Connect with us

Ask Signs of the Times

How to Align Sign Sales and Production Teams

Plus, “the secret” to doubling sales in one year, and more.




What are the secrets to getting sales and production on the same team?

It’s only a secret if the sales and production teams don’t communicate with each other. Seriously, communication is probably the most important requirement to work well together. Over the past months and years we have heard from Brain Squad members who have implemented paperless communication systems, shedding the dreaded job packets which don’t keep everyone up-to-the-minute informed. Regular meetings between sales and production will also aid coordination between the teams. Production could let sales know certain jobs might take longer, or that new sign products or features might now be possible. Sales can provide regular updates on what they’re bringing in so production can plan accordingly. Lastly, informal events such as Friday lunches or even something like a bowling outing — good-naturedly pitting sales versus production — can build goodwill and rapport between the departments and even yield actionable ideas. Get these people together in myriad ways and soon everyone will be pulling in the same direction.

What’s the most effective way to double sales within a calendar year?

While this question might be more appropriate for 2006’s infamous self-help book by Rhonda Byrne, The Secret, there are a couple of ways to effect a doubling of sales in one calendar year. One is to open up a new channel of products or services, the revenue for which will double your current annual sales. For example, a starter print shop can add a router or laser engraver to enter a new market, or an electric shop can start providing installation as a service instead of subbing it out. Another way is to acquire another sign company with sales approximately equal to your own. While it may not be easy, merging with another company isn’t all that uncommon. Our Business of Signs columnist Maggie Harlow, CEO of Signarama Downtown (Louisville, KY), recently bought out a local friendly competitor. Though she says she initially underestimated the difficulty and process, by the end of one year she had solved the issues (see ST, April 2023). Good luck!

How can I build a team that doesn’t need around-the-clock monitoring? It’s tiring for management and for the staff as well, I’m sure.

A lot of it comes down to trust. The research of neuroeconomist Paul Zak has identified the brain chemical oxytocin — shown to facilitate collaboration and teamwork — as a key player in this regard. The higher the levels, the more energetic and collaborative the workers. In Trust Factor: The Science of Creating High-Performance Companies, he details a framework for creating a culture of trust and building a happier, more loyal and more productive workforce. The framework includes eight key management behaviors that stimulate oxytocin production and generate trust: 1) Recognize excellence; 2) Induce “challenge stress”; 3) Give people discretion in how they do their work; 4) Enable job crafting; 5) Share information broadly; 6) Intentionally build relationships; 7) Facilitate whole-person growth; and 8) Show vulnerability. Ultimately, Zak concludes, managers can cultivate trust by setting a clear direction, giving people what they need to see things through, and then getting out of their way.

Want to see your questions featured in this department? Send your emails to:




Introducing the Sign Industry Podcast

The Sign Industry Podcast is a platform for every sign person out there — from the old-timers who bent neon and hand-lettered boats to those venturing into new technologies — we want to get their stories out for everyone to hear. Come join us and listen to stories, learn tricks or techniques, and get insights of what’s to come. We are the world’s second oldest profession. The folks who started the world’s oldest profession needed a sign.

Promoted Headlines

Most Popular