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Losing repeat orders...

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by john1, Jan 30, 2011.

  1. john1

    john1 Guest

    Hey everyone, Lately i have noticed i have been losing repeat customer jobs due to them finding someone who can do it cheaper or i never hear back after they mention wanting a re-order and i send over the payment information.

    (See Post 5)

    I just received a email that said this....

    "to be honest, you came a across as a little too persistent.
    price had a little to do with it, but I want to order stickers
    when it suits me."

    I followed up after the sale to see how things were going...

    This may just be how the ball rolls sometimes but it's more noticeable then i think "normal" is so i'm here to jot down what you guys think of a few jobs I've been losing a repeat order on. It really makes me frustrated when someone says "oh i found someone else" and you ask them oh really, why is that and they don't shoot you a email back or say they found someone cheaper.

    Maybe it's because i give my all i feel like in handling my customers, I truly do care about each and every order as i appreciate them choosing me and then i feel like this is a big slap in the face. At least give me a explanation so i can better my business.

    This sounds strange but last night a local mom and pop pizza shop i have ate at before wanted $30 for 2 large pizzas with 1 topping, The only reason i called them was because lthe last time i ate there it was reasonable and the pizza was decent for the price. I didn't think $30 for 2 from there was unacceptable beings it wasn't that good of quality for that price compared to another place in town which was better quality i thought. Ended up going to Pizza Hut and got 2 for $22 and the quality is much better and taste IMO. If i can figure out why i, myself chooses places over others i hope i can figure out my customers alittle better too.

    50 5x5", contour cut to a rounded square with full coverage and laminate $140

    1000 1x4" contour cut to rounded rectangle with 75% coverage no laminate $400

    All using 3651 with 210 lam

    I typically load the file into my RIP, see how much material is used and use a PSF price and a added on labor charge for separating if it's alot. I have been finding the sign craft guide works great for the digital printing like this but maybe by using the green $66/hr column i'm too high for internet orders.

    For wholesale jobs i have been doing 30-40% off what i would normally retail them at but nobody hardly cares about one on one interaction with whos producing their orders, They want $2.00 PSF for any amount and no interaction so they get what they get.

    Thanks for any help
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 30, 2011
  2. elsignshop

    elsignshop Member

    Jul 1, 2010
    Douglas, Ga
    i know how you feel, some customers always telling me i found it cheaper from someone else, from people thats doing it from home and that are basicly selling decals and signs for almost free. i hate that.
  3. john1

    john1 Guest

    Well see, I am a home based licensed business and i don't see the sense in doing it for nothing. Just because you work from home doesn't mean your craft and skills aren't worth good money ya know.

    I appreciate anyone who has become steady enough to sub-stain a store front but i do like working from home as it's good when times are tough that i don't have 2 of every utilitie bill.
  4. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    Sep 27, 2010
    Mid TN

    I'm home based as well and I have had some of the same issues that you have from a couple of people. Now some of the more loyal ones like the idea of supporting a small shop and if they can afford to go to me, they do.

    It isn't easy in a few markets when things can be done over the internet.
  5. john1

    john1 Guest

    Received this from a customer just a few seconds ago via email....

    "to be honest, you came a across as a little too persistent.
    price had a little to do with it, but I want to order stickers
    when it suits me."

    I simply sent the customer a email about a month or two after he had ordered to see how things were going and asked if he needed a re-order to let me know.

    Guess I did bad on that one by following up after a sale.
  6. elsignshop

    elsignshop Member

    Jul 1, 2010
    Douglas, Ga
    i use to love working from home, cause i didnt have 2 sets of utility bills, but i just had people coming to my home late at night wanting things and wanting to make orders, and the wife hated that and i did too. so i opened my store. but theres people here where i live (non business license) that really low ball signs, decals, and digital prints laminated for $2 a sq ft. and it makes it harder for us with sign shops to keep in business.
  7. gabagoo

    gabagoo Major Contributor

    Oct 10, 2006
    Vaughan, Ontario
    There will always be price shoppers no matter what, and you will never be able to control it. What sets you apart from the others...is you!!! and the service and personality that you convey to all your customers.

