When meeting with a potential client to talk about a custom apparel order, you can never be too prepared. While you may know everything there is to know about your business, and may be able to effectively communicate that knowledge, there is still a need for supplements that can communicate your knowledge in different ways, even after you are gone. So, take the time beforehand to gather any sales materials that your suppliers can offer and create everything else that you might need yourself. There is only one chance to make a good first impression, so make sure that you have all the tools and information necessary in order to promote your business and close sales.
Supplier Literature, Tools, & Resources
Most blank apparel suppliers will provide sales literature like swatch cards, catalogs, and high resolution mockup photos in addition to other useful marketing tools and resources. Swatch Cards are a helpful tool for you and your customers, and they should always be present at a sales meeting. The cards allow the customer to compare and contrast colors from brand to brand, and informs them of which products are available in each color, which is helpful. Many suppliers offer custom-printed catalogs, which allow a custom decoration shop to be able to hand out blank product catalogs with their own logo and relevant information printed on them, rather than the supplier’s. Most suppliers do not charge for the custom printing. Instead, they usually just have you pay for the shipping. Some suppliers will also provide miniature catalogs and fliers that can also be useful as a less overwhelming version of the original.
An exciting new trend in which suppliers offer high resolution images and HD videos for their clients to use on their websites, or other marketing materials, has become more common of late. This allows a decoration shop to create high-quality mockups by downloading high definition photos straight from their supplier’s website. Unbranded videos provided by suppliers are great for communicating your product line through a video without confusing customers. Many suppliers will now even provide an unbranded website. This may be used as a way to show your entire product line, or even sell blank apparel to consumers. All these tools are quite useful. Also, since they are free they are at least worth looking into.
Promotion Literature: Business Cards & Flyers
Once you have obtained product information materials from your suppliers, you will need to turn your focus to your own custom sales materials. The first thing you will need, if you do not already have them, is business cards. Business cards are usually inexpensive, and they allow you to spread your contact information and decoration services to anyone you come in contact with. Although business cards can be inexpensive, spending a little extra money on them is not a bad idea. A higher quality business card is less likely to get lost in a wallet with other business cards, and should make an impression on your potential client. After all, any promotional literature should accurately reflect your brand. In theory, showing off excellent attention to detail with such a small part of your business should impress upon potential clients (even if just subconsciously) that you are just as meticulous with the rest of your business.
Another very handy piece of literature to create is a flier. The flier should mention who you are, what you do, how you do it, and why you are the business for custom-decorated products. Flyers are essentially an expanded version of your business card that include your pitch. When you meet with potential clients you should always give them your business card and pitch them your business. Flyers allow you to accomplish this with a large group of potential clients without the face-to-face interactions. Now, pitching does not necessarily mean that you are explicitly selling your products or services, rather you are informing potential customers what you and your business are capable of from a product and service standpoint. If you can provide a sales flier with every pitch, then you will help your potential client remember what you do and why they should choose you the next time they require the products or services you provide. Both business cards and fliers have become much easier to design with templates that allow you to quickly plug your content into established, high-quality designs.
Sales Literature: Price Sheets & Order Forms
The next piece of literature you will need to create are pricing sheets. Some custom decoration shops make their pricing much more difficult than it needs to be, and therefore often confuse their customers. We, at Print Phase, highly suggest keeping just two types of price sheets. One price sheet for blank products and the other for your decoration processes. The reason we suggest two price sheets is that it makes bundling orders together and calculating quantity discounts much simpler. For example, many screen printing orders involve printing the same design onto different types of products. All a screen print shop is concerned with are the total number of prints, as there is a discount as the quantity increases. Depending on the total quantity, your customer can then quickly figure out how much it will cost to print each blank product. Another reason to have separate pricing sheets is so that you can give a quick quote if a customer brings you their own product for you to decorate. However, we do not suggest allowing customers to provide products for you to decorate.
Another piece of literature that you will need to create are order forms. Having an order form available while meeting with a client allows you to easily illustrate how your pricing works by creating a sample order of whatever products or services you are discussing. For a product decoration business, an order form should contain the following information: customer contact information, product information, a sizing breakdown, and a place to sketch an example of the design. By creating a simple sketch of the design you can make sure that you and your customer are on the same page as far as decoration location on the product, and the color scheme of the artwork.
Depending on the potential value of the client that you are meeting with, you might want to create digital mockups featuring products with the client’s logo on them. Mockups do not take too much time to create once you are a practiced hand, and they do not cost you anything but your time. By going into a meeting prepared with suggested products with their logo you can give them a good visualization of how their finished products might look, while also illustrating your commitment to securing their business.
There are many decoration businesses to compete with, but you can begin to put your business in a better position than your competition by creating solid promotional and sales literature. There are primarily three things that customers take into consideration when it comes to choosing the business to order from: price, quality, & service. From our experience, most small businesses care more about service and quality than price. By developing a good pitch and providing quality and enticing literature you should be able to successfully pitch your business to almost anyone. While your prices will be a factor in a potential client’s decision to purchase, all you can ask for is a chance to show your quality. This may be accomplished by making the best first impression possible by providing potential clients and customers with excellent promotional and sales materials.