February '18

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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20 || P R I N T W E A R F E B R U A R Y 2 0 1 8 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 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 or go to STITCH SOLUTIONS B Y J E N N I F E R C O X S elling anything, even embroidered and decorated apparel, is more difficult than it ever has been because the rules of the game have changed. Yet, not many companies have evolved their sales process to keep up with the new game. Years ago, when you wanted to buy something, you would go to the store and talk with a salesperson about it. You trusted what they told you, and if it was a more expensive purchase, you prob- ably went to more than one store to learn as much as you could before you made your purchase. We needed the information pro- vided by salespeople to make an informed buying decision. In today's world, we can research practically anything in just a few minutes on the internet. We collect information and frequent- ly make purchase decisions without ever talking to anyone that knows anything about that particular product. It is not that people are that much smarter now than they were 20 years ago; people simply have access to much more information and feedback via the phone in the palm of their hand. Still, we approach the sales process the same way as we did 20 years ago. Why? Prospects begin a conversation with us about their need for some decorated apparel or products after probably doing at least a basic The Game Has Changed …and what to do about it

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