Consultant Launches Sign-Specific Sales Research Project

Dave Fellman, president of a North Carolina-based sales and marketing consulting firm serving various aspects of the graphics arts industry, announces “The Sign Sales DNA Project,” a research study to determine what skills, attitudes and personality traits are most important to sign salespeople.

The president of David Fellman & Associates says the goal of the study is to identify both what salespeople and their sales managers and owners of sign shops think and, he says, “ultimately to get everyone on the same page.”

Every salesperson in the sign industry is invited to participate in the survey, Fellman says, along with every sign company owner and sales manager.

Earlier this year Fellman conducted a similar study for the printing industry, and the results it produced surprised him, he says.

He says that survey showed that salespeople and the owners/sales managers of printing companies often share similar opinions on what attributes and skills they thought made up a good salesperson, but those opinions often conflicted with what he, as someone with decades of sales experience in the industry, saw as most important.

“I expected there to be more difference between what sales employees said and what owners and managers said was important,” Fellman says. “But both categories were wrong, in my opinion.”

He’s curious if the same findings will come out of the sign sales survey.

“In working as a consultant, working as a sales/sales management consultant, it’s inescapable that there’s lots of underachievers in sales in printing, in signs,” Fellman told Sign & Digital Graphics. “My job is to work with them and turn them into something—try and improve their performance. So when you realize there are so many people not doing the job well, that always begs the question, ‘Why?’

“And I always say the answer starts with, ‘Most of these people never should have been hired in the first place.’ And printers and sign companies compound the problems by not training very well and not managing very well, but an awful lot of it starts because company owners and sales managers don’t know who they’re looking for or what they’re looking for when they’re interviewing for a sales position.”

Respondents to his survey will receive a basic report of the findings for free, but Fellman says the basic report doesn’t go into any detail in terms of demographic information. Complete reports on the survey, which will include Fellman’s own detailed analysis and commentary, will cost $59 for participants and $99 for non-participants, he says.

“In the detailed report, I say, ‘OK, this is what you do with this,’” Fellman says. “Each one of your salespeople—on a scale of one to ten—where do they rate in terms of these criteria? And once you know what they’re strong in and what they’re not strong in, now you can start thinking about a training plan or a management plan to (help them).”

He adds that salespeople, too, will be able to learn from the results. They can compare their own skills to what owners and sales managers think is important—as well as what Fellman has to say in his commentary—and decide where they might need additional help.

“I make a point in seminars, when I’m providing some training, that in the absence of training, if you really want to be successful as a salesperson, you’ve got to make yourself responsible for learning,” Fellman says. “You’ve got to read books, you’ve got to ask questions to learn the technical side of the business.”

The survey costs nothing to take, and Fellman says he’s hoping for at least as many participants as his printing sales survey, which drew more than 500 responses. To participate in the study go to between now and August 15.

For more information on Fellman visit

Cyrious Software is sponsoring the Sign Sales DNA Project.


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