3 Ways to be Awesome at Decorating

Well hello everybody!

I just finished an article for our sister magazine Print + Promo about “consultative selling,” a sales philosophy centered around solving clients’ core marketing problems rather than just selling product. It’s a neat idea I think, and a supposedly helpful tactic in getting your business to compete along lines other than price (helpful if you business is threatened by web stores/suppliers selling direct, since price advantage is more or less their only angle).

There are a lot of facets to the idea of consultative selling, and one I unfortunately didn’t get to touch on in my article is the role artwork can play. Larry Mays, CAS, president of Boardwalk Marketing, an apparel contract decorating company located in Erie, Pa., which specializes in special effect screenprinting on apparel, was kind enough to talk to me about this role. He recently taught a class at PPAI Vegas called “How to Become A Consultative Art Sales Person,” and had quite a bit of great info to share. I’ve trimmed down our conversation into my favorite parts, a short list on “3 Ways to be Awesome at Decorating.”

1. Show Your Skills
“I believe the key is for sales people to be able to sit down with a brilliantly produced art portfolio and help a client conceive an art idea that will result in a great looking piece of apparel,” said Mays. “The key is great art to show the client and a full understanding of the use of color, how an idea might work artistically and how to accomplish a sales or marketing goal through the use of a piece of decorated apparel,” he said.

“How much of this consultative approach is needed if all your client wants is their logo on the left chest of their T-shirt? Obviously, not much,” he said. “But if that is all your client wants, then don’t be surprised when your client demands that you provide the lowest possible price for their shirts, or eliminates you altogether and buys their apparel online. It is the sales reps’ job to show a client what is possible and entice the client to purchase something better,” he explained. “Decorated apparel is not the same as any other promotional product. The potential for advertising impact is immense—but only if we do the job properly.”

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