Banner sales represent a significant segment of the sign industry. As well as durable outdoor promotional banners, other opportunities include lightweight vinyl banners, synthetic paper banners and printed fabrics for general purpose interior applications, such as Point-Of-Purchase banners and tradeshow signs. The smooth finishes of vinyl banner materials and top-coated fabrics are perfectly suited for printing high-resolution photographic images.
Interior banners can be used for cost effective product promotions, complementing advertising messages and marketing themes. By reinforcing an advertising message, POP signage entices the consumer to make a buying decision on the spot. According to POPAI, the international trade association for the Point-Of-Purchaseindustry, 70% of purchases are impulse buys.
Sales opportunities for sign makers are not limited to retail graphics. Other opportunities include banners for tradeshows, airport graphics, museum graphics, backgrounds for theater performances and signage for sporting events.
In addition to commercial applications, banners can serve a decorative function, complementing and enhancing the décor and ambiance of an interior environment, such as a restaurant, museum, airport, or shopping mall. Various colors and the soft textures of fabric can effectively soften the hard edge of a sterile commercial space, brightening and warming the atmosphere.
In January of 2005, environmental artist, Christo, displayed over 7,500 saffron yellow banners, called “The Gates”, along the paths of New York’s Central Park. Like it or not, and many didn’t, the flowing, colorful fabric banners made viewers of his artistic statement more aware of their environment and elicited an emotional response. And that was part of his message. Color doesn’t communicate intellectually; it communicates emotionally – right at gut level.
Preparing for the Sales Call
Not understanding a prospect’s needs will usually kill a sale for you. Trying to sell a banner design that doesn’t satisfy the account’s marketing needs will frustrate and annoy the client. You can not only could lose the current opportunity, but also lose any chances for business in the near future.
Instead of winging it, come prepared for your sales interview’s by doing some pre-call planning. Learn as much as you can about the prospect’s business. Research the company history, their products and services, and their current marketing efforts. Find out who their competitors are and discover the trends in their industry. Discovering this information shouldn’t be difficult or take too much time, if you visit the company’s website and search the internet.
In addition to compiling background information on the prospect, come prepared for your initial sales meeting with questions. As self-help guru Tony Robbins says, “if you want better answers, ask better questions.”
In reviewing the job with your customer, you can better understand the application and determine what banner materials to use and how to design the project by asking the right questions:
- What are the prospect’s marketing objectives?
- What is the intended purpose of the banner? (Promotional, point-of Purchase, Outdoor Advertising)
- What product or service will the banner promote? What is the customer’s sales message?
- What are the corporate colors? Obtain files of the logo, brand name and imagery. Can liberties be taken with the company’s logo, colors and imagery?
- Where the banner will be used (interior or exterior application)?
- At what distance will the banner be viewed?
- Will the banner be mounted flat against a building, or a fence or will it be mounted between two poles?
- What city ordinances apply to banners?
- What are the durability requirements for the project?
- What are the environmental conditions to which the banner will be exposed (exposure to the sun, temperature, pollution)?
- How much does the customer have in his budget?
“Many customers don’t have a clue about what type of banner they want when they walk in my shop,” says Butch Anton of Superfrog Signs & Graphics in Moorhead, Minnesota. “It’s my job as a sign professional to steer them in the right direction, advising them of size, color and content, so I can best satisfy their business needs.”
After you complete a banner, take a photo of it for your portfolio. With a picture of a past job you can show a prospect what is possible. Displaying the possibilities gives you an opportunity to “sell up”. Instead of black letters on a white background, you can now sell the customer on the idea of digital images or cartoon elements, airbrushing, etc. As you add design elements, you add to the uniqueness, visual impact and most importantly value, which all adds to the selling price.