    I have found that those that constantly look for better prices are not worth worrying about, you cant do anything to really stop it. They most likely got a better price because the new guy is not giving them the same quality of material that you did.
    How many shops do I encounter on an ongoing basis who put A6 on vehicles is alarming, or print at low, high speed resolution.

    Anybody can beat anybody elses price if need be to get your foot in the door.
    What you do to keep them with you, is the key. Educate your customers as to what you are actually giving them and if they are loyal, they really need not look elsewhere.
  8. iSign

    iSign Major Contributor

    Nov 29, 2003
    Kahului, Maui
    too much "feeling" ...it's business... be there for those that want what you sell, and be too busy to care about those that don't... even if you are just "busy" looking for the next job...

    I'm no expert at "looking for the next job" in the sense of cold calling, or doing follow up calls... because I've stayed busy for many years & now that I need to do a little more proactive marketing, I am admittedly not to familiar with the concept... BUT... one thing I do know, from a lifetime as a consumer.. nobody likes to be "sold' to... and we can see it a mile away...

    ...so, educate your clients, or notify them... quick, impersonal... and while they say it's good to "ask for the sale" in my opinion, that is more true when the client has already come to you... for after the sale contact, I would think something very informal, and without expecting an email dialogue... one last "hope you were satisfied, and look forward to the opportunity to work together again" ...I mean I don't do that... never have... but if i was going to, i wouldn't bother someone to say 'hey... wanna order from me again? I'm here ya know!" ...not that you said that... but from the reply you got... clearly you said something that seemed fairly close to that...

    ...and with all due respect you have shared a degree of what I might call "almost desperation" in conversations here.. and I am experiencing that near desperation at times too.. but make sure clients NEVER see that.. that's my advice!
  9. Fred Weiss

    Fred Weiss Merchant Member

    Sep 11, 2003
    Olympia, WA

    There's an old chestnut that asks:

    Why is sex like a bank loan? The answer is: The more you look like you need it; the less the chance you'll get it. The same is true in business.

    It sounds to me like you are too attentive to your customers and signaling them that you are over-anxious for their patronage. Think about what really makes you feel good about the businesses you patronize. It will probably be something like just being remembered and made to feel welcome.
  10. SignosaurusRex

    SignosaurusRex Major Contributor

    Mar 7, 2007
    Washington State
    True story.
  11. Marlene

    Marlene Major Contributor

    Jun 8, 2004
    I think people are being sold to death these days. it isn't a bad thing to send a thanks for the job e-mail, just don't add the digging for the next sale. if there are any issues with their purchase, it give them the chance to tell you and not another sign company.
  12. insignia

    insignia Very Active Member

    I agree with everything else that's been posted here. I don't think pricing has too much to do with repeat work, if they bought from you once, the price couldn't have been that bad...

    Getting repeat work comes down to service and quality. Were you attentive to their needs when you worked for them? Did you answer their questions professionally and timely? Did you give them exactly what they needed or even better, did you bend over backwards to help them figure out what the really needed, even if it meant less money in your pocket? Was the product you produced the best product you could produce, and was it delivered in time? If you put yourself in your customer's shoes immediately after they received their product from you, how would you (HONESTLY) feel about the service you just received? Would you go back to yourself?

    Everybody's right too, if you seem more anxious to close the sale than to help the customer, you make make the sale, but you may also not make many or any more from them. Customers want to be taken care of, they want to feel like you understand them and what they need. They don't want to feel like their needs are secondary to your own.
  13. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

    Jun 7, 2006
    I believe this could be better answered in a 'Premium' thread, but I'm gonna go half-way out here.

    Many things already stated are very true. Nothing turns me off more than someone that sounds desperate. Regardless if they are truly trying to help or not.... it's a big turn off. Methods in which you hound or beg for repeat work may be hurting you from the actual wording itself, to your timing.

