The Lost Art of the Follow-Up


In my experience at Sharn Enterprises, Inc., I have encountered different situations that deal with client building, customer relationships, and overall account management.  The most important I have come to realize is the art of the follow-up.

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What sparked my in-depth thought about the follow-up was an email I received from a potential customer.  It read,

“I will stay in touch.  I am sure we can do some things together and I appreciate your efforts and follow-up.  It’s a refreshing change!!”

This note not only made my day, but also got my wheels turning.   If I can provide a “refreshing change” for a customer who is not used to follow-ups and attempts to make an effort, then Sharn Enterprises gains an opportunity to earn new business. Thus, when you’re not reaching out to a potential or even a current client, you may miss a potential opportunity and that client may take their business elsewhere.  GoTo Market Strategies (2014) supports this and states, “only 50% of marketing leads have received a follow-up from sales or channel partners, making it the top reason a product wasn’t purchased.”

The definition of a follow-up is when you check-in with a customer or client to give them a heads up, update, or even a general hello.  The follow-up can also take on different hats, including being a marketing boost.  For example, a once booming client may have lost touch with your organization for no specific reason, just plain evolution.  Reaching out could remind a client of your services and help them realize you are just the right person to help with an upcoming project.

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You see, the follow-up is sometimes unexpected, unwarranted, and ignored.  In other instances, the follow-up is welcomed, unexpected (in a good way), and appreciated.  And the latter version is where your company (and Sharn Enterprises, Inc.) maximizes its results.

As a marketing and sales professional, I want to be known as the person that makes the extra effort.  I want to my client to know that I care and I am willing to go the extra mile.  I do not want to be apart of the other 50% and lose potential business.

As I get off my soapbox, here are some ways that you and your sales team can increase productivity by going back to the basics, by bringing back the lost art of the follow-up:

1. Send an email– Do not just cut and paste.  Write a thoughtful note that doesn’t seem like Siri was the author.

2. Write a letter– Once again, no copying and pasting.  Key word here is “write.”  A hand-written note shows consideration and time was taken in order to really delve deep into thought.  A letter is personal, warm, and is an extremely thoughtful follow-up approach.

3. Pick up the phone- If emailing or writing a note seems too trivial for your specific customer, give them a ring.  A phone call allows for the inflection of your voice to be expressed.  If you’re excited about an upcoming project you are working on for that client, it will be heard in your voice.  Most importantly, be yourself.

4. Send follow-up information right after a meeting– During your meeting, write down notes for yourself.  For example, when I meet with a new client, I write down notes as well as detailed data so I am able to mock-up a custom display idea right after the meeting.  You are human; you can’t remember every detail, so writing notes down can help recall all key points discussed.

5. Keep an eye out for the small things– During your initial meeting, keep an eye out for body language, words, or expressions that piqued your customer’s interest and got them excited to work with you.  Refer back to these in your follow-up approach.

6. Agree– If you agree with a point made by your customer, let them know!  This builds trust and lets the client know you are listening and on the same page.

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At Sharn Enterprises, Inc. we have seen the follow-up truly work.  Like my dad always says,

“If you try and don’t succeed, it’s better than not trying at all.”

For more information on Sharn Enterprises, Inc.’s custom POP displays and store fixtures, please visit http://www.sharndisplays.com or call 815-464-9715.

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Shopping Habits: A Millenial vs. A Baby Boomer


At Sharn Enterprises, Inc., our goal is to design and manufacture a custom POP display that fits your marketing and visual merchandising needs.  We also find it a best practice to stay current with industry and shopping trends.  How better to do so than to interview two ends of the shopping spectrum; our resident 23 year-old fashionista/Marketing Intern Chelsey Heft, and the president of Sharn Enterprises, Inc./POP expert, Roger Wandersee.  These two have many reasons to go out shopping, and some reasons intertwine and others differ.  One thing both parties have in common? Find out for yourself below:

 (#1)  How would you describe yourself as a shopper and consumer?

Female Millennial: I am the type of person who is organized, goal-oriented and also happens to shop on a regular basis.  You could say I am your typical “girly-girl” but I am very simplistic; I enjoy the simple things in life. When it comes to the color of my clothing, I usually stick with neutral colors that don’t stand out.   What I purchase also depends on where I am shopping at and how it’s presented.

Male Baby Boomer: I am an “aging male baby boomer” and since I am in business, I try my best to stay current.  I try to look as good as I can for my age, but my wife buys most of my clothes and other necessities because she has much better taste than me.

