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Post Mon Mar 15, 2004 11:54 pm

Sales Prevention Officer

My wife often laughs and calls me the "Sales Prevention Officer" because of my off-handed and cynical dealings with many enquiries... I was particularly on form today:- :-? :-?

Customer no. 1 was a biker who wanted to know if I could do some Celtic designs to go on his trike. I explained that as I was not a graphic artist unless he had something I could copy then I could not help him. He said he could provide a tattoo which I could scan .....(I hoped it wasn't on his *rse :-? ) so I offered him some prices to scan and reproduce a tatoo and print some stickers.... Either my prices were too high, or my abrasive attitude was too much for him but he left without giving me the order :roll:

Customer no. 2 was a boy racer in his Corsa complete with spotty youthful sidekick and brainless girlfriend. He began by saying he wanted 60 or so car stickers but would initially only need 2 or 3 and could I show him some examples of what I could do for him. Well...given that I tend to have an intense dislike for spotty youths and their noisy cars/girlfriends I declined from being too helpful. Eventually I got out of him that he wanted some lettering to put on his car - roughly this size (and he held his hands out) by that size (and he held his hands out again) :roll: . I took out my calculator - punched in some numbers and declared that I could supply him with some pre-spaced lettering, roughly "this size by that size" for £7.11 + VAT each.
Hmm...I'll have to think about it (he said) and off he went to pester someone else :(

Customer no. 3 was a chap wanting "A Professional Job" done on his transit pickup. Yes I'm a professional signmaker (I informed him - Hackles raised) and offered up some ball park figures to do the job. That's far to expensive he says - so I gave him his business card back and explained that In that case I could not help him. He then began haggling asking me to supply pre-spaced lettering for him to fit himself. Well - I had been about to go out to visit a client when he first turned up - and by now I was running late for my appointment, so finally I snapped and told him in my best Basil Fawlty voice that "to be perfectly blunt he was wasting my time and holding me back from my appointment". I almost had to bundle him out of the door in order to be able to get on and do my work. :oops:

I work from a small industrial unit in an industrial estate so do not get many time wasters - most of my customers are other small businesses who respect my time and efforts required in the creation of artwork for their signs. Their expectations are realistic and they are prepared to pay a reasonable rate for their signs.

I just wondered what methods others use to give suspect customers the polite (and sometimes not so polite) brush off.
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:18 am

totally agree phil!! with everything you have said!
if i have an awkward customer, regarding prices! i just say that's my price and i'm not lowering it! take it or leave it! as like everyone else that can do signage, they will get a good job!!
i have stopped doing boy racer cars! one guy ordered a vauxhall sun strip and logo's in december last year! (i dont like doing them as they waste my time) his friend phoned in january (are they ready) i told him i gave them away to someone for free and if he wants any more he has to pay upfront before i do anything!!
they have not been back!! :P :P (by the way phil you would get on fab with ed (the other half) he reacts the same as you) fab fun!! :D :D

Nik
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 12:21 am

I don't think there is anything wrong with your attitude Phill, you have a business to run and if they're wasting your time, its fair play. I remember Steve B's post, where he handed the timewaster a brush and a tin of paint and kindly asked him to vacate his premises (not those exact words, but close enough) :D

I have time-wasters galore atm Phill, mainly because its a new shop and they want a nosey and a chat. Usually I'm more than happy to have a chat and discuss what I do, but there are a couple who just keep coming into the shop who are rather annoying and I know they have little intention of ordering or recommending my services. They amble aimlessly around the area all day, how they earn a living is beyond me, unless they win it at the bookies next door :o

Simple trick, mobile phone in pocket, my shop number on speed-dial, and hey presto! "I'm awefully sorry, I have to answer the phone. Hope to speak to you again soon".. with that, I disappear into my office, pickup the phone (simultaneously switching the mobile off) saying "Signs for the times..." and I hear the lovely beep of the door as the problematic person leaves :D

If its a boy-racer, I'll stand and chat for quite a while, but asking questions of them. What type of stuff do they like? What do their friends like? etc etc Cheapest market research I've ever done :wink: And if they don't fancy ordering, its Nokia time again :lol:

Cheers, Dewi
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:32 am

I always get time wasters when I`m really bussy.

My method of getting rid of them is go in with a high price.

Or say "no problem, but I can`t do anything for a month."

This week I`ve had to give a couple of high quotes so I don`t get the job, but if by chance I do, then the moneys worth dropping something or working longer.

Boy racers I get on quite well with. I get a few refurals from other signmakers, who seem to think theres no money in it.
Most want either a sunstrip with logo, or sponsors logos down the side of the door. These are easy money as it takes only a few minutes to plonk 5 logos above each other. Then cut out x 2. We charge £30-£40 depending upon what material they want. Etch is the most popular.

