Get More Sales: Talk to Customers With Confidence

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Printavo is simple shop management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving forward and your team on the same page.

Scheduling, quoting, approvals, payments, customer communication, automation and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.


It's how to get more sales. But it's something you can't tell people about – you have to show confidence with your words, actions, and relationships.

Using the right language to show your confident expertise, then building solid relationships – whether in person, through live chat, on the phone or in email – is how to drive more sales to your screen printing shop.

Show. Don't Tell.

You can control & manage your customers' perceptions through:

  • Careful and deliberate language choice
  • Showing your expertise through your words & actions rather than explaining why you're an expert

It won't do your sales any good to explain how experienced a printer you are, show off your expensive equipment, or drown your customer in choices because you can print with almost any ink on any shirt. Save the shop talk for Facebook groups and industry conferences. None of that impresses or persuades customers! 

Here are easy ways to start getting more sales through confidence.

1. Establish Personal Rapport

What do you have in common with your customers?

Perhaps you're interested in similar events – do you run marathons or donate your time to the PTA? Maybe you share hobbies, like skiing or going to local concerts. It could even be that your kids go to the same school.

Even if you think there's no way that you have something in common with your customers, you do.

The way you establish a truly personal connection with your customers is to stop talking about your products & services and start talking about what interests them. It doesn't have to be profound – it just has to be genuine and personal.

2. Listen More Than You Speak

The more you listen, the less you have to speak – but the more you'll know.

No one wants to hear a salesperson talk about how great they are or how good their products are. So why would it be any different for screen printers? That kind of selling not only doesn't work, it actively turns people off!

You can show that you're listening by asking great questions. 

  • Get into the details.
  • Ask about their lives and their problems.
  • Find things they know a lot about.
  • If they get excited and want to share something with you, keep pushing on that topic.

When you listen more than you speak, you learn more about the customer and can target their interests, fears, passions and pain points with much more accuracy than someone just waiting for their turn to talk.

3. Find The Story Behind The Shirts

Every custom garment has a story behind it.

It could be for a fundraiser that's helping alleviate poverty or hunger. It could be a political message that your customer feels very strongly about. It could be the big event they've trained hard for. It could be uniforms for their new employees.

Each and every one of these cases is an open invitation to ask great questions, hear a real story and develop a relationship.

We live and breathe stories – it's human nature. Connecting to people means tapping into their stories and finding out the narrative behind why they need you to print for them.

If you speak their language and tell their story, they'll want to know more about your story – and printing will be far more meaningful for both of you.

4. Use Assertive & Dominant Language

Making decisions to move towards a single assertion is a muscle. It requires dealing with the fear of being wrong by finding reasons to be right. - Rob McMackin

Dominance doesn't have to be intimidating or aggressive – in fact, if you're using assertive language, it telegraphs expertise and knowledge rather than superiority.

Test different strategies for how you use language to convey your solutions. It's not necessary to carefully script every word you say – but it is good to abide by some best practices in the words you choose.

You don't need to explain your questions. Just ask them. If you get negative responses, just move on to the next topic you want to discuss. Lead the conversation into positive topics that grant you the upper hand. Don't dwell on unpleasant or uncomfortable moments.

It's easy to imagine that you can just be nice and the sales process will always be comfortable – but that is not realistic. Assertiveness means pursuing your goals clearly, without attacking the target or simply yielding control of the situation to them.

5. Be the Expert

People are looking to you as a conduit for their self-expression. They want to broadcast their image, brand, event or idea out into the world – and you are how they'll do it.

Be the expert by showing your confidence in every customer interaction. You can do it, no problem! Anticipate the common questions that customers ask you and solve problems before they arise.

You can demonstrate your expertise through consistent branding across communication channels – websites, color usage, logos, and even email signatures all portray your brand's competency. 

6. Give Fewer Options, Not More

Less is more.

Maybe you've heard of the K.I.S.S. method? Keep It Stupid Simple.

It absolutely applies to customer choice.

You will drown people in options if you throw all of your knowledge and expertise at them. Like we've explained: to most people, it's just a shirt. They don't want to expend a lot of time and energy into researching carded cotton or tri-blend tees. They don't care about the history of rayon. The particulars of Plastisol versus discharge inks will probably make their eyes glaze over – even though it is fascinating to us.

Limiting their choices to three or less might seem like it's detrimental to projecting a truly professional image – but the truth is that most customers don't know enough (and don't have time!) to make decisions about apparel. You are the best-informed person in the chain.

By confidently offering fewer choices, you make your customers' path easier and allow them to focus on their interests instead of picking between shirts, inks or printing processes. Limits foster creativity.

Besides – if a customer has something specific in mind, you'll have opportunities to discuss it with them and find out if they actually do need more options. Otherwise, limiting options means a simpler workflow and an easier process for your production team.

7. Specific Endorsements Make You More Credible

Do you have a shirt that you really love to print on? Recommend it.

Is there a specific printing process you really excel at? Just offer it.

Think a particular hat is much more suited to embroidery? Endorse it.

You don't have to compromise your shop by offering products and services you don't actually like. You are the expert! Take a stance and advocate for your customer. Sure, plenty of folks will want a Gildan tee at the lowest price possible – but you don't have to endorse them if you don't believe in it.

Endorsing specific products and services bolsters your credibility by demonstrating that you are knowledgeable and experienced. You're telegraphing your expertise: I know what works for you before you know that you want it.

When you endorse a product, avoid discussing how much you "like" it. Instead, assert your preferences through direct suggestions and specific recommendations.

8. Use Exact Language

Show the depths of your knowledge and project confidence by using industry-specific terms. Don't try to impress them with jargon and big words – instead, use the exact language of a print shop.

Example: it's not a baseball cap, it's a five-panel strapback hat. Don't call it a white t-shirt, call it your relaxed tri-blend t-shirt. 

This seems silly – didn't we say that a shirt is just a shirt? – but the clarity and specificity that exact language offers is a huge confidence booster for customers. After all, don't you trust someone who knows the details and understands the specifics over someone that tries to "dumb things down" so you'll understand them?

Confidence builds trust and long-lasting relationships. At the core of every great print shop is someone that understands people as much as the technical art & science of screen printing. Think of your own experiences: recall the confident people that have inspired and reassured you.

Next Post: 24 Years Old - $2M Shop: Meet Ian Scherber

About Printavo

Printavo is simple shop management software. We help you streamline your business, keep jobs moving forward and your team on the same page.

Scheduling, quoting, approvals, payments, customer communication, automation and more. With Printavo, you’ll work smarter–not harder.

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