(#2) What kind of “mood” are you in when you shop for different occasions, and how does that affect your choice?

FM: There are times when I go out shopping and I don’t exactly need clothing; it’s more along the lines of household items. Whenever I am out shopping for household items, I find that if I have a budget, I always end up going a tad over.  I go for the name brands and the quality rather than what is the cheapest on the shelf.  Same goes for shoes and clothing.

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MBB: I don’t like to shop for my own clothes, because I’m not good at it.  So when I do shop for myself, I’m usually not happy about it.  Surprisingly, I like to grocery shop.  I suppose that’s because I like to eat.  I often ask my wife if she needs anything from the grocery store, so I get what’s on her list and a bunch of other stuff that I just saw and wanted.

(#3) Regarding clothing, I noticed that some stores put matching women’s outfits together, while other stores don’t.  How does that affect you while shopping?

FM: If there is an area in the store that is well put together, it is more likely that I will lean towards that brand because of how the company has put their products on display.  If I cannot find any other outfits that “speak” to me, then I am probably going to move on.

MBB: I really prefer clothing stores that put matching products together.  I’m kind of a guy who needs to see something together to “get it.” If I have to figure out a match, I usually pick out one piece, and then ask the sales person to help me match it.

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(#4) When shopping, do you find it helpful when a sales associate is there to help? Many large stores have done away with it.

FM: Most times I don’t need help finding clothing or outfits that go together.  However, when it comes to fixing up a room in my house, I definitely ask for help.  It is nice to know that associates in stores are willing and able to help. With smaller boutiques, I’ve noticed the employees are very willing to help you right when you walk in.

MBB: I resent not being helped! I don’t much care for “self-serve.” It seems like only the “high-end” or home improvement stores offer individual help anymore. If I’m not looking for help, I will shop online.

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(#5) What are your views on shopping online?

FM: I don’t like shopping online.  You never really know what you’re going to get until you’ve already received it.  However, if I do shop online for a product, I always read the reviews.  If you don’t read the reviews, you could end up with a bad product.  I find that when purchasing items via the internet, American-made items are one’s that last much longer, compared to the items that are made elsewhere.  I feel that when purchasing an American-made product, it is money well spent!

MBB: I like to shop on the internet if I’m looking for a specific product and likely won’t have questions.  Such things as a book, flowers, candy, etc. that you’re sending to someone as a gift are examples.  Most of my internet shopping is around Christmas.  If I know exactly what I want to buy, then I just go online and get it. It helps me avoid the malls.

(#6) Are you willing to pay more for convenience and the speed of the transaction?

FM: If I am in a rush and need to be in and out rather quickly, sure, I will spend a little more. On any other given day, I would have to say that I wouldn’t spend more because of the convenience.  You never want to buy something just because “you had to have it.” Always keep in mind the longevity of the product, clothing item, and/or shoes being bought.

MBB: Being a “baby boomer,” price is not important.  As you know from the news media, we “baby boomers” only care about ourselves! (Just kidding) Of course price is important, but like most other people, I will pay a little more sometimes for convenience.

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(#7) How important is the visual and what attracts you to a particular product?

FM: If there is a good display that makes the clothing look more enticing, that is what causes me to think “Wow, I want to buy that!” There is great importance to being visual. Just like with food, we eat with our eyes first.  If we see something that looks appealing, we are more likely to eat it or in this case, purchase it.

MBB: Many of us old guys lack imagination, so the visual is very important to us. We like to see how things go together, or perhaps how they work. Many displays now come with some type of video that helps demonstrate the product. A well thought-out display is also good for the merchant because it keeps the products together and utilizes valuable store space.

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(#8) When do you “roam” a store versus getting in then getting out? Why?

FM: When I know I am on a time crunch, I am in and out and get what I need.  On the flip side, when I know that I have time, I roam around and do some window shopping.  It’s always nice to be able to walk and look around.  In a sense, it’s almost relaxing.

MBB: I only roam around when I grocery shop. I’m looking for that next best thing for the grill, or the special snack I want after dinner.

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As a business, it’s important to know your customers. Who do you appeal to?

