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When a potential client begins to introduce a new project.

Discussion in 'Business Management' started by Robert Armerding, Jun 18, 2020.

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  1. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    I just came across this idea Tuesday, 6/16/2020, from a daily email I get from Jason Leister. He introduced this phrase, “What makes you think a sales letter is the best way to promote this?”

    What if we modified that phrase to use in a conversation with a potential client?

    Maybe we could say something like, “I’m curious. I wonder, what might have prompted you to have this sign built?”

    And then, with your own wide open mind, deliberately give them your full attention. Ask clarifying questions, summarize what you heard. Check to see if you have it correct.

    In this thread, let’s explore the potential here.
     
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  2. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Depending on the project it's about finding out what problem they are trying to solve.
    But a lot of times it's just a sign don't turn it into an ordeal. Just give them your undivided attention
    and let them know that you care about their business.
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1
  3. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    If I asked that, I might hear: "Because the building plans call for one. Why are you asking a stupid question? Give me a bid *******"


    Why are you wanting to go soo deep into this? It's just a sign
     
  4. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Billct2
    Thank you for your input. Very much appreciated.
    For sure, we don't want to "turn it into an ordeal."
    My favorite: "Just give them your undivided attention." That is not always easy to do in the sign making setting.
    So very important: "care about their business."
    Great thoughts. Please keep them coming! !
    Robert Armerding
     
  5. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Johnny Best,
    In other words, never in a hundred years would such a question be appropriate. Right?
    Robert Armerding
     
  6. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Texas_Signmaker
    What if it is more than "just a sign"? Have you ever had a sign project that was extremely important to your client? I wonder. Maybe you never get those kinds of sign projects.
    Robert Armerding
     
  7. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    How deep is this supposed to go ?? I mean, do you think a shoe salesperson asks why someone needs new shoes ?? How 'bout the mechanic who asks you, what makes you think you need a new set of brakes ??

    Don't people come to a sign shop for a variety of reasons ?? Their old sign fell over...... they just started a business and need a shingle on their roof or they just want to announce something ?? How does asking what prompted one to do something have any bearing on you making the sign, itself. It's really none of your business what goes on in their mind, other than colors, wording and sizes. Maybe permit acquisition if necessary or if they want you to instal it or not would be nice to know. Otherwise, I think in most cases you're overstepping your boundaries as a sign maker.

    Sure, maybe some useless idle talk about these things is alright, but do your job, do it efficiently and get paid. Wham, bam, thank you ma'am. There are fa-a-a-ar more people in business who say, get the job done, do it right and get onto the next one.
     
  8. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    I just think this is a silly question. You're on a roll with them lately. Sounds like you're trying to play therapist with key words you learned in some book you read yesterday.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  9. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Gino,
    Thank you for entering the discussion. I appreciate your input.
    I understand what you are saying.
    Is there any room for asking a little "deeper" inquiry?
    Robert Armerding
     
  10. Notarealsignguy

    Notarealsignguy Active Member

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    In all seriousness, I try to ask as few questions as possible and be as quick as I can. Not that many people want to be bothered with a bunch of questions. If you do start wasting their time, they will be very apprehensive about calling you again and will instead go to someone that they can hand off the task to with no nonsense.
    If you're making a sales call, let them do the talking about whatever in the world they want to talk about. I always did a quick scan of their office and would use something I saw to get them started, like a fishing picture. Nobody wants to hear about you, tell them what you represent and leave it at that. Golden rule is never sell on your first call.
     
  11. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Texas_Signmaker
    That could be one way to look at what I am doing. However, that is not what I am focussed here. I bring up this question for several reasons. Let's start with one of them. It could be a potential way to let your client know that you genuinely care about what they hope to accomplish. Does that make any tiny glimmer of sense to you? Maybe not.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  12. Billct2

    Billct2 Major Contributor

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    Like I said, sometimes it IS a discussion to have, usually it's when an existing business it having problems that signs might help with.
    I've had more than a few of those. "Customers can't find our service entrance even though it's marked" "Everyone thinks we're a beauty parlor but we do everyone's haircuts"
    The church and the day care are separate but we can only have one sign and we don't want them to think the church owns the daycare" etc
    Just don't like when salespeople have a script that have to follow even if it's not relevant.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  13. Texas_Signmaker

    Texas_Signmaker Very Active Signmaker

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    Lol, now you are sounding like the Toad with that last sentence.

    You wanna know what makes them think I genuinely care? By responding in a timely matter and doing what I said I'm going to do. Not asking silly therapy questions.

    Well, I will say this. If someone tells me what they want and it doesn't make a lick of sense, then I ask them.. "What you are trying to accomplish here?"
     
  14. iPrintStuff

    iPrintStuff Prints stuff

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    Me: so what prompted you to get this sign made?

    Customer: well it’s a disabled parking space and it needs one

    me: ok, but does this sign really matter to you?

    Customer: No. I just need it

    me: no. I won’t accept that. It has to be deeper than this.

    Customer: bye
     
    • Hilarious! Hilarious! x 5
  15. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Notarealsignguy
    I fully understand what you are saying and I appreciate your input.
    Let me pick up on your "Golden rule is never sell on your first call." How would you apply that if you are working in a retail sign shop and the client is right there in front of you?
    Robert Armerding
     
  16. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Texas_Signmaker,
    "doesn't make a lick of sense." thanks for bringing that up.
    Isn't your "What you are trying to accomplish here" sort of variation of my question?
    Have there been times when you turned down a sign project after asking that question?
    Robert Armerding
     
  17. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    iPrintStuff,
    In no way am I suggesting to use this inquiry on every sign project.
    Have you ever sensed that maybe a particular sign project was extremely important to prospective client?
    Just wondering.
    Robert Armerding
     
  18. Gino

    Gino Premium Subscriber

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    Of course you can ask deeper questions, but the way you worded it, sounds...... kinda weird. :confused: Like Bill said, your questions should be more about why is the sign going here or over there and what the wording is, but to just say I’m curious. I wonder, what might have prompted you to have this sign built? That's just odd for any professional. Just about any conversation about signs is gonna start the same way.

    Hello, I need a sign.
    Sure, you've come to the right place. What all do ya need ?? We can do it all. Let's sit down and discuss your needs. Are we needing a free-standing sign (now point to your samples in the room and show them the various signs and explain them). Or are we talking about some vehicles ?? Will these signs be going on a wall and do you have any designs/layouts in your head, in a file or are we looking at developing your needs from scratch.
    Now, it's his/her turn to talk and you listen and take notes. If ya can draw, do some thumbnails and put some things down. Hopefully, you can draw, listen and retain all at the same time.

    After much of it is discussed, you ask the big question..........do you have a budget ??

    Maybe it's just not my style, but your way sounds like someone who wants a bathroom makeover or a garage loft built.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
  19. Now that wouldn't be a sales call, would it?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  20. Robert Armerding

    Robert Armerding Merchant Member

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    Gino,
    Thanks for pointing out that you have a problem with my style. When I write, I just try to be myself. If that comes across as weird to you, no problem. Feel free to ask clarifying questions.
    Let me pick up on your phrase, "listen and take notes." That is by far one of my favorite topics. Could we focus on that for a minute, or would you rather not?
    Robert Armerding
     
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