June '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 18 of 102

16 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 6 Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on busi- ness development and management subjects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is presently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to im- prove profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to I f you've been in business for as little as six months, chances are you've encountered a customer stating some variation of the headline above. So, what's the underlying message here? Is this customer reporting the results of comprehensive market research? Hardly. The next time you hear this claim, take a glance at your watch. Note the time. In as little as five minutes, if the customer is still in your presence or on the phone, one of the six conditions discussed below must be true. Let's explore these possibilities and learn how to handle this situation. OF SIX CONDITIONS, ONE IS TRUE Years ago, I had the pleasure of attending a day-long seminar entitled "How to Sell at Prices Higher than Your Competitors." In it, Dr. Larry Steinmetz revealed the most logical reasons a customer would take the time to tell you, "This same stuff can be purchased at a lower price elsewhere." Consider the following: • The customer can get it cheaper, but for some reason: o she doesn't want to. o she'd better not. o she really can't. • The customer can't get it cheaper because . . . o he's lying. o it's unavailable. o it's not the same stuff. The first one is a no-brainer, but significant all the same. She can buy the exact same thing at a lower price, but she really doesn't want to. Why? It could be because the lower-priced company is a pain with which to do business. Or, it's clear across town and traffic is unbearable. Or, there's something about the company that she just doesn't like or trust. What this customer is saying is that she really would rather do business with you, but she's not comfortable or not authorized to spend as much as you're asking. What should you do? Feel sorry? Lower your price and forever give up the chance to sell that item for the amount you know you need to get? Don't think she won't spread the word about what a great deal she got and how she compelled you to "work with her." Ideally, you'll be able to demonstrate that the benefits of doing business with you are worth the selling price. If you can't show this, consider instead changing the product itself, the delivery schedule, or the condi- tions of the offer as a balanced trade-off. Perhaps you could offer a less-expensive garment or simpler embellishment proce- dure to bring the price down. Or, suggest increasing the quantity of the order to be able to offer a volume discount. When you How to Handle the "I Can Buy It Cheaper Down the Block" Claim Defending your price is a fundamental skill you must master YOUR PERSONAL BUSINESS TRAINER B Y V I N C E D I C E C C O continued on page 18

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