our area, and with some of the construction; but have had limited success with getting "ins" with those outside of our town.

    Our staff is solid, and very experienced - our work is strong enough to win customers from "that other guy" in town once they see it.

    The long and short is -

    A) How do we transition into a regional powerhouse, from a local one?

    B) What campaigns can we run (via email/direct mail/B2B) to convince prospects to give us a RFQ?

    We can figure out logistics/staff/mgmt as needed... but work needs to justify all of those.
  2. Sindex Printing

    Sindex Printing Member

    Nov 17, 2018
    We have been lucky enough from work of mouth. A really good social media person in your local area can be a great help to achieve this goal.
    I got a couple of our realtors from the turn around time and price matching. I even went as far as giving them a sign or graphic design services.
    Direct mail can be a turn off and can be impersonal. Business networking groups can be a good place to go to. The best results I have found is going to them and introducing yourself to the agents and bring them something with your name on it.

    Our next door neighbor took laser engraved tumblers to insurance agents and it was a huge payoff for him and they have kept him busy.
  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

    Oct 21, 2016
    Frisco, TX
    When you say "regional" VS your local market, do you mean you want to serve customers that are further away?

    You could network with your existing client base (the realtors, property management companies and construction companies) and let them know you serve a larger area.. Maybe put an ad in your e-mail signature showing your open to other areas. My e-mail signature says "Dallas - Houston - Austin" and I pickup work from existing clients who didn't know they could use me for their other locations.

    I also run Google ads in markets other then my local one so I can get hits from them as well. I can only catch so many fish with people searching "Sign Company Frisco, TX" when the reality is I'll do some travel for bigger fish.
  4. JTBoh

    JTBoh I sell signage and signage accessories.

    Jun 15, 2011
    Clermont, FL
    We have a good web presence in our area, adwords, etc.
    We go to bi-weekly networking events, and have gotten a good ROI from them - I just put "The Sign Guy" on my nametag and go from there... everyone already knows me and it helps a lot.

    All of these are good suggestions, and ones we've mostly done, but feel like darts at a board, just like most sign sales. Every once in a while you get that "whale", but it's few and far between.

    Is it just dumb luck that gets you to that level? I want to double our net sales in the next 3 years, and I think it's possible - but only by going outside our small town.
    The best way I see to do that is to target the vertical markets I called out.

    I guess I'm just looking for insight on how to:
    A) Develop a relationship with industries outside our town, without them dismissing us because we're 20 miles away
    B) Get them to give us an opportunity to quote, since I know we can compete on design, service, and pricing
    C) Get them to come off their current supplier, because those industries all have one, and one that has had a relationship with them for usually years

    If we get that, I'm sure our level of service, turnaround, and quality will win the customer over... it's turning over that card that's the problem.
  5. StarSign

    StarSign Active Member

    Sep 20, 2011
    Southern Utah
    Research. If you want to start with new customers just 20 miles away, hop in your car and go pay them a visit, introduce yourself, leave some samples. Then follow up.
    • Agree Agree x 1
  6. equippaint

    equippaint Very Active Member

    Oct 10, 2014
    My 2 cents here from similar experience, most of which you probably already know.
    Dont focus on where you are and the customer wont either. Change your business cards and other materials to read serving all of central florida, serving the orlando metro area etc. Get rid of your address on materials except to make local sales calls. Make sure your call always has a purpose and dont "sell", (especially on the first call) it annoys people. Listen carefully for clues on upcoming jobs and work current needs. Hit jobsites to try to get internal company leads and name drop on office visits, (joe smith from the hospital job said I should come by and see you). Dont name drop if they havent actually told you to do it. Followup with your field guy and let them know how the visit went.
    When your sales call serves no purpose to the customer, bring them some sample that does like hard hat required signs. It helps to have something besides a calender in hand to get past the gate keeper too.
    If you decide to hit north, get another number with a 352 area code, west get an 813 so you seem more in the market.
    • Like Like x 2
  7. HulkSmash

    HulkSmash Major Contributor

    Sep 10, 2010
    word to the wise.
    Real estate sucks.
    • Like Like x 1
    • Agree Agree x 1

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