The outdoor LED sign industry has been plagued by a “sell it and forget it” reputation that many sign organizations must fight with on a daily basis. Some believe that doing “just enough” to close the sale, install the sign, and collect the check is the most profitable approach. But the good ones see the value in maintaining a supportive relationship with their customers before and after the sale. They invest in their customers, and their customers invest in them.
There are a variety of reasons why individuals or organizations practice either approach. Experience in the industry, general approach to business, organizational skills (or lack thereof), and quality of vision are all factors. But regardless of why, at the end of the day you have to ask yourself: Are you hurting, or helping the industry? Your customers? Your long term success?
By success, I mean real, honest, quality success. Not just big numbers, important as they are, but the the quality of your work. Do your customers stand by you; will they refer you to others, are you comfortable directing potential accounts their way without hesitation?
All organizations have their good days and bad days, smooth projects and rough projects. This is unavoidable, but the quality of your success, and the success of your customers relies heavily on how you learn from the bad days and improve on the rough projects. An important part of this is truly investing in your customer after the sale.
Knowledge and Support
Learn about and fully support the product you sell. That sounds like a no brainer, but unfortunately there are many in the industry who learn just enough to craft a sales strategy, then hit the road. I discussed this in my previous article about implementing a successful LED sign program. LED signs don’t go away after the sale. Your customers will see them everyday, for years and years. They should be thinking positive thoughts about your company every time they see that sign.
This will not happen if you cannot support your customer. A good partner/supplier is an essential part of your team; they can offer resources, sales support, and customer support your customers in addition to a quality product. However, you are the still the face the customer see’s when looking at the sign. You are the one they shook hands with and chose to do business with. The more you own that, the better your quality of success will be, long term.
This means investing some time and effort in training your personnel on the technology, customer service, and support for the LED sign. Auto mechanics had to learn about onboard computers to continue to compete in the market. Those who did not, ultimately failed. The same is true for LED signs. The technology is not going away, it is here to stay and will only get more sophisticated as time moves on. Adapt, Execute and Succeed.
Develop a program for your customer after the sale. What happens after an installation? Are you taking care of them directly, are you connecting them with your partner? Who do they call for support, and do they have the number? Are you providing them documentation and support materials? Are you training the customer directly, or leveraging your partner? These are important things the you must not overlook. Have a plan of action and give your customer the tools, and people they need to succeed.
Raise the Bar
When you set the bar high, and let everyone know you’re doing it, you force the competition to do the same. They may not be as prepared as you are to make that investment. They may not have have a supplier that can back them up, and support their needs like you do. Go above and beyond for your customers, and don’t be humble about it. Share your experiences and let everyone know you are the go to guy for good service, and a quality experience. Build your business, improve the industry, and support your customers.
I hope this post has been informative and helpful. As usual, I welcome ALL constructive comments. Please feel free to comment and add anything I’ve missed, or additional tips you may have regarding this topic. Please visit www.vantageled.com for many other resources, white papers, and of course: Great looking LED Signs!
**All posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.