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  • Designing and working with your customer to confirm orders. How do you do it?

  • Karen White

    Member
    January 12, 2021 at 4:42 pm

    Hi all,

    Wanting to pick your brains again, if I may?

    How do you handle designing for your customer?

    1, Do you ask the customer to come and see you?
    Sit down with a coffee and go over what’s required.

    2, Do you go to the customer and design using a laptop?
    Sit down with a coffee and go over what’s required.

    3, Easy option, do you email a screenshot of a PDF?

    4, A different option altogether?

    I do not mean start from scratch with designs alongside the customer. I just mean showing them what is on offer and tweaking to suit.

    If you do this on-site with the customer, do you use a particular type of laptop, iPad etc?
    I like the idea of it and think it may come over as a more personal and professional approach.

    I know the argument regarding Covid on this, but I cannot dwell much longer on “what if?” all the time. I need to work on for the sake of my business.

    thank you for reading.

  • Martyn Heath

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 6:00 am

    Hi karen, firstly and most importantly, never ever coffee! always tea, drop of milk no sugar.

    All my communication, proofs etc are done by email. I think the key to this working well is not to overlaod the customer with literature. Keep it simple and let their eyes do the work

  • David Hammond

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 7:42 am

    Going seeing a customer to design is a No No from me for the following reasons:

    1) Time is Money – Unless they’re paying for it, you’re adding more time, and no assurances you’ll get the job. That time could be better spent – Following up quotes, cold calling, blog on your website, etc.

    2) What if they’re not where they should be, too busy? Again, a waste of time, and fuel.

    3) They want YOU, so IMHO they should come to you.

    99% of our work we do remotely by email, the most important thing to extract is their budget so you’ve a decent starting point. Before lockdown we did invite people in for a 1-2-1 design, at least if they didn’t show up we could just get on with other stuff.

    Ideally get some £££’s before you start the design, at the very least send a low resolution proof. I’ve had a few send editable artwork, only to discover it’s not scale, and when enlarged it’s had a filter applied so all the paths are jagged. DO NOT HAND OVER EDITABLE FILES.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    January 13, 2021 at 8:50 am

    Good topic Karen, Ill add to this a bit later.

    Hi karen, firstly and most importantly, never ever coffee! always tea, drop of milk no sugar.

    😄

    I can’t stand Coffee, either. 🙂😏

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 11:17 am

    Never, ever, ever, ever, design a layout with the customer present. Never!

    Get the information from them and do it in your own time. I now refuse to sit down with a customer to “tweak” a layout because I know how much grief this causes me .

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 11:55 am

    I positively relish the client coming to my workshop for design, giving up a little of their time shows they are at least serious. I ask a series of questions to learn a little about their business, ascertain a realistic budget that they have available & spend around an hour on the average design session. They make any amendments there & then, get quoted & booked in instantly. Any time I’ve tried to do this over email, I’ve found myself chasing my tail. My time is as important as theirs so going on site to design is definitely not happening here. I can’t speak for everyone as we all do things differently & there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. Artwork is NEVER released until payment is received & we have a very high conversion rate, so it does work for us.

    Now, the tea discussion.

    Definitely Yorkshire tea with 2.5 sugars. Unless you’re at my workshop where the water is barely suitable for washing vans. It has to be coffee here I’m afraid

    • Hugh Potter

      Member
      January 13, 2021 at 12:31 pm

      Completely agree, I’ve had 5 customers come in over the past week and a bit, all with little idea of what they want… all have left having increased their budget and it’s been a good start to the year. Once they’re here they can see various wrap swatches for some trick colours / colour combo’s, idea’s can be fleshed out there and then with real time changes in reaction to their reaction! I get a far higher conversion rate with a customer that comes and sits down for an hour, than those you spend equally as long chatting with via email.

      • David Hammond

        Member
        January 13, 2021 at 12:33 pm

        This is the route we’re going too.

        Those who e-mail, or call and expect a price, are just shopping on price.

        I’m more confident dealing face 2 face, and as Hugh says allows you get the swatches out, take a look at their vehicle etc.

        You can always put a time limit on it. I don’t redraw logo’s etc whilst they’re there, what’s the point in them sitting there bored. Thrash out the basics, get it agreed, get paid, and send a final proof.

  • Robert Lambie

    Administrator
    January 13, 2021 at 11:57 am

    Never, ever, ever, ever, design a layout with the customer present. Never!