But on the whole it is frustrating, we had a customer in last month for 90 minutes. One of the worst things we ever did was to buy 2 chairs for the office. Once the customers sit on these then I know we are in for a long haul.
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:27 pm

We all get enquiries from time to time that are not perfectly suited to our business. How we deal with these customers and their potential business is not only a refection of our professionalism but can also help save valuable time.

We have a basic set of rules / procedures which help us to control our customers and their enquiries.

* Politeness: We are polite whatever the situation and regardless of the customers attitude or size of enquiry.
* Information: Find out as much as possible about the customer. What's the potential? If I feel that there could be business mileage in the customer I will often make exceptions to our rules in order to build a relationship.
* We have a minimum order value below which it is not financially viable for our business to enter into a transaction. If I suspect the enquiry may fall short of this amount I mention it as early as possible so as not to waste mine or the customers time.
* Don't argue, it'll only make you look 'small time': Remain firm, polite and stick to your system.
* Alternatives: "This really isn't best suited to our facilities/capacity etc.. at the moment however I can give you the number of someone else you can try"

Finally, try to model yourself on someone more successful than a fictitious, failed hotelier from Tourquay.
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 2:58 pm

I agree with Phill and the Basil Fawlty approach - I get the occasional time waster and you can spot them as soon as their lips part - if not sooner. Nothing annoys me more.
:evil:
Ken - I admire your professionalism but some of them really do need beating with a dead tree or having a garden gnome inserted into the nosiest of their orifices.
Col
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:06 pm

coolinshot wrote:Ken - I admire your professionalism but some of them really do need beating with a dead tree or having a garden gnome inserted into the nosiest of their orifices.


Although I tend to deal at the larger end of the market not a week goes by where I don't think "oh just f#@k off and bother some other poor soul you f#@king waste of space!" at some point during the proceedings.

In all seriousness I value my time highly so I am able to get rid of time wasters faster than anyone else in the company, I mean really fast. No fancy tricks or methods. I just tell them to go away.
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:06 pm

Sound advice Ken. I must try to follow it. :D

Unfortunately I sometimes find it difficult to remain polite when I'm struggling with a very important job and they won't take the hint. :(
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:14 pm

johnchilds wrote:Sound advice Ken. I must try to follow it. :D

Unfortunately I sometimes find it difficult to remain polite when I'm struggling with a very important job and they won't take the hint. :(


That's the 'Polite, honest but firm' bit:

You say: I can't help you until I've finished this job. Can I take your number and call you when this is finished.

You want to say: For f@#ks sake you moron. Isn't it f@#king obvious that I'm up to my @rse in aligators at the moment... now p#ss off.
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:25 pm

talk about timing - as soon as I posted my last message the door opens and in walks two grinning buffoons - armed with print outs of a "DESIGN" they did in Microsoft Word. Even better timing - my printer decides to chew up the vinyl it's printing on so I had a genuine excuse to palm them onto somebody else - Is it really against the law to shoot them?
Col
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:34 pm

coolinshot wrote:talk about timing - as soon as I posted my last message the door opens and in walks two grinning buffoons - armed with print outs of a "DESIGN" they did in Microsoft Word. Even better timing - my printer decides to chew up the vinyl it's printing on so I had a genuine excuse to palm them onto somebody else - Is it really against the law to shoot them?


Ah, now idiots coming in off the street is different. Not only are you allowed to shoot them but you're also allowed to take the wallets off the corpses.

... put some platic sheeting down first.
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:40 pm

That's more like it Ken - I'm off to B&Q to get some visk ... visqu .....plastic sheeting
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:46 pm

coolinshot wrote:That's more like it Ken - I'm off to B&Q to get some visk ... visqu .....plastic sheeting


Don't forget to drain and keep the blood... it's so tricky to mix that shade of red any other way :wink:
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 3:53 pm

Is there a pantone reference for the spilled blood of (hardly) potential customers? I had a guy once who said "It's this colour" and promptly slit his wrists to show me - It took me ages to match up the colour and of course by that time he had no use for any sign (except maybe a headstone) :wink:
Col
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 7:27 pm

Oracal do a blood red 324 just for your ref Col

I do what Becky does if I quickly detect an idiot wasting my time, I tell them I'm unavailable for about four weeks or more :lol:

John
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Post Tue Mar 16, 2004 8:20 pm

I like your professional approach Ken.

Walk in's can be a distraction to us as a high st sign shop but for every one that wastes your time there are 3 with money to spend so skillful handling and fact finding is a must. I don't like to barter with prices either my normal line is do you ask for discount at the till at Sainsburys ?
or well if you want to barter Wembley market is open on Sunday see if you can get a better deal there.