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For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com  

“A Proud American Manufacturer”

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Father’s Day 2015: 8 Gift Ideas for Dad


Back on July 10th, 1910, the governor of Washington decided to proclaim the first ever “Father’s Day.”  However, it was not until Mother’s Day became a nationally recognized holiday that Father’s Day became official 58 years later.  Every third Sunday in June, families celebrate that special guy in their life and show their appreciation through actions as well as gifts.  Most fathers claim that they are easy to please, but on the inside, they would love a thoughtful present.  That’s why we here at Sharn Enterprises have come up with a list of possible gift ideas for dad that will make his day special, while showing you some of our exceptional POP custom displays.

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1. Golf Gear

Do you have a dad that loves to relax on the weekends by heading to the green?  Any dad who loves golf would appreciate a specialty club, some new golf balls, gloves, golf shirt, or even a golf towel.  These gifts would be a great idea for any dad who is active and has been itching to take a weekend getaway to the nearest golf course.

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2. Leather Goods

Do you have a dad that double as a businessman?  Does he like the finer things in life?  Then maybe your pops will like a new leather wallet or belt.  More practical than flashy, a fresh, new accessory will allow your dad to practice the saying, “out with the old, in with the new.”

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3. Power Tools

A good gift for the handyman in your life would be a brand new power tool or even tool chest, which would make any father feel useful as well as appreciated.  This gift will hit all the bases, but just make sure your dad knows how to use them safely!

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4. Watches

Does your dad have trouble remembering schedules and being on time?  A new watch might be a good idea for a dad like likes to be on trend, but also might need extra help in the time department (Mom will thank you for this one!)

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5. Fishing Gear 

Does your dad love the outdoors?  Then a simple, go-to gift maybe some fishing and hunting gear.  Head to the nearest Bass Pro Shops (or another outdoorsy store like Cabela’s) and incorporate your dad’s personal style into your picks.  He will appreciate the thought as well as rock the coolest fishing pole of the bunch on his next big trip.

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6. Music Gear

Does your dad like to sing or have jam sessions?  A dad with an ear for music might enjoy a new guitar, picks for his current guitar, speakers, or new headphones.  Not only will you bring out his creative side, you can enjoy the tunes together!

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7. Electronics

Is your dad always on top of the electronics game?  Splurge on a HD big screen for his man cave, a new remote control, or even a speaker system.  Any of these options will definitely gain you the title of “favorite.”

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8.  Spirits 

Is your dad a connoisseur of fine wine and spirits?  Purchasing dad a nice bottle of his favorite alcoholic beverage might be a nice idea for the father who likes to take a load off and enjoy a drink on a night off.

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No matter what category your dad fits into, (sporty, classic, rugged, professional or musical) there is always a perfect gift out there for your father or grandfather.  We encourage you to spend time with your family, especially your dad.  The jack-of-all-trades in your life deserves something that will make him smile and feel appreciated on that third Sunday in June.  Father’s Day 2015 is officially June 21st, so start planning!

We hope you enjoyed seeing a few samples of our custom displays and hope we can serve you in the future.

www.sharndisplays.com

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For more information on our products and services be sure to check out our website at www.sharndisplays.com

Or click on the link below to check out our latest video:

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“A Proud American Manufacturer”

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10 Ways To Attract Customers Using Psychology


How do you attract customers new customers? Many people would say it would be by having a good product, great marketing, quality service, etc. Although these are true, there is one component that is often overlooked, and that is the use of psychology.

It has been said that this way of marketing has been used for years to help attract customers. With competition growing, it is important that companies learn new ways to attract the attention of their customer.

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To help with that, here are ten ways you can learn how to attract your customer using psychology:

Help Your Customers Break Through “Action Paralysis”

This means that by setting a minimum for your customer. By minimum that meaning, reminding your target customer of how easy it is to get started. Example: “No money down… First month is free!”

Embrace the Power of Labels

Label your customers as a part of superior or elite group and it will almost always reflect the characteristics of that specific group such as VIP’s and loyalty members.

Understand the 3 Types of Buyers

The three types of buyers would fall under the names: Spendthrifts, Tightwads, and Average Spenders. In order to target the Tightwads you want to make sure there is a sweet deal in it for them. For example, instead of telling them that its $1,200/ year for a product, tell them its $100/ month instead.

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Highlight Your Strengths by Admitting Your Short Comings

It is found that customers trust companies that can admit their strategic failings. Buyers are okay with companies admitting that they were wrong because it shows that they are actively looking to fix the problem rather than passing the blame to someone or something else.

Use Urgency the Smart Way

Urgency and scarcity of the product or service drive sales up. Customers are known to ignore urgency messages for a product or service if they are not given further steps to take action on the product or service.

