JUST AS A PERFECT sign isn’t made without a detailed site survey, a thriving sign business isn’t built without truly understanding your customer. The key? Digging deep into your clients’ psychology to unveil the “why” behind their purchases.
Let’s explore why clients reach out to you for signs, the questions that can reveal their true motivations and how this knowledge can be used to give your sales a lift.
Your Clients Are Investing In Results, Not Just Signs
As signmakers, our focus areas might not always align with what our clients are concerned about during the buying process. It’s crucial to step into their shoes.
When clients come to you for signs, they’re not merely seeking a cool sign or a standout display. They’ve got a goal or result in mind — though they’re usually not great at articulating that 😂.
Perhaps a restaurant owner is wanting to draw more customers, a non-profit organization is aiming for more donations or a corporate client is trying to foster team spirit.
They’re investing in the result they believe the sign will help them achieve. Understanding this can enable you to not just meet, but exceed their needs and expectations.
Questions to Ask Your Clients
To create signs that deliver the results your clients want, you need to understand their underlying motivations and goals. Here are some questions that can help you uncover their “why”:
- What’s the primary goal you want this sign to achieve?
This fundamental question will guide your entire design process. The goal could range from boosting foot traffic to enhancing brand recognition to conveying a specific message.
- Who is your target audience?
The intended audience of the sign will greatly influence its design. A sign aimed at teenagers, for example, will likely look quite different from one targeting senior citizens.
- What message do you want to send to your audience?
Every sign sends a message. Knowing the message your client wants to deliver is key to creating a sign that serves its purpose.
- What reaction are you aiming for from those who see your sign?
Do they want passersby to pause and enter their store? Do they want people to feel awe, inspiration, or perhaps a sense of urgency? The desired reaction should influence the sign’s design, color scheme and even font choice.
- Where will the sign be displayed?
The location can influence the size, shape and materials of the sign. An outdoor sign, for instance, needs to withstand weather conditions.
- Are there any specific design preferences or brand guidelines we need to stick to?
Some clients will have strict ideas about how they want their sign to look or specific brand colors and fonts to use.
- What’s your budget?
This will help you decide on the materials and design complexities that can be included in the sign.
- What’s the timeline for this project?
Knowing the project’s deadline can help you manage your workload more effectively and set realistic expectations with the client.
By asking these questions, you can gain a deeper understanding of your client’s needs and expectations.
You’re More Than Just A Signmaker — You’re A Sign Expert
As a professional in the sign industry, you’ve got a wealth of knowledge your clients don’t have. You need to own this — so step into this role.
Here’s how you can leverage your expertise to offer a consultative approach to your clients:
- Be a proactive problem-solver
Don’t simply wait for clients to tell you what they want. Proactively suggest solutions that will help them reach their desired results.For example, if a client wants more foot traffic, you might recommend bold colors or a unique design to grab people’s attention.
- Stay on top of industry trends and best practices
Keep yourself updated with the latest trends in the sign industry and share these with your clients. Whether it’s a new design trend or a more effective manufacturing technique, your clients will appreciate the added value you offer.
- Educate your clients
Part of being consultative is helping your clients understand the process of creating a sign. Educate them about the various materials, manufacturing techniques and design considerations involved in making their sign.
Showing them how the signs are made may seem counterproductive at first — but you’re only strengthening your role as their “sign guy (or gal)”.
Educating them on signage will not only help them make informed decisions but also deepen their trust in your expertise.
Soooo many shop owners fail to do this and I cringe every time I see it. Ultimately it’s on you to educate your clients and guide them to the results they want.
- Show them what’s possible
Clients might not know what they want because they’re unaware of the options. Show them examples of your previous work or innovative designs from the industry to spark inspiration and help them visualize their sign.
- Offer a complete service
From the initial design consultation to production through follow up after installation — be there for your client.
Communicate effectively. Respond quickly. This will position you as not just a supplier, but a trusted partner in their business.
Remember, as a sign professional, your role extends beyond merely taking orders.
Now that you grasp the power of understanding your customers’ why, put this strategy to work.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Begin incorporating the above questions into your initial customer discussions and meetings.
- Analyze their responses and consider how you can meet your customers’ desired outcomes.
- Leverage your expertise to recommend the best solutions.
- Follow up with your clients to ensure the sign is fulfilling their needs and adjust as needed.
When you understand why your customer wants signs, you’ll deliver more personalized and effective service, leading to happier customers and increased sales.
So, why wait? Start implementing the “Get to the Why” approach in your business today.
Find it here! ISA Sign Expo 2023
Whether you're looking to grow your business or advance your career, ISA International Sign Expo® 2023 is the only place to find everything you need to be successful in the sign, graphics, print and visual communications industry.
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