Printwear

September '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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52 || P R I N T W E A R S E P T E M B E R 2 0 1 5 Jennifer Cox is the president and co-founder of the National Network of Embroidery Professionals (NNEP), a professional organization for apparel decoration busi- ness owners. NNEP supports the success of NNEP mem- bers with best practices, ideas, sources, solutions, vol- ume-buying benefits, and services. Cox was recognized as a Top 50 Small Business Influencer and Community Choice STITCH SOLUTIONS B Y J E N N I F E R C O X Leader by Small Biz Trends in 2013, is recognized as one of the industry's "Most Creative Thinkers," and repeatedly ranks in the top 40 on the industry's "Power List." Reach her at jennifer@nnep.com or go to www.nnep.com. Embroidery Business G etting sales is not nearly as hard as people like to think, as long as you know and use the rules of the game. Yes, closing a sale is more like a game than most people like to admit. The good news is that when you do know and follow the rules of the sales game, you have a much better chance to win. HAVE A PLAN How often have you gone into a meeting with a customer or po- tential customer without a plan, hoping that they would do what you want? Odds are pretty good that you either came out of that meeting with no sales or without the results you were hoping for. You don't have time to waste when it comes to running your busi- ness and your customers don't either. Don't be that kind of sales person. At best, you look unprofessional. At worst, you look com- pletely incompetent. Not all sales calls are about getting the sale. Sales meetings can be held to connect with the decision maker, to establish an overall plan, or to get a comprehensive understanding of the customer's situation and needs. Establishing the purpose of even asking for a meeting is crucial, and a well-thought out planning process can help you prop- erly prepare for meetings with customers and potential customers. It does not take long, and once you have done it a few times, it will become second nature. ESTABLISH YOUR GOALS Typically, there are five goals or results for any sales meeting: 1. Get them to say yes to your product and services (place an order). 2. Define the problem (so you can respond with appropriate prod- ucts and solutions). 3. Define why they want to fix a problem (how your solutions make their world better). 4. Determine who the decision-makers are and their role in the decision process. 5. Discover their budget limits. Next, know what questions to ask. The right set of questions can help you bring the customer along to the end result you want. 1. Ask the customer what they want to get out of the meeting. This is key, as it enables you to get on the same page with them. If you do not know what they want specifically, how can you help them get it? 2. Determine how long the issue has been around. If they've need- ed logoed apparel for a while, why have they not gotten it until now? Or, are they changing their logo and need to replace ex- isting staff uniforms? These are different motivators for your customer, and knowing more about their current situation will help you present the best options to help them feel good about ordering from you. 3. What happens if they do nothing? You will get answers all over the board from "I will get fired," to "nothing will happen," to "I really need to get this done by this quarter." It is at this point in the conversation that you may get a sense of the budget and the value of your solution. Make the Call Preparation Tips for Sales Calls

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