Self doubt can be one of the biggest business killers, even before you have a chance to see if the business will be successful. It can be easy to look at the competition and see them as having a successful business and start comparing yourself to them. Instead, try to think of these objections as an opportunity to learn and overcome. In the uniform embroidery business, or other custom t shirt printing, it will be the key to your success.
Do you even have competition?
Take a look at the other embroidery businesses in your area. Are they providing the same service, or are they targeting a different market or provide different custom apparel. If they advertise uniform embroidery, and are offering customers $8/shirt, what is actually included in that offer? Perhaps it’s a lower quality shirt than you provide, or the price doesn’t include any embroidery, or it only includes 3 colors, or there’s a minimum order of 100 shirts. Before you start thinking that you have to offer a similar price to customers, figure out what the business is actually selling. When you get down into all the details you and your customers may find that your price point is actually the same, or perhaps that you’d charge them a little less even.
Before you even start to question your pricing you also want to ask yourself: Is that deal even something your current customers are asking if you can offer? You can’t put out a fire that hasn’t started. So assuming your customers are going to be asking for the same deal as some place else won’t set you up for success.
We’ve talked before about beating the competition, as price is not what you should be focused on, it doesn’t always matter.
Advantages of doing business with you
Focus on what kind of benefits your customers come away with when they do business with you.
- Personal connection. Especially if you’re the business, your customers will appreciate that one-to-one connection you build with them. If they’re purchasing new embroidered jackets for their team and they’ve got a tournament coming up, ask them how their team did. If it’s a really big tournament, why not try to make it and cheer them on?
- Maintain inventory. While we don’t recommend having an inventory of blanks, having all the other supplies – backing, thread, bobbins, etc. – that you use on a regular basis, on hand is really important.
- Product delivery. If you can, offering to deliver the finished product to your customers can be a welcome benefit to doing business with you. People are busy, and depending on your hours, they might not be able to make it to your shop or they have to sacrifice part of their lunch hour to pick it up. Set aside a time period during your day when you can potentially make deliveries.
- Product diversity. You may have a niche market, but the different products you can offer your customers can set you apart. In the case of team uniforms, having matching jerseys, shorts, and pants, jackets that come in different fits, or even caps and other accessories that a team might want.
Take a moment to write down at least three benefits of doing business with your uniform embroidery business. And post them somewhere visible in your office. Then when you’re talking to customers and they start talking about the cost that another business can give them, you’ve got three reasons why they should do business with you instead.
Your benefits can improve your customer’s experience, and over time will build trust with potential customers.
Your business is unique, and you need to sell your customers on that. It makes it difficult for them to them find a competitor that can do exactly what you do. Getting your customers to buy-in to your unique business is part of the key to your success.
Get everything on paper
If a customer does come to you and asks for a certain deal that a competitor is offering, ask for them to bring you a detailed quote from them. Let them know that you want to earn their business, but that you also want to deliver a high quality product, and so to work with them on the deal you’d like to see a physical quote, so that you can understand clearly what they’re offering and then perhaps come up with something different or better.
When you look over the quote with the customer, never put the competition down. Be honest, let the customer know if they’re offering a lower quality product, show them if you have examples in store. Go over what you can offer and your recommendations. If you can prove that you can provide a better deal, even if it’s not a better price deal, but a better deal in terms of quality, they may be more likely to spend the extra money and work with you.
The value of a customer
If after you’ve done the quote comparison, and everything is equal in terms of product quality, quantity, delivery, etc, you may find it beneficial to match the competition’s price. The reason being, is that customer is worth more than their initial purchase. The competition may be giving them special pricing, because they’ve already done the research and the math to determine that this customer orders 4 times a year. So their initial value of $600, becomes $2400/year and over three years is $7200, not including any referral value they have.
The customer may also be a joy to work with – they provide clean artwork, they order well in advance of when they need the product – and so they may be worth the dollar or two per shirt that you’d lose out on.
Are you selling to the right people?
There are people who are just looking for the best deal and will haggle with any business. These customers are the hardest to work with, and don’t provide any long-term value, because as soon as they can get a better deal, they’ll go some place else. In the end, these customers aren’t going to be worth you offering a lower rate. If the customer is a lot of work and the (emotional) cost of doing business with them is high, any potential profit you would make from that sale, isn’t going to be worth it.
What is your market? Is there perhaps a different niche market that you could be selling uniform embroidery to, if a particular market is already saturated? Are you talking to the right people? When talking to potential customers you want to be talking to the decision makers.
You won’t win every customer. The competition may be able to offer a better deal on uniform. If you’re actively working on growing your business there will always be new customers.