What are you selling? Begin with the right frame of mind, which means understanding what you’re selling and it’s not just screen
printing! What you’re selling is image, memories, brands, souvenirs, security and advertisements. You’ll walk into the prospect’s office and say something like, “Would you like to see a product that can enhance your company image? It’s cost effective, promotes your business and advertises your name, all in one never expiring package”. You may change the delivery, but the intention is the key.
In order to increase your chances at being successful in sales, you need to develop a method and process for making the sale.
Follow these simple sales steps:
1. Identify and Analyze the Client
2. Determine the Client’s Needs
3. Planning the Sales Presentation
4. Making the Presentation
5. Ask For a Deposit
6. Follow Up
Step 1 - Identify and Analyze the Client
The process begins by carefully selecting your prospective client. This is one of the unique things about screen printing; everyone’s a potential client, so you have a huge selection of prospects to choose from. Start by identifying a group of related
clients, rather than just one prospect at a time. Some examples: car dealers, landscapers, plumbers.
Done this way, you will be spending your time developing a single sales presentation that can be used multiple times. The next step is to profile the group as well as the individuals within the group.
Clients are unique; when it comes to sales you need to focus on this. These differences can make or break your efforts to reach a given group of people. By grouping people based on their shared characteristics, you’ll have a better understanding of their needs and better define their buying habits.
Once you know the client base you’re targeting do a little research in order to adequately plan your sales presentation. Learn everything you can about the client; knowledge is power. Realize that your
client might not be the final target; they may be a gift store, attraction, etc. This would mean that you might need to research your client’s clients in order to target them correctly.
After you have identified your clients, analyze your clients. Make some observations and do some research. Use
this information to create a list of attributes that describes the target client.
Step 2 - Determine the Client’s Needs
Take your client attribute list and think of every possible item and/or service you could sell to this client. Create a second list
and review it for practicality. Now develop some real product ideas and possible designs to accompany those products.
Once you are comfortable with your choices, decide what you will need to take to show the client. It’s not practical to take everything on your list, so choose the most important items and be prepared to show catalog pictures. Mark the pages you wish to show for easy reference (Make sure the manufacturers name, wholesale prices and contact information are not visible, most distributors have generic catalogs).
Along with sample garments, merchandise ideas and catalogs, develop a price strategy. It’s much more effective when you are able to quote while showing samples. Plan ahead and have a printed price sheet to go with your samples.
Step 3 – Planning the Sales Presentation
Once all the merchandise is chosen, write down scenarios and scripts that will be presented. The goal is to reach a prospective client and plant a need for printed products. Determine how to put a spin on the products being sold by taking an ordinary item and turning it into a must have product. Develop a script that sounds and feels natural and rehearse it, assemble your sales kit to have everything that you need to make the presentation, then practice.
Step 4 – Making the Presentation
During the actual sales meeting, opinions of your capabilities (good or bad) are going to be formed very quickly. Most potential clients won’t have time to talk endlessly, identify this early on and present accordingly. Bridge the gap between friend and stranger right from the start. The sooner this is accomplished, the quicker a friendly meeting ground is established, which increases your chances of making a sale.
It’s important to find common ground between seller and buyer immediately. How? Most people surround themselves with mementos and trophies of their lifestyle in their office environment. After the initial greeting take notice of the client’s space. Analyze what you can to learn more about the person and then play off those characteristics. Find a commonality, then share it during the opening conversation to quickly and effectively break the ice.
Smoothly transition into your sales presentation, it’s important to take the lead from the start and stay in control of your information throughout the presentation. Being prepared for questions and issues is the best method for maintaining control. Since pricing is usually the area that is most contested (and breeds anxious moments), here are a few tips to deal with the subject:
Stand firmly behind your pricing, everyone plays the price game so be prepared for that. Stammering or thinking over a price quote, will trigger the client to try and get a lower number. If price becomes a major issue, never allow the client to think they manipulated you into a lower selling price. Don’t immediately offer a price reduction to close a sale. Instead, respond with something like, “Let me check with the suppliers for a better price”. The price reduction has now been shifted to another source, although it may have to be absorbed by the seller if the client doesn’t budge.
Keep the presentation exciting, informative and as brief as possible. Convince the client that they can’t do without the products being offered; show the products as necessities, not an unnecessary expense as most can be written off as advertising. During the presentation always keep an eye on the client and try to gauge their responses (physical and emotional). Human analysis and body language are important tools, it’s essential to learn how to read people and respond to them. Push the sale as far as possible, be prepared to back off when necessary, but not too far.
Step 5 – Ask For a Deposit
This must be done tactfully, with great care to keep from offending. Carefully lead them into an ordering situation like, “I suggest you start with 48 shirts in the following size increments…Which colors appeal to you? The hot colors this year are...”.
Start writing quotes while leading the client through the different items that are being offered, finish the total and offer a completion date: “The total order comes to $_____ and we can deliver that to you next Thursday”. This gives the appearance that the deal is already sealed, without being to overbearing. If the client doesn’t order right then, there are still notes and prices for a follow up phone call that will be quick and easy.
Step 6 – Follow Up
The selling process doesn’t end with the meeting, remember to follow up. There may not be an order in hand; this is an open door to pursue the client further. Don’t let the opportunity pass by, check back within a reasonable amount of time with additional information and/or products.
In the event that there is an order placed and fulfilled make sure to check back periodically with the intention of continuing the relationship on a long term basis. Many clients won’t take the time to call you back for a reorder, they are waiting for contact.
Selling a product you produce can be fun and exciting; pump yourself up before every meeting and put your entire mind and body into it. Don’t get discouraged if you don’t close every sale, it’s the nature of the game.
When you do close a really great sale and the client is pleased, it results in a tremendous feeling of self satisfaction and accomplishment. That feeling pushes you to achieve higher sales, create better products and of course—it helps your bank account in the end!!!