It is ironic that the best screen printers don’t normally make the most money selling T-shirts. If you look in the classified section of your local newspaper on any given day you will find a screen-printing company up for sale. It seems like everyone thinks they will make lots of money printing custom t-shirt but very few people actually make it big. Most people will buys some equipment and learn how to print all kinds of cool designs. Where most people fall short is not getting out and marketing their services correctly or even at all.
I am a believer that some of the best screen printers have gone broke because of a bad marketing plan. Take the less traveled road and make sure you pick up the phone and call the local schools. Talk to as many coaches as you can. Each and every one of them needs custom t-shirts for the teams they coach, camps, or coaching staff. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking they will find you because if you aren’t making those painful cold calls, your competition is willing to do it. Any successful print shop is proof of that and if you ask any of the companies up for sale how many cold calls they made in a typical week. I predict the answer is zero.
When I put on a sales seminar or lead a group discussion on selling a product no matter what the product. I stress to them. Don’t focus on the sale. Focus on the fact you offer a product or service that will either save them money, time or make their purchasing process easier. The fact is most people that you are targeting are buying your product. If I assume your are at least bright enough to know your target audience. That being said, if you truly believe you will make it easier for them to purchase from you than your competition you are 90% there. If not make it true. In the case of selling custom t-shirts. Offer quicker turn around time. Offer free artwork, free set up. Any things that will make you stand out from the crowd. Remember if you are just a face in the crowd no one will remember you or change their current buying pattern.
Change is hard for people. Make it easy. One sales person took to heart what he learned at one of my seminars and took it to the next level. He would go cold calling with his laptop and offer to do free artwork on the spot for free. Let me tell you something. If you get into see a decision maker, do the artwork for free and get them to okay it. You have a sale! It was remarkable the close ratio he had with this technique. I know not everyone has the ability to create artwork on the spot but you get the idea. Do something unique, stand out, and offer to deliver personally. My favorite saying is selling is “if you aren’t the lead dog. The view never changes”. Get out in front and sell your shirts off.