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telling customer product names

Discussion in 'Sales, Marketing, Pricing Etc.' started by bluehammer, Oct 14, 2019.

  1. bluehammer

    bluehammer Member

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    So I have begun to stop giving customers product names, and just telling them general specs. I have spent over two decades testing and using different materials for display graphics and have had situations where I have a client come to me for my experience and expertise, to then just put it out to bid with my specs. I feel like I'm teaching my competitors how to compete against me. Anyone else doing this or coming up against this problem? I know most of you have. Just looking to see how you handle pushback from the customer.
     
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  2. fresh

    fresh Very Active Member

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    i usually just give general specs, and unless they give me the measurements, I don't include them on a quote.

    the entire "free quote" thing is a pile of ****. i usually decline big quotes if I know they are just shopping prices. I'm never the cheapest.
     
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  3. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Heck, I know of sign shops that purposely give wrong information, just so the competition costs out wrong when the possible customer shops your drawings and quote sheet around. So many shops won't go out and do a physical survey and ask for the competition's spec sheet, just to get around what you're complaining about.

    Had this job about 20 years ago, where a company asked me to make said signs and gave me all their specs. I found out who made them and since the place was somewhat close, I went out and checked them out. There were about 10 or 12 signs involved, some cut-out letters, some channels and one large electric double sided sign. Sure enough, all the measurements were 2" to short in all directions. What that does is, in all signs requiring replacement faces, the size they specced would fall right out, as the retainer would not hold them at all. The cut-outs had to fit in a special area and it too, was too small. However, the channels were too large and would not have fit had we used those measurements.

    It's a shame people do these things, but if you feel you must leave information off your quotes, then so be it. Unfortunately, an uninformed customer is not a healthy scenario.
     
  4. WildWestDesigns

    WildWestDesigns Major Contributor

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    I've never liked this procedure. I've seen people that messed up source files after a client asked for them (even if they had a policy of willingly giving them out) just to mess up how things are done.

    The irony is that other shop may have done nothing wrong and yet that previous shop (due to their own insecurities) is mucking up thing. Even if the other shop is cheaper then you (oh the inhumanity), they may actually be cheaper for good solid reasons and not just under cutting the market (which most assume just based solely on price.

    I've had this happen many a times with getting embroidery files from clients that had asked for a copy of the file from the previous shop. There were slight changes to it that if I had used it would have really messed up the final product compared to the previous shop.

    Some of those customers thought I was just upset because they didn't get the file originally from me.

    If one feels like they have do things like this to help keep a client then I would be little at other things wrong with "your" process.
     
  5. 2B

    2B Very Active Member

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    I also, agree that the more you provide to the end customer the more they can take to the competition or internet site.
    This is especially true of projects that are fixing/redoing existing graphics.

    While we do not intentionally give false information, we do not give exact either to customers who are known/suspected to be tire kickers.
    I can think of a recent bid, customer calls up and wants a new design on their cabinet pole sign. sent a quote with the details, and they called back wanting the "exact size", asked why they would need that since we have already worked on the sign we had all the details needed to reface. their reasoning was for tax records.......... So we gave them the viewable area size and did not clarify the difference between viewable and finished size.
    Come to find out they got an out of town company. The other company ( I was told this) showed up, the face didn't fit, then they left the face inside of the office. They claimed to had to get a "different tool" and would be right back. Never showed up and the old design is still in the cabinet.
    This sign was about 25' (so no DIY with a ladder) in the air and was a ******* size, had a weird cabinet trim that required a bigger face than you would think. The first time we refaced this, we to come back to the shop and had to re-make it.......... another one of painful reminders REMOVE THE EDGE TRIM CAP AND LOOK INSIDE

    here is an example of what we would send
    Digital graphics, for indoor/outdoor usage.
    Material: ACM 3mm
    Size: MATCH CURRENT
    Sides: 1 Sided
    Imprint: FULL COLOR
    Graphics: Performance Calendered Vinyl
    QTY:

    Edit: Typo
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2019
  6. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    More often than not I start to spell out different materials and their advantages and why I selected one, then I delete everything and spell out 5'x5' sticker, and they are grateful that I don't bother them with the details and confusing them. I've been told, "You're the sign guy, you're supposed to know this, I just want this, there!" ...bankers
     
  7. bluehammer

    bluehammer Member

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    I would never intentionally mislead anyone or try to be underhanded. I'm just not interested in giving my competition an instruction manual on how we produce great work. I had one situation were an architect client called me and said that I didn't get a project bid on, their customer went with someone they knew who beat my price (by $50). It was a wall mural job. I quoted real "paste-up" wallcovering material. Said competitor went with permanent adhesive. Seams ended up not matching and they had to pull it all down...along with the sheetrock. My architect client called and asked me what I would have used. Material, paste etc. They wanted the product name and distributor so they could let the other sign shop know. I had to tell them sorry...we don't give out that info to competitors. The nerve.
     
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  8. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    Always!
    I have my guys pull the face just past the trim, so they can hook their tape and pull it to the other edge of the face. Then they can also get the vertical measurement of the face itself. We then refer to this as 'cut size'.
     
  9. Reveal1

    Reveal1 Member

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    [ My architect client called and asked me what I would have used. Material, paste etc. They wanted the product name and distributor so they could let the other sign shop know. I had to tell them sorry...we don't give out that info to competitors. The nerve.[/QUOTE]

    Agree, but might add 'Like you, we invest a lot of time and experience determining the right materials for an application, so we don't provide that without compensation.'
     
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  10. JBurton

    JBurton Signtologist

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    This I'm not sure how I would handle it. It sounds like I'd have the opportunity to say, "Hows about this, Hows about I just bring the right stuff that is removable to do it myself, and on top of that, hows about I put it where it goes with the seams! And I tell ya what, we can use that $50 I was over to buy the right products for the job!"
     
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  11. bluehammer

    bluehammer Member

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    Apr 5, 2014
    Redding CT
    ;)
     
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