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Getting Organized and Staying in Touch with Sign Clients Top February’s Tips

Plus, always use a written disclaimer when removing graphics.




“It’s a very important thing to learn to talk to people you disagree with.” — Pete Seeger


1 Jeremy VanderKraats of Signs by Van (Salinas, CA) recommends sending weekly emails. Greg Gimbert of Southeastern Lighting Solutions (Daytona Beach, FL) suggests taking the time to check in with customers about their plans for this year. And the simple phone call is key for Joe Allen of So Easy Signs (Middletown, OH): “I’m amazed at the amount of business we garner by simply answering the phone or returning a call. You just never know. Acorns can grow into oak trees!”


2 “Never be too busy to give a walk-in customer a bit of your time,” advises John Miller of Signs by Autografix (Branford, CT). Refer the customer to a more suitable place if the job is too small or not in your wheelhouse. “Remember, they took the time to come to your shop. You should respect that and at least give them a few minutes of your time,” Miller concludes.

OPERATIONS Organizing Is Cleanliness

3 Chaw Lawson, Sign Pro of Skagit Valley (Mount Vernon, WA) extols the virtues of cleanliness and tidiness. “Clean, clean, clean… We found keeping our shop in top shape helps us be more productive and efficient.” Not just limited to the physical space, Cody McElroy of Commercial Signs (Houma, LA) recommends organizing all jobs according to specific areas. “If you know about how long a job will take to do, you may send one to two other jobs with the crew and save on travel time,” he says.

MARKETING Digital Footprint

4 Embrace digital tools and online platforms for marketing, customer engagement and operational efficiency, says Edward Shinn of Ed Shinn Signs (Mt. Morris, MI). A comprehensive digital package includes a user-friendly website, SEO strategies, and software for design and project management. “This change can significantly broaden your market reach, improve operational efficiency and enhance customer engagement, leading to substantial growth in your business,” according to Shinn.

SPECIALIZATION A Specific Strength

5 Find a part of the business that you enjoy and can profit from, advises Louis Pascuzzi of Economy Signs (Danbury, CT). “For my shop it is lettering trucks. That’s the bulk of our business.” This niche should play to your strength and confer to you an advantage that other niches might not allow. For Pascuzzi, truck lettering has no permits or sign-structure installations involved. “After the initial design most of the repeats are a quick drop-off with no additional artwork or approvals,” he adds.


GIVE IT 85% Setting a Done-For-The-Day Time

6 As a pep talk staple, “Go out there and give it 100%!” makes intuitive sense. More effort should lead to greater success. Only it doesn’t. In a wide number of fields, from Olympic sprinting to academic learning to the shop floor, demanding the optimal invariably leads to burnout, discouragement and poorer results over the long haul. It’s the rationale behind the 85% Rule, which recommends aiming for a sweet spot just short of maximum effort to achieve high performance. In an article in The Harvard Business Review, business author Greg McKeown suggests implementing the 85% Rule specifically by setting a done-for-the-day time, explicitly telling employees to aim for 85% effort, and watching out for unnecessarily high-pressure language like “ASAP” and “urgent” in communications. Yep, he’s saying you should leave a little in the locker room.



Tip Briefs

  • Order inventory for the spring sports season now. — Jake Zani, Rule Signs & Graphics (Randolph, VT)
  • Approach every deal as an expert consultant rather than a salesperson pushing your product. Industry knowledge is great, but understanding your client’s needs for a specific application is key. — Matt Robinson, Eastern Sign Tech, Burlington, NJ
  • Have your designer be part of the sales process. If the client needs excessive proofing, charge for it. You will be surprised how quickly they make a decision. — Dominic Tancredi, Woodshed Stage Art, Cleveland, OH
  • Always use a written disclaimer or proviso for removal of graphics, or when a client brings you their own materials for installation on a project or expects more than a few design drafts. — Larry Mitchell, SignChef, El Dorado Hills, CA



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