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Understanding Your  Customers 

Understanding Your  Customers 

Business Tips

As a decorator, the wealth of potential customers can make it difficult to really know your market and understand your customer. For Marian Hinebauch however, this came naturally. Through intuitive decisions and incredible dedication, she was able to land a massive client order that radically changed her business. Today, Marian shares some of her best advice on how you can approach customer orders.

Marian Hinebauch was in the medical field for years before deciding to pursue screen printing. With no background in apparel, she was a little lost with where to start and how to go about it. Fast-forward 15 years and multiple large orders later, Marian managed to transform her lack of experience into a thriving business. We caught up with Marian over her morning coffee to hear how she managed it and how she would advise others to do the same.

Go the extra mile

“One thing I’ve done from day 1,” Marian tells us, “is to go outside the box.” Marian’s successes began when she presented a prospective buyer with an entire set of samples already embellished with their logo. This is something she’s done time and time again. “People think I’m crazy because it’s an expense. But it’s a gamble that I’m willing to take and a gamble that I’ve found is really paying off.” And it did pay off. The customer was so impressed by Marian's ingenuity that they not only made that apparel order but were more than happy to have Marian manage twelve additional promotional items.

Be perceptive

The pre-decorated samples grabbed the customer’s attention but it was Marian’s perceptiveness that secured it. "We were in their environment [for the meeting] so we looked around right when we first came in and saw all the stuff they had,” she recalls. After realizing the customer had separate companies printing for them, Marian saw a clear solution right in front of her. She offered to satisfy their fulfillment as one, unified company. By simply taking notice and being inquisitive, Marian was able to multiply her original order almost tenfold.

Confidence is key

Marian emphasizes how a confident attitude was key to the success of that order. “It was a leap of faith. We literally had no idea what the outcome would be. At that point, I was only prepared for apparel.” When we asked her how she had the confidence to take such a risk, she replied, “You know what? You have to have confidence in life. At a very young age, my dad said; ‘Marian, what's the worst thing that could happen in sales? Someone will say no. And if that's the worst thing that can happen, it's a pretty good day.’ There are many other people out there who are going to say yes!"

Learn from your previous experiences

This wasn’t the first time Marian used her intuition and perceptiveness during an order either. She tells us how once, a client came in asking for a small retail order wearing a shirt that she felt she could really improve on. “People call me eagle-eyes!” she jokes. That’s how she got the idea to start printing client logos on sample apparel so her clients could see the quality before committing.

Keep learning

Marian’s last nugget of advice is plain and simple. "You can't be a person who thinks you know everything, believe me. I know nothing and learn from everybody. You see, if I can help my customers and make them grow — it’s only going to make me grow.”