I’ve been getting a lot of requests from business owners to share marketing ideas, and, as I promised in the last blog entry, I will start with this blog entry, the 1st of three parts. I know I don’t like to read super long blogs, so I will try to keep mine short and readable, even though I have volumes to say on the topic. First of all, hope you are all having a great pre-holiday and holiday season so far. We have seen a bump in sales so we know that a lot of you must be experiencing that as well. We did hear a report from a major garment manufacturer who uses our CADCOLOR Solutions product for custom garment decoration, that they recently completed a record month with over 4900 custom–that’s one or two shirts per order–pieces. So rest assured that there is business out there…it’s just up to you if you are going to get any of it! So what determines whether someone has a successful heat-applied decoration business or a great one? Just as in any race where the difference between the winner and second place may be only a second, the difference between the person who gets the sale and the one who doesn’t may be only a little bit of extra effort.
Consistently successful salespeople expend that extra effort every day. The following tips are designed to help businesses that own a heat press and use a vinyl cutter, CAD-CUT materials,transfers, poly-twill, and similar heat-applied products, to do team lettering, custom T-shirts, souvenir shirts, appliqué and corporate identity apparel for a wide range of businesses, groups, and organizations. No matter how long you’ve been in business, there’s always room for improvement. Go down this checklist and see what areas you can expend some extra effort to keep your heat press humming and to boost your bottom line.
1. Find a niche. What can you do better than your competitors? Find the things that are right for you and build that part of your business. Same day service? Free artwork? One shirt, no problem? With the ability to do team lettering and numbers, the sports market is an obvious niche, but there are others. Go online and see the niches that the top custom sites are going after…bachelor parties, reunions, dance teams, 5K runs, mud runs, charity walks, golf outings, class trips, awards banquets, swim meets, diving meets, horse and rodeo events, 4H clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, churches, camps, –there are hundreds of events and groups that need custom tshirts, caps and more. Plus don’t forget to put your spin on corporate identity, work uniforms, spiritwear, safety wear, and you name it…lucrative niches.
2. Know your product. Strong product knowledge about transfers, vinyl cutters, print and cut equipment, and cad materials can help you win more sales. If you know your product’s features and benefits, you can better overcome objections and fit your product to the prospect’s needs. There is a wide range of cad materials designed to work on different substrates as well as offer different hands such as the heavy hand preferred by the sports market vs. a soft hand preferred by most consumer markets. Cad materials also are available that will stretch enough to be used on swim suits, leotards, and performance wear.
3. Know your competition. Not only should you know who you are competing with, you should know what they sell and how they sell it. You can gain a competitive edge with customers by proactively eliminating perceived advantages that the competing company may have. Sure, your competitors might have a slight edge in some areas, but by building your sales presentation to combat those advantages and removing them from the customer’s mind, you can win.
Don’t wait until the prospect brings up a competitive advantage that the competition has sold them on and have to answer it. Eliminate the advantage right upfront.
A big advantage you have with a vinyl cutter and cad materials is the ability to do short-run, fast turnaround. A small order can be turned in an hour if necessary. Be sure to emphasize this versatility and flexibility when making a presentation.
4. Develop a quality presentation. If someone asks “Why should I buy from you?” you should be able to answer without hesitation, giving the person a clear, precise, benefit-filled pitch. Consider making up samples with the prospect’s logo as well as displays showing the colors you offer in cad materials and the different effects. Glitter, reflective, fluorescent, and puff are just some of the specialty materials available.
5. Train your employees using the presentation. All employees can be salespeople for your company if they have the tools. Train employees using your sales presentation so they can help your business grow. Practice makes perfect and the more comfortable they feel presenting your products and services, the more sales they will attract. Just try to think of your own version of “Do you want fries with that?”
6. Practice. Role playing is one of the least-liked sales training activities, yet the most effective. By practicing your presentation in a controlled environment, you gain experience that serves you well when you are face to face with customers.
Okay…that was longer than I wanted it to be…I still have a lot more to say but will continue with Part II soon.
Again, your comments are always welcome and appreciated. Thanks for reading.