December '16

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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84 || P R I N T W E A R D E C E M B E R 2 0 1 6 the store? Did your last vehicle have the fewest of options avail- able from the dealer? People love options and often don't want the cheapest selection available. It is important to realize that al- though people are price conscious when it comes to apparel, they also greatly appreciate options. If you sell higher-quality items at the same margin as your cheaper ones, you make more profits and increase revenue. This will also help you outsell your competition. How many competitors offer good, better, best options when it comes to their choice of blanks? You will stand out from the crowd when you offer your customers the ability to choose what's right for them. The great news is the option they choose is likely to be a more profitable one for you. They get a better garment, and you make more money. DEVELOP A SALES PLAN AND FOLLOW IT Word-of-mouth is a huge way to earn business in the custom ap- parel industry. Although this is an easy way to get started and grow, you can still reach a plateau. Also, just because you were referred the business doesn't mean the customer will choose to use your company. They may still be shopping around. If you want to start making more money right away, develop a simple sales plan and stick to it. We can break down the sales plan into four steps. 1. Generate new leads. The first thing you need to do is gener- ate new prospects. This step includes those referrals you get from word-of-mouth. You should also consider other ways to generate potential clients to get your phone ringing. These can include: • Visiting local businesses in-person to introduce yourself • Attending local business events like chamber of commerce meetings • Locally advertising in print media, radio, TV, direct mail, or the internet • Advertising with online cost-per-click advertising • Calling local companies to offer your services • Creating a referral network with other business owners like sign shops or printers All of these might be foreign or intimidating to you, but take the time to learn and perfect one or more of these lead-generating tools. Anything you can do in-person will provide you immedi- ate results. It's not always about trying to sell people, but creating an active word-of-mouth by letting more people know who you are. Using the internet can also be a fantastic way to launch sales higher. Either way, just pick a method that best suits your skills and become a professional. 2. Follow up with potential customers. Once you have some incoming prospects, whether you generated them yourself or they MARKETING TIPS

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