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Screen Pros Divulge Memorable Tales from Successful Client Pitches

With honesty and effort, “you’re never too small to go after big contracts.”




Screen Pros Divulge Memorable Tales from Successful Client Pitches

IF YOU WANT TO learn industry secrets on how to win a sale, look no further. In a recent Brain Squad survey, we asked our members “What’s the most inspiring thing you’ve done to win a sale?” These responses hold a lot of tips and tricks to winning over a client. They tell you the truth, they provide examples, they give you stories – all major things to help you get your next big sale!

  • For half a year, I had been bidding on print jobs in the leadup for Expo 86, a world’s fair in Vancouver. But I was a small startup, and the jobs kept going to bigger companies. I had done a print job for a designer a year or so earlier, and the invite package was sent out to countries and companies to come to Vancouver and participate, and it had won the designer an award at the annual Graphic Design awards. So one day, pissed off, another job got awarded to someone else. I marched into the head offices of the fair and got a meeting with the guy in charge of print contracts. I tossed the sample of the invite on his desk and said something to the effect that my work was good enough to send to the world on behalf of your fair and Canada and good enough to win their head graphic designer an award, so what’s it take for a local company to get a chance to get a job from your organization? The guy commented, “Nice work. You did this?” I left. Within a few days, I started to get a bunch of work from the fair (displays, site maps, decorative panels; this was pre-digital) and then more than we could handle from the country pavilions. After Expo was over, we ended up printing all the displays for the Canadian pavilion at the Osaka World’s Fair in 1989, Vancouver Science World, and lots of other places during those crazy years before wide-format digital took over the display market. You’re never too small to go after big contracts. —  ANDY MACDOUGALL, MACDOUGALL SCREEN PRINTING, ROYSTON, BRITISH COLUMBIA
  • We were chosen to produce shirts for a major event based upon our handling of a previous event. Also, in a situation where no other screen printer could do the project on short notice, we could, and our client was grateful.— ANDREW GOLD, 247 TEESHIRTS, NORTH MIAMI BEACH, FLORIDA

  • What has always worked best was creating actual samples and sending them to prospective buyers. Then follow up afterward. Using your logo or a variation of “Your Logo Here” doesn’t connect, as well. People want to see their logo or brand on the item.— MARSHALL ATKINSON, ATKINSON CONSULTING, MESA, ARIZONA
  • I flew to a different country to meet a high-profile customer.— GAVIN ST GEORGES, PROUD TSHIRTS, MIAMI
  • My business is in a warehouse complex with a dozen other businesses sharing a parking lot and doing different things. One day, while in the sandwich line at the subway nearby, I noticed a guy in line behind me who looked familiar from the complex. I had seen him parking his car before. I said hi, and we started chatting, and it turned out he was the owner of a wholesale distributor a few doors down. “How’s business?” I asked. “Great, but we are struggling to get the inventory across the border (we are in Canada). I was expecting 10,000 T-shirts to arrive today and only 3000 came. My customer will be pissed.” “Wait,” I said… “You sell T-shirts?” That chance meeting and conversation led to a proposal for just-in-time manufacturing at my shop three doors down. We had to do a lot of sampling and prove that we could meet the standards of the brands he would generally import. But after several months of phone calls, sampling, and FedEx, we got the go-ahead. The two of us have since made similar successful proposals to other brands that we are working together to manufacture locally with just-in-time delivery of large volume T-shirts straight to retail. So, you never know where a chat in the subway line might lead.— MATTHEW PIERROT, GETBOLD- T-SHIRT PRINTING AND EMBROIDERY, NORTH VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA
  • Just giving attention to our customers.— JULIA CADOTTE CAPPS, J’s SILKSCREENS LLC, EASTPOINT, MICHIGAN
  • We don’t do much, if any, outside sales. We focus on being real, approachable human beings. We are honest and open, and that naturally appeals to our clients.— SCOTT GARNETT, KING SCREEN, ROANOKE, VIRGINIA
  • We don’t make sales or get into bidding situations. Instead, we let our printing do our talking.— JOHN WILHELMSEN, DISTINCT IMPRESSION, TUCSON, ARIZONA

  • I did about 20 banners celebrating Kristi Yamaguchi’s Gold Medal win for businesses in Fremont. The neighboring mall, NewPark Mall, purchased a 30 x 10-foot banner. I told the Fremont Hub the size of NewPark Mall’s banner, and the marketing manager said to make our banners 40 x 15 feet. Then another shopping center asked if we could do their banners and what were other shopping centers purchasing. Needless to say, Mowry East Shopping Center facing NewPark Mall, had the biggest banners. It was fun and wild. Sometimes clients like to compete.— BILL BISCHOFF, BISCHOFF DESIGN/ATOMIC TEES, MODESTO, CALIFORNIA
  • One of the most inspiring things we do that always brings us sales is our work with the youth of our community. We help kids who have been in and out of the system find alternative ways to make money and learn soft skills.— SHAUN MACCARTHY, GL IMPRINTING, SYRACUSE, NEW YORK
  • I have produced duffle bags full of custom merch and even gone to see a cheerleader performance where we were pulled up on stage to be top of the human pyramid to win over a client once!— CHESSIE ROSIER-PARKER, SQUEEGEE AND INK, NEWBURY BERKSHIRE
  • Offer a month of product for free if the customer is not satisfied.— MICHAEL MCCALL, CHATTANOOGA LABELING SYSTEMS, CHATTANOOGA, TENNESSEE
  • Demonstrate exceptional value from doing business with us on multiple levels besides the actual creation and delivery of the decorated apparel.— MARK COUDRAY, COUDRAY GROWTH TECH, SAN LUIS OBISPO, CALIFORNIA

  • Did a shirt of a customer embarrassing himself and got a really big order from him the next day. Best thing I ever did. It worked great!— ARNOLD FOOTLE, DAHLGREENS, DEERFIELD, ILLINOIS
  • Printed a production run on a showroom machine in our works that other machine suppliers thought impossible.— WILLIAM KIPPAX, H G KIPPAX AND SONS, HUDDERSFIELD, UNITED KINGDOM

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a screen-printing business, you’re invited to join the Screen Printing Brain Squad. Take one five-minute quiz a month, and you’ll be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting screen-printing pros. Sign up here.




Let’s Talk About It

Creating a More Diverse and Inclusive Screen Printing Industry

LET’S TALK About It: Part 3 discusses how four screen printers have employed people with disabilities, why you should consider doing the same, the resources that are available, and more. Watch the live webinar, held August 16, moderated by Adrienne Palmer, editor-in-chief, Screen Printing magazine, with panelists Ali Banholzer, Amber Massey, Ryan Moor, and Jed Seifert. The multi-part series is hosted exclusively by ROQ.US and U.N.I.T.E Together. Let’s Talk About It: Part 1 focused on Black, female screen printers and can be watched here; Part 2 focused on the LGBTQ+ community and can be watched here.

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