Make Their Brain Light Up ‘Instantly’

Several MRI studies have shown that our frontal cortex is highly active when we thinking about waiting for something, which is a big no- no for sales.  Focusing on the quick shipment and arrival of your product or service can be just the cherry on top that the customer or buyer was looking for and could also be great incentive for that buyer to come back again and will solve their problems fast.

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Make an Enemy

Healthy competition is not only great for your fellow competitors but it is also great for your future buyers and customers. By dividing your customers into groups, it has them pick a side. Companies such as Apple do just this. Apple divides their customers into groups like Mac vs. PC users.  Other companies categorize their company as “only for athletes” etc.

Stand for Something

Companies that have loyal customers have shown that they are loyal to said company because the buyer has shared interests and likes as the company that they are loyal to.  It is important to keep this in mind when trying to appeal to a wider selection of customers.  Here at Sharn we pride ourselves of on being a proud American manufacturer!

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Devil’s Advocate

By playing devil’s advocate you can increase the confidence level of your already loyal customers. Doing this you are addressing the negatives but reinforcing the positives by giving examples.

Keep em’ on Their Toes

Although many are not a fan, a price reduction as small at 10 cents is a surprise that all love and can bring in a once hesitant buyer to purchase your product or service.  Keep in mind that when you do a small price reduction or a sale that you add small words that pop! Such as “Wow, Surprise, Sale, etc.” Small changes like this do not have to be expensive.

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Getting customers is not always easy, but when you have the right strategy, you can start adding to your list of happy and loyal customers that have trust in your product or service. Remember, the customer wants to be reminded that you are constantly thinking about them. It’s the thought that counts, not the amount of money spent to attract them. We love our customers!

For more information about Sharn’s products and services, make sure to check out www.sharndisplays.com or call 815-464-9715.

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Source:

Capps, G. http://www.craftmakerpro.com/business-tips/10-ways-attract-customers-handmade-business-using-psychology/. 19. Nov, 2014. 10 Ways to Convert more Customers by using Psychology. Retrieved April 8th, 2015.

 

 

Sharn Hits the High Notes at GlobalShop 2015


GlobalShop is a one-of-a-kind retail trade show, and the Sharn Enterprises, Inc. team experienced that first hand while in Las Vegas exhibiting at the show last week.

Connecting the retail design industry every year since 1993, GlobalShop features an enormous show floor filled with innovations for visual merchandising, shopper marketing, and the newest products for store design and fixturing.  Thus, the decision to exhibit was a no-brainer.

But those who have arranged for a trade show know, the preparation involved is not an easy task.  From booking flights and hotels, to ordering booth materials, to actual shipping materials to the show booth, there’s a lot of detail and project management that goes into exhibiting.  But when it’s all said and done, the work involved is completely worth it, and Sharn is excited to reap those benefits.

GlobalShop as a whole is the premiere retail “place to be” and Stephanie Shostok, Designer and Account Representative at Sharn, knows that the show will help cultivate current and future business ventures.

“You might say four months of preparation for three days is crazy, but it has to be done to make sure all the puzzle pieces fit.  The best part is talking with people who have no idea about Sharn Enterprises, and then making them excited to work with us; it makes everything worth it.”

After three days of working the booth, connecting with potential new customers, and reconnecting with past customers, there’s obvious reasons why a B2B retail company attends a trade show of this magnitude.  The high-quality displays Sharn decided to bring to Globalshop really caught the eye of industry professionals, who noted the craftsmanship and American-made quality our displays translated to the consumer.

GlobalShop brings the retail design community under one roof and there is no doubt Sharn is looking ahead and excited to foster the relationships built at this annual trade show.  See you next year, Vegas!

For more information about Sharn’s products and services, make sure to check out http://www.sharndisplays.com or call 815-464-9715.

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Custom vs. Stock Displays: The Epic Battle!


Your brand is best right?  You’ve invested a lot of time, effort, and money in building your brand.  So when you’re finally ready to market, you need to decide which approach best suits your particular brand.  Which approach will get your products noticed, and more importantly SOLD?

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Custom displays vs. stock displays… which is the best decision for your unique brand?  Sure, it would be easy to order a pre-made display and hope that one size fits all, but how many times has that worked for any of us in the past? Not many.

At Sharn Enterprises, we believe custom made point-of purchase displays are the answer.