    No No… tell us what you really mean, Phill! 🤣🤣🤣

    • Phill Fenton

      Member
      January 13, 2021 at 12:43 pm

      The problems I have experienced amount to the customer wanting to see a whole range of different permutations font’s colours etc. Worse still he may have a free afternoon so want to sit there all day going through all the various options and still can’t make up his mind.

      I stand by my earlier plea, never , ever , ever , ever, ever , ever sit down and design with the customer present.

      He’ll suck you dry. You mark my words….

      But if you still insist on doing it – Nescafe white no sugar…

  • Stephen Morriss

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 12:40 pm

    Initial communication via tel or email, once they have had a design (small jpg only) they can come over to tweak the design (I don’t allow this currently though)

    Steve

  • Phill Fenton

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 12:56 pm

    If you insist on doing it, get yourself an old Taxi Meter and makes sure it’s switched on when the customer is present. It will help to focus his mind when he watches the £’s ticking up

    • Robert Lambie

      Administrator
      January 15, 2021 at 1:15 pm

      I know we are laughing about this, but something like this “IS” required! 🤣

      how it could be done in a professional and subtle fashion is the question?! 🤓

  • Kevin Mahoney

    Member
    January 13, 2021 at 1:42 pm

    I take 5 minutes to go through our galleries to get an idea of what kind of thing they’re looking for. This is usually a pointless exercise as they never leave with what they ask for. After they point a few out, the next inevitable question is ‘roughly how much for something like that?’

    If they wince at the price, I bring them back down to this planet with a more realistic option. If they react positively then I take them forward into how we can improve it with a rough idea of what the final invoice will be. Saves hours of going backwards & forwards with emails (even saving an illustrator file as a jpg is wasted time & effort).

    Remember, very few of your competitors will offer this level of tailor made design, more likely give them a blanket price as to a particular model of van or ‘average’ sized sign (is there such a thing?)

    I often ask what made them choose us over a competitor & am always told ‘you were the only one who put any effort in, or the other bloke didn’t give us any ideas’

    I love the challenge of winning the job, great buzz when your work is favoured above the guy down the road who ‘does the stickers’

    Anyway, gold blend is the only stuff that makes the water palatable here, tenner a jar but I sneak that onto customers quotes if they’re particularly obnoxious

    • Hugh Potter

      Member
      January 15, 2021 at 11:22 am

      Totes agree!

      Also, of course, once they’ve chosen the basic colours @ x amount, there’s the old “leave the fancy wrap swatch colours on show” element… almost guaranteed to catch the eye and upsell, despite the fancy colour being £20 a metre more than the one they chose!

      • Kevin Mahoney

        Member
        January 15, 2021 at 11:51 am

        Very true Hugh, you can’t unsee it, once it’s out there, they want it whatever the cost, sell the wife, the children & the family silver.

        Does this sales technique make us manipulating crooks?

        • David Hammond

          Member
          January 15, 2021 at 11:58 am

          Nope makes you sound like sales people.

          That’s the difference – Sales/business people 1st, signmaker 2nd. It’s very much the route we’ll be going. Sticking the stickers on is the easy bit!

          I did a van in May for a guy who fitted my kitchen. The company who did a crap design for free contacted him last week asking if he still waned it doing 😲

          • Kevin Mahoney

            Member
            January 15, 2021 at 12:20 pm

            I’m lucky enough to say that I’ve never had to chase a client down to get a yes or no from them, always seems desperate ( even though it’s probably the correct way to be) but my clients would say it’s much likelier them chasing me down to give them a day for install. We’re currently giving days away twice over & thinking we’ll manage, reality will kick in soon

            • David Hammond

              Member
              January 15, 2021 at 12:25 pm

              I think it’s much easier to convert face 2 face, and easier to sell face 2 face. Easier to get over objections.

              Where as, doing it remotely, sending a design, or a quote by e-mail, or whatever, you’ve got to follow up on it.

              If you can get a ‘yes’ from them there and then, pull out the card machine and boom, you’re on.

              • Kevin Mahoney

                Member
                January 15, 2021 at 12:33 pm

                Definitely mate, you’re in the driving seat at your desk, makes them feel lucky to get your time & much more likely to strike while the irons hot. I put my job board on the wall at the side of them & they see how quickly it’s filling up. They become quite compliant once they realise you aren’t desperate for their work, I ca act pretty cool when presenting the cost even if I’m secretly doing mental cartwheels at the thought of buying a new motorbike with what they’re about to pay me

                • David Hammond

                  Member
                  January 15, 2021 at 12:37 pm

                  I do the same, pull up google calendar, we can do it then… although at the moment we’re not particularly busy. What work we have got in is making reasonable money… I’d rather be a little busier though.

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