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Extreme Vinyl: Matt Richart

Why Print Shops Should Build Personal Relationships with Their Clients

Forging a meaningful connection with a customer can lead to long-term business.

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DURING THE LAST few training sessions Digital EFX Wraps has had on how to price and market your business, I’ve been asked “How do you land good commercial accounts?” It’s a vague question, but the more I think about it, the more I realize it all falls on the relationship with the customer. I always look at what we’re doing with our existing clients to see how we can obtain new clients with large fleets of vehicles or equipment.

I’m lucky because I had great guidance from my father. The one thing he always instilled in me was how to communicate and to create real relationships with people, friends, and family. I like to think one of my positive characteristics is my strong ability to cultivate relationships, not only in my personal life but in business. It’s how I help our company grow each year and how we obtain new business.

I think we can all agree we don’t always love every client. Our world is not perfect, and neither are our customers. But there’s nothing better than creating real relationships that build trust, building a good referral system, and giving an experience they can’t get anywhere else.

The first thing I like to do is find out why the client has come to our company for business. Think of it as an interview every time a new client calls or walks into your facility. Instead of asking “What can I help you with?” I ask “What brought you to our company?” This allows them to explain how they found you. This could be through a Google search, social media ad, or referral. Then, I try to find out who they are. I like to find things we may have in common so we can talk about something other than the project. If they have a sports team logo on, I discuss that team or what they think about the upcoming season. I’ll ask where they’re from or if they grew up in Kentucky (where we’re based). These questions can open more conversations, which will start to form a small relationship.

One of the best questions I ask business owners is “How is your business doing?” Especially during this pandemic, I ask “Are you having employee hiring issues?” “Have you seen an uptick in business or has this pandemic created a loss in your business?” You learn a lot from these conversations. For example, our company has now compensated our employees with profit sharing. This idea came to us from one of our clients. They said it was very beneficial for his company and team.

Having these conversations about business outside of what you are trying to sell them allows you to connect on a different level. I truly believe this creates trust and a bond you couldn’t get by just giving them a quote and a business card and hope you’ve closed the deal. Obviously discussing politics or religion should not be an option, but sometimes our clients will go there. Just handle those conversations with kid gloves. We will also take some of our best customers golfing or maybe to lunch or dinner on our dime. When you can take them somewhere they enjoy outside of business, it allows for even more opportunity for long-lasting relationships.

Our company and our team are real. We’re friendly, we communicate and educate, we stay transparent on every project, and we love to create real relationships that hopefully last a lifetime. I want our customers to feel welcomed and wanted by creating a relationship that is built on respect. I tell them we want a client for life – not just for today. We want to eat the entire elephant, but we realize that only happens if we take one bite at a time. To do this, we must build real relationships that will carry on into the future. Some of our greatest clients have blossomed into some of our best business relationships that have even carried over into our personal lives. There is nothing better than doing business with clients who you’ve built solid relationships with and who you love and respect.

Matt Richart is the co-owner of Digital EFX Wraps, a full-service, one-stop shop in Louisville, Kentucky. Matt leads country-wide demos and training sessions on how to sell, market, design, and install for the wrap industry. Follow him on Twitter @digitalefxwraps. 

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