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  • Signing on to Higher Profits - The Silent Salesperson

    What part do signs play in your sales? If you use them primarily to post prices and notices, you're missing the message. Signs are one of your most powerful sales tools and can increase your shop's revenue.

    Letting signs do some of the talking can increase your efficiency, add ambience to your shop, and speak to your customers in a friendly, helpful way. Signs entice customers into your shop, help them decide what to buy, and create a mood.

    Outdoor signs and window displays beckon passersby and encourage them to take a closer look. Inside your store, directional signs lead shoppers to the merchandise or tell customers that something special is happening, such as a clearance sale, an open house, or new merchandise.

    Informational signs - your silent sales associates - educate shoppers about the features, benefits, and care tips of your products. Marketing signs alert consumers to your prices, sales, and promotions. Signs promote your services, answer frequently asked questions, seek customer feedback, and thank shoppers for their business.

    Signs on your delivery vehicles bring new customers to your door or reinforce your name with current customers.

    Outdoor Signs

    Probably the most important sign you maintain is your storefront sign. It trumpets your name and should be clearly visible. The colors should be bright and attractive and the lettering should be easy to read. Your shop sign should communicate clearly and distinctly that you sell flowers. Outside signs should be lighted and in a conspicuous location.

    Your main sign should be prominent. If you have a lighted sign, all of the letters should be working. If your shop name is painted across storefront windows, keep the window uncluttered. Posters or special sale signs can attract the curious, but if not carefully placed, can turn your display windows into bulletin boards.

    Another good option is a sidewalk sign or reader board with changeable letters on which you can advertise specials from week to week. Check local zoning policy before you make the investment.

    If a sign is positioned outside or inside, it should be securely installed so that it can't fall on a patron or a car. Legal problems and liability could arise from a poorly installed sign.

    Inside Messages

    Inside your shop, signs are wonderful directional tools. Colorful and to the point, they can gently guide customers to areas of interest.

    When people enter a store, they naturally look and turn toward the right, making this a good place to put your most important signage, whether it be to draw attention to special merchandise or markdowns. Sale signs should be brief, eye-catching, and to the point. If you're using a theme, be sure to carry it through with your signage.

    Employing signs to promote merchandise and guide customer purchases is one of the best uses for them. While it takes some planning and creativity, the results of well-placed and well-worded signs can be seen in increased sales. Add-ons and cross-promotions also can be spurred on by functional signage.

    Some examples of how signs can sell are:

    • Pointing out product distinctions - "Spicy-scented centerpiece."
    • Appealing to emotions - "The perfect way to say 'I love you'."
    • Offering care tips to entice a purchase - "Needs little watering."
    • Providing information to pique interest - "Carnations are the symbol of a mother's undying love."
    • To point out differences in similar but differently priced items - "Terra cotta container with ivy plant, $40; Pottery crock with Swedish ivy plant, $60; Hand-painted porcelain jar with hibiscus plant, $75."
    • Pairing products - "Dozen daisies and matching daisy mylar balloon create a Spring Surprise."
    • To answer frequently asked questions - "Same day delivery on orders placed by 2 p.m."

    The Last Stop

    Remember that a shop's checkout counter is generally the last opportunity to make a sale. Use signs to remind your customers of add-on merchandise: "Don't forget a gift card!" "Add a bow or balloon for that special touch!"

    Signs can remind them to order early for an upcoming event such as Easter or Mother's Day. They can encourage - "Take One," "Please Sign Our Guest Book" - and give customers a gentle nudge.

    The last sign a customer should see when leaving your shop is one of gratitude - "Thank you for shopping with us. Please come again!"

    More Signage Opportunities

    Your delivery vehicles are traveling billboards. Your shop logo, address, telephone number, and even your Web site address should be prominently displayed on them.

    Delivery drivers can be walking advertisements, as well. Supply them with uniforms or T-shirts imprinted with your shop logo and name. If the T-shirts are attractive, your customers may even want to buy them and advertise your shop all around town. Make sure that all company clothing is inspected periodically to ensure that it isn't faded, stained, frayed, or torn.

    Look upon such things as stationery, business cards, fliers, shopping bags, and merchandise sacks as all part of your signage. They should have a consistent look and every customer should leave with one or several of these "traveling signs." Place your business cards near the cash register for easy accessibility. Print discount coupons on the backs of them to encourage customers to use them or pass them on to friends.

    Never pass up an opportunity to broadcast the name of your business through signage. Research shows that people have to hear or see a name at least three times before they can recall it at will. Shops proficient in sign language can add another friendly voice in the important area of customer service.



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