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Make Your Clients Tell You What Their Budget Is, and 4 More Tips for Sign Managers in May

Knowing what they intend to spend can be a big time-saver.




Most things I worry about never happen anyway.” — Tom Petty, “Crawling Back to You”

TRAINING An Hour a Day

1 Lots of people are willing to put in an hour a day at the gym or elsewhere for physical health. Mike McClure from Ad Art in San Francisco tries to do an hour of career training every day for the wellbeing of the business. Whether it’s sales training or industry training, we all need to be learning and growing every day, he advises.

OPERATIONS Schedule Installations Immediately

2 “As soon as a job hits production, I’m putting it on the install calendar,” says Anita Morrish, Image360 San Antonio West (San Antonio). “From there I’m able to help the production team prioritize due dates. So far it’s worked pretty well — but you have to be realistic on the scheduling dates,” she cautions.

CUSTOMERS Get Their Budget First

3 Require that all customers tell you how much they expect to spend on a sign, suggests Nicole Bergstrom, SmithCraft Signs (Phoenix). “It is true that they often don’t know how much a sign will cost, but they always have an expectation about how much they intend to spend,” she says. Getting to this information quickly saves huge amounts of time “stabbing in the dark.”

CUSTOMERS, PART 2 Keep Calm and Carry On

4 When a client is rushed and pushing, that’s the time to pause, take a breath and think, according to Rochelle Letourneau, Security Signs (Portland, OR). Reacting to their urgency typically leads to mistakes, so model calm for your customers, talk them down and stick with the program. Compromising quality for speed could result in a project that fails to meet their standards; assure them the time investment is worth it.

PRODUCTION iPadding the Shop Floor

5 “We just implemented a shop program that has increased our throughput significantly,” says Mike Hobbs, Integrity Sign Solutions Inc. (New Albany, IN). “iPads in every workstation on the shop floor are a huge help,” he says, though he also points out, “Of course, having the key people in place makes a big difference.”

BANISH HUBRIS Have An Honest Self-Interrogation

6 The Nobel-winning behavioral scientist Daniel Kahneman once said that if he could wave a magic wand and eliminate a single human foible it would be overconfidence. We human beings believe we know more than we really do. In particular, we have unwarranted faith in our forecasting abilities and our intuitions. In The Book of Beautiful Questions, Warren Berger argues the answer to this cognitive blind spot lies in honest self-interrogation, specifically asking yourself these four questions:

  1. Do I think more like a soldier or a scout? (Soldiers defend positions, scouts explore new territory.)
  2. Would I rather be right or would I rather be understanding? (Long-term knowledge is way more valuable than a short-term victory.)
  3. Do I seek out opposing views? (Instead of saying, “Don’t you agree?” say “Tell me if you disagree and explain why.”)
  4. Do I enjoy the pleasant surprise of discovering I’m mistaken? (Being wrong is only a failure if you didn’t learn something new.) Ask yourself them any time, but definitely before your next strategy meeting or review.




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