By Debbie Nicholson, Think-to-INK!
The question – do buyers know you can offer good, better, and best manufacturing alternatives?
If not, why not?
Let’s define, shall we?
Good: Having the qualities required for a particular role
Better: More excellent or effective type or quality
Best: The most excellent, effective, or desirable type of quality
The best way (no pun intended) to help customers decide which representation of quality they need is to complete a Discovery Q&A! (Here are a few conversation starters…)
- What material(s) do you have in mind for this graphic project?
- Are you open to material and production suggestions?
- How long will the graphics be displayed or in use?
- Will these graphics be displayed inside or outside?
- Will this project require custom finishing?
- Would you like us to provide and or suggest hardware?
Utilize these questions as teaching moments. Keep in mind, our customers want and need our help – they can’t know all the options we have in our arsenal. Most importantly it is up to us to feed our customers correct, valuable, and informative details to assist them in making the “best” decisions for their project(s). This determined and consistent dialogue will build trust and keep you top-of-mind!
If we provide customers with Good, Better & Best options, we are good stewards for our customers, employer, and the entire industry. Too many times, I see PSPs oversell a customer only to lose them shortly after that. Customers are savvy; they may not know they purchased “Best” quality when “Good” quality would have been good enough – however, they will find out.
Note: I left out the Discovery Question “Do you have a budget for this project” for a reason…
TAKE NOTE: “Just In Time Delivery – is DEAD…”
This week I had conversations with two of the largest Wide-Format suppliers in our industry -- here is what I learned.
Our supply chain is experiencing unprecedented logistical delays – not just days, -- weeks, and months. These delays will continue to affect us who manufacture products with raw goods like films, flexible and rigid substrates. Some products won’t deliver for up to 3-4 months – some even further out.
So, if you typically order today and expect delivery tomorrow – you may need to rethink that order process. But, first, talk with your leading distributors regarding their inventory of your staple goods line-up, and be willing to arrange alternative distributors that might offer a different value proposition.
Suggestion: Ask your suppliers and distributors if you can provide them with future needs Purchase Order(s)! This critical action can secure a place in the queue for your much-needed supplies.
Keep in mind any back-orders will be filled by order date – so ensuring a place in line is critical -- at this point. Once your order is delivered -- you will be invoiced with your current net terms.
It doesn’t hurt to ask…don’t be shy!