Volume 11, Issue 2 - March/April 2007

First Impressions
by David Read

I’ve spoken to hundreds of tinters over the years, and I’m always curious when they discuss the reasons for lost sales. I wish I had a nickel every time I have heard the excuse, “The tint shop down the street undercut me in price.” While price is important, it is not always the only reason why a customer chooses one tint shop over another.

In reality, the first few minutes of customer contact will often times determine whether you get the job. That’s why it’s important to evaluate the first impression your shop makes to ensure you are displaying your products and services in the most favorable light. Excluding Internet sales, which will be an important sales tool in the future for most tint shops, the two basic ways customers will come in contact with your business is via phone or walk-up sales.

Phone Sales Approach
How do you or your employees answer the phone? Is it a quick, impersonal “Hello, Joe’s Tint Shop?” It better not be, because that approach gives the impression you don’t really care who is on the other line and it makes it sound like the customer is bothering you. 

A more friendly and inviting approach is always recommended. You want the customer to feel like his phone call to you is the most important call you will take that day. For example, try this greeting: “Good morning, thank you for calling Joe’s Tint Shop. How can I help you today?” If you are in doubt that how you answer the phone is important, call a few of the best hotels in your area. Call a few of the best restaurants. A slower, more deliberate tone to your voice will make the customer feel like you value his business. Take the time and practice your message. You’ll be amazed at the results.

Walk-Up Sales Approach 
How your sales area is presented can make or break a potential job. Is your sales area clean and organized? Are you presenting your products in a professional and easy-to-read manner? Do you have good display boards that really show off the products you install? Are you and your sales team knowledgeable about both the products you sell and also the products that your competitors offer?

As soon as a customer walks through your door, he’ll pass judgment quickly based on the overall presentation of your shop. If your shop is messy and disorganized, or you don’t have your sell message down pat, he might assume that you have the same attitude toward your installations.

At the end of the day, all customers are looking for the best value possible. Many tinters equate value solely with price, but that’s just not the case. Service is just as important, if not more important, than price—especially if a customer is comparing two shops without a discernable price difference. Make sure your shop has the service edge by making your first-impression game plan solid and professional. 

David Read is sales development manager for Carson, Calif.-based Johnson Window Films. He can be reached via e-mail at dread@johnsonwindowfilms.com. Mr. Read’s opinions are solely his own and not necessarily those of this magazine.

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