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A New Strategy for Visiting Suppliers at Trade Shows, Plus More Tips for Signshops in September

Also, why starting small is the secret to changing employee behavior.

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FLEET WRAPSMake “House Calls” for Multiples

1 “We prefer installing fleets in our shop, but we understand the expense of transportation,” wrote Larry Mitchell, SignChef, El Dorado Hills, CA. “If the client has three or more identical, or five or more variable vehicle installs, we arrange to install on-site.” Mitchell often does these after normal business hours or on weekends and always adds a trip charge. “An offsetting advantage to us for the extra effort is the ability to prep, layout, and install multiple vehicles at a time, which can be a big time-saver,” he wrote.

TRADE SHOWSHave Staff Visit Established Suppliers

2When you bring staff to a show like printing United, do you visit all your current suppliers and let your staff discover new ones? It should be the opposite. You’ve already got a relationship with the older suppliers, so it might be useful for them to meet new people within your business. Since you’ve got extra bodies, place current suppliers at the top of the “to-see” list for staff members. Not only can these exhibitors give valuable insights about current or new printing and signage products, but your business will benefit from the strengthened relationship.

SALESIf You Want to Make a Sale

3Follow up and call again, advised Jenny Collins, Widmer Sign Co., Scranton, PA. As evidence, she quoted these August 2014 statistics from the National Sales Executive Association, as reported on venturebeat.com: 48% of salespeople never follow up with a prospect and 80% of sales are made on the fifth to 12th contact!

MANAGEMENTChange Requires Focus

4Changing employee behaviors is one of the toughest things to do as a business owner or manager. People generally like the status quo. The secret is to start small, one step at a time, said Morten T. Hansen, writing on the Harvard Business Review blog. “People need clear direction. If you bombard them with eight values or 12 competencies you want them to practice,” you will be met with resistance, he wrote. A better approach is to focus on changing one behavior at a time.

BRANDINGEvery Message Is a Branding Message

5“Oh, it’s just a ‘Help Wanted’ ad. The only people who are going to see it are people looking for jobs.” Wrong way to think. You need to view every type of business activity as a chance to engage people and seed your story. That means doing things like adding your company slogan and web address everywhere and making the extra effort to ensure that your company logo appears correctly. You might even spend a few extra dollars for the featured ad option. Make sure that every place your brand can be seen, no matter how small, sends a message of quality.

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PRODUCTIVITYChunk It In

6Harried? Feeling like you’re always reacting to events and never controlling them? You sound like every other business owner we know. Here’s a tip to save you a few minutes a day and get back some feeling of control. It’s called “chunking,” which refers to completing similar types of work at the same time. For example, you’ve got a number of calls to return or accounts to chase down: Set aside a block of time dedicated to getting them all done in one focused hit. Accomplishing a number of similar tasks at one time is more effective than bouncing from one task to another.

STRATEGYGauge Your Risk and Let It Fly

7Here’s a great quote that’s easy to get lodged in your head and good to have stuck in there: “If the risks are low, fear must go.” What it means is… don’t obsess about every decision. Ask yourself: Is this action low-risk? If the answer is “yes,” and you think the action might work, go for it 100 percent and don’t look back. If it doesn’t work, the risk was low anyway, so try something else.

PRODUCTIVITY Embrace the Tedium

8Stuck on a problem? Go find something really boring to do. Researchers found that students who were asked to copy out the phone book, for instance, tended to come up with significantly more creative solutions to common brain teasers at a later point compared with those spared the tedium. Sandi Mann, who led the research at the University of Central Lancashire, suspects that the boring activity encouraged the students’ minds to wander, spurring more flexible thinking in the creative task. “Paradoxically, the best way to deal with boredom is to let more of it into your lives,” she said.

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