Here’s why:

  1. Product Differentiation:  When Sharn Enterprises designs a custom display for you, it is unique and sets your products apart. It emphasizes the image that you have created for your brand. In short, it gets your product noticed.
  2. Foot print: As you know, floor space is “gold” to both you and your retailer.  A custom display is designed around your specific product; its size, packaging, and the quantities to be offered. It also can include a modular concept, so that as your sales increase you can simply just add the modular piece (which saves you from replacing the entire unit when it needs updating).
  3. Brand Presence: When using a custom POP display, you have gained a valuable foothold within the store itself. But conversely, when you order a stock display, it’s fairly easy for a competitor to take over your space by simply replacing your logo or signage. You’ve lost your valuable retail position… and unfortunately several sales.  A custom POP display cannot be used again for another brand, and also translate your target message to the consumer about your product.

When you step into any store, your brain is involuntarily over-consumed by hundreds to thousands of products. Some people plan their trip to a store all mapped out, with the intention to get in, get what they need.  But shopping is a visual event and most often than not, you buy items you may have not intended to purchase.  That is why you want to engage in the shopper quickly, create interest in your product, and have them put it in their shopping cart before something else grabs their attention.

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An aesthetically pleasing custom POP display can make all the difference while a consumer is waiting at the cash register or perusing the aisles.  After all, 70% of shopper purchase decisions are made in-store.

Therefore, a custom-made product display designed and manufactured by Sharn Enterprises, Inc. will get your products noticed.   We will make sure your products show off their personality, maximize their footprint, and create the brand presence you have been looking for.

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That’s what our customers have been saying for 40 years, now.

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“A Proud American Manufacturer”

For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com

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From Beginning to End: How We Create Your Custom Display


Creating a custom display from start to finish is an exciting, yet difficult task for a designer and a manufacturer.  Unlike a stock display store, Sharn Enterprises, Inc. builds custom displays out of various American materials and is a one-stop shop, with everything made in-house and on-site.

That is where our American made promise comes in.  Everything manufactured in our plant is Made-in-America, which helps support the local economy and provide jobs here on U.S. soil rather than overseas.  Many people also feel that American made products are of the highest quality.

That’s why we here at Sharn wanted to give you a little bit more insight on how we handle a custom display project.

Although every experience with a new or current client is different, these are the usual steps taken in order to complete a custom point-of-purchase display made just for you and your products.

Consult

A customer might have a design in mind for their custom display, or have no idea at all!  And that’s quite alright, because our designers have the experience to come up with a design idea that reflects your brand. After an initial call, we usually schedule a meeting with you to get a better idea about what you are looking for.

Shaking Hands

Conceptualize

After a meeting (either in person, Skype, or on the phone), a designer will come up with a few different display concepts according to the client’s specifications. We know you have a budget, and the designer will keep that in mind when choosing types of material and the kinds of customization required.  We use the latest AutoCAD software to create your display and render it out to make it look like it will in-store.

CADD Drawing

Estimate

After a client decides which custom display they like for their brand, we will estimate the cost of the display based on the quantities he/she may be looking to order. More often than not, the more displays ordered, the more the price per display will go down.  Below is an example of a quote we will send for your approval.

 

Three tier adjustable travel display Estimate

Prototype

Now this is the fun part.  You actually get to see your display come to life!  We manufacture your prototype in-house and then ship it to you so you can see it in person.  Does it reflect your brand?  Does it catch your eye?  Is it everything you hoped for and dreamed of? If we don’t get it right the first time, we will revise.

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Re-Engineer & Build

Sometimes your prototype is exactly what you are looking for. Other times, it needs a few revisions.  And that’s okay.  We want your display to be perfect!   If you are looking for a nip there and a tuck there, we will redesign and re-prototype until both parties reach a mutual agreement.

As you can see here, three different designs were prototyped until an agreement was met.

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Make Decisions

You decide on the display concept and prototype and place your order with us.  You choose what quantity are you looking for and when the you need the project needs to be completed by.  Our manufacturing plant starts producing your parts and puzzle is almost finished.

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Ship

When we say we are a one-stop shop, we mean it!   We fabricate a custom box for your display along with an instruction sheet for whoever is putting together the display in-store.  Once you let us know your date, the display will be ready to be filled with your product.

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So what’s stopping you from your own custom display?  Contact Sharn today to get started.  We can’t wait to work with you!

For more information about our products and services, please visit our website at www.sharndisplays.com.  Also, “like” us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

 Sharn Enterprises, Inc.

“A Proud American Manufacturer”

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