I tend to hit small orders with a small order charge normally £20.00 and have charged this for the word PUSH 30 mm caps
cut from a bit of scrap. if only I could do 50 of these a day wouldn't life be simple......

the wacky racers we get in we have a standard price list. cash up front
sun strip £50.00
logo on the sun strip £50.00
x 5 corporate logo's in a stacks £50.00
Clifford alarm sticker £25.00 each

Im not really that mean and have had an inclination to play with an odd motor myself in the past but the thousands these kids spend on dressing their cars nowadays. they can afford it.......

You would be amazed how many say yes and we and were still laughing along time after the thud of there stereo has faded into the distance.

Great to here about your day Phill.


Neil..
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:04 am

Sorry chaps, can't understand it myself!

I get the impression that none of you ever shops around for a better price, that you've never called on a business to find that what you wanted can't be done (we're the 'experts', they're the customers) and that the customer should come ready packaged with a label round his neck saying 'I'm potentially a goodun!'

Every week I get odd enquiries.

Last week a chap who wants a clockface on a wooden profile of a Duck he'd made phoned and asked to call and see what could be done. He'd made it for his grandaughter who was at Nursery school to teach her to tell the time. Took 10 minutes of my time before telling me he had 200 to do and had got sales agreements pending for many more!

Piece of artwork, put out to a digital printer....easy money!

One of many for me.

6 shirts for a scraggy xxxxx builder who's moved to a new much bigger company and now I get all their printing work.

Sample for a local college student who's since had many hundreds of pounds worth of stuff off of me and has just received some heavy financial backing to try to launch her design as a brand in it's own right.

Is this falling on deaf ears (hot) (bully)
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 2:39 am

I do what Becky does if I quickly detect an idiot wasting my time, I tell them I'm unavailable for about four weeks or more

John


im always unavailable for 4 weeks. :o god knows how ill take two days off for sign uk :lol: :lol:

ken, will you be ging to sign uk?
anyone ele staying over night?
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:25 am

Martin C wrote:Sorry chaps, can't understand it myself!

I get the impression that none of you ever shops around for a better price, that you've never called on a business to find that what you wanted can't be done (we're the 'experts', they're the customers) and that the customer should come ready packaged with a label round his neck saying 'I'm potentially a goodun!'


This was exactly my point in my first post. It's all money at the end of the day and that's what we're in business for.

For what it's worth Basil Faulty drove an Austin 1100... I drive a Mercedes.
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:27 am

Robert Lambie wrote:ken, will you be ging to sign uk?


I hope to. .. I'll bring you a spare shift key :wink:

Which day are you going?
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:29 am

Neil wrote:I like your professional approach Ken.

You would be amazed how many say yes and we and were still laughing along time after the thud of there stereo has faded into the distance.


A man after my own heart.... Take their money :lol:
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 9:56 am

Ken [at] K2 wrote:For what it's worth Basil Faulty drove an Austin 1100... I drive a Mercedes.
..Really!!...Wow..... :roll: .... :lol: :lol:
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:10 am

I had a lady walk in the office just before Christmas. She wanted some lettering on a car and I asked her which car it was. "I have it with me", she said, and walked back outside - I followed with my pad and tape measure. She opened the boot and produced a box containing a pink "Barbie" sports car. She wanted her daughter's name, "Chantrelle". on it in purple (2 doors and the bonnet). I told the application lads that I had booked a vehicle-wrap in for that afternoon. I wish I had taken a photo to show you ......... DOH!
Col
ps - I'd like to say I charged her £150 but I was too amused to rip her off so I settled for £85 plus £10 for cleaning it ( :wink: )
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:17 am

rightsigns wrote:
Ken [at] K2 wrote:For what it's worth Basil Faulty drove an Austin 1100... I drive a Mercedes.

..Really!!...Wow..... :roll: .... :lol: :lol:


It was a red one that he beat with a stick.
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 10:43 am

hi ken.. im going on wednesday staying over at a hotel at the nec.. back home thursday eveing. :D
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 12:05 pm

rightsigns wrote:
Ken [at] K2 wrote:For what it's worth Basil Faulty drove an Austin 1100... I drive a Mercedes.
..Really!!...Wow..... :roll: .... :lol: :lol:


:wink: :lol: :lol:
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:00 pm

In pedantic mode........

Actually Basil's car was an Austin 1300. You can tell the difference from the grille.

Oops. Giving my age away as well. :(
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 1:53 pm

WHOT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN'T SEE THE SIGN
THERE IT IS BETWEEN THE GROUND & THE SKY

SORRY COULD NOT RESIST IT

CHRIS
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Post Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:11 pm

Robert Lambie wrote:hi ken.. im going on wednesday staying over at a hotel at the nec.. back home thursday eveing. :D


I'll see you on the Wednesday then.

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