    Another area I think you need to be honest with yourself is your quality control. If you're not getting repeat work, it could very easily be.... the price you're quoting might be Okay, a little high or a little low, but if the quality isn't there.... or maybe the service.... then price might bot be the culprit either. We've had people go with us when our pricing was higher than the competition, but the customer was going for service and dependability.

    Sure, we've had some jobs go south on us over the years, but if I'm able to explain and make it up to them..... they generally come back.

    I think you need to look at your product and make sure it compares to your competition in all respects. Then, you need to sound less panicky.
  14. Jillbeans

    Jillbeans Major Contributor

    Dec 24, 2003
    Butler, PA
    Am I reading this the right way?
    Do you send customers some sort of follow up email a few months after you did the job feeling them out to see if they need additional work from you?
    Please forgive me if I misunderstood.
    It might seem like a good business practice to do this but if I was the customer it would irritate me.

    Or, if I misread your initial post (I'm confused) are you saying that you are losing customers to lowballers?
    If that is the case, just keep keeping on.
    My customers who have cheated on me with lowballers usually always come back to me because I do a better job, even if I do cost more.
  15. Mosh

    Mosh Major Contributor

    Oct 19, 2009
    You should go sell used cars it sounds like LOL
  16. signswi

    signswi Very Active Member

    Oct 29, 2009
    Instead of following up on sales create a value-added (actual value, not just sales pitch) email newsletter and add your clients to it. It'll take time and effort but done well email newsletters are huge sales generators. You're building trust and your perception as an expert, not just selling and begging for jobs.

    Read some of the more modern marketing bibles (Trust Agents, Rework, Unmarketing...) for more on how to build up a sales audience without annoying people.
  17. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

    Sep 27, 2010
    Mid TN
    I've started to do this. They really do work and it helps keep "you" in the forefront of their mind, which for home-based operators(such as myself) that can be more of a problem as there isn't a storefront that people drive by.

    I also try to have a level of user interactivity as well. Something to engage them. It can be a little tricky, it just depends on what all your doing. When I do the newsletter for the barn, it's a lot easier, I'm still trying to work out the kinks for this.
  18. wetgravy

    wetgravy Guest

    I've read somewhere that it costs a business about $1k just to get one reliable repeat customer. I got to thinking ... that is about right. While I did get repeat customers ... the ones that came to me, never shopped around and loved what I did ... in total cost me about that much in swag and overal business just to find.

    you'll always lose customers to the low baller ... the trick is getting them back when their stuff sucks.
  19. SignManiac

    SignManiac Major Contributor

    Mar 25, 2006
    Mars Florida
    In business you lose a few, you gain a few, simple as that. I no longer have my very first customer from thirty six years ago. I think he died.
  20. westpointsigns

    westpointsigns Member

    Jun 30, 2009
    I understand where you are coming from in doing follow ups with your customers.

    However... You are not selling furniture, cars, or mobile homes, all of which I have done, and where a buying decision is usually going to be made within 24 - 36 hours from when the customer actually starts "looking". These sales are also commission based so you gotta be on the ball and a little pushy sometimes in order to get a paycheck. So, yeah, follow up calls are a necessity in those lines.

    I don't think your e-mail idea is at all bad either. Maybe just reword it or make it into a coupon for them, GIVE them a REASON to BUY from YOU. Even if they don't reorder at that time you are still keeping your name in front of the customer and hopefully ahead of the competition.

    Another thing, it seems to me that most people are worried about 1 thing, the bottom line. HOW MUCH IS IT GOING TO COST?

    I may not get everything I bid, and I know I am NOT the lowest priced. I just give my customers a reason to buy from me. Sell them what they want and tell them what they need.
  21. BigfishDM

    BigfishDM Merchant Member

    Jun 22, 2009
    All Over
    Well you could lower your materials cost by using my product line, $0.12 for vinyl and $0.15 for laminate would help I would think.

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