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Hi All! I’m at a largish shop, lots of customers coming through, lots of sales. What I have been running into is sales staff giving away workshop services as perks to clients. This in and of itself is not a problem, the luthiers get paid regardless, the problem is that front staff are: 1 desciding what the customer needs without asking the workshop. 2. Selling customers repair jobs based on the sales persons opinion, or what the customers thinks they need. Workshop staff is then expected to conform to what the sales staff promised the customer. I understand that sales is the department that is most “money adjacent” and therefore has their needs prioritized. I also understand that pleasing a customer, even if their request is a little bonkers, is of paramount importance. But isn’t this a little like a car salesperson talking about engine repair? “No problem! We can totally swap your Prius’ engine with a Ferrari!” ”What’s that? You have a flat tire? Well I’m gonna have the boys replace the axels, wheels, tires, and wiper blades. That will definitely fix it!” My actual questions would be: What has been people’s experience concerning who has the last word in situations like this? Has anyone had to deal with a similar situation with sales staff diagnosing instruments? Is this power structure common? Verboten? How could one convince the higher ups to put a stop to this? Needless to say I think anyone who doesn’t have a LOT of the right kind of training should ever try to determine what repairs would be appropriate. And “a little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is at play here. Thanks in advance.
I've been contemplating/discussing the challenges of selling 'common' products in a saturated marketplace. Violins fall into that category. Everyone knows what a violin is. There are low end (mass produced), middle range, high end (bench made), and what I'd group as luxury instruments (where provenance is everything)...so anyone can find one at any price point to meet their needs/wants. The internet is great - but it's also overwhelming. If I start looking for something (anything) I find myself in a confusing forest almost immediately. Often times I can't tell what's what. However, while the internet is evolving, it's not going anywhere, so this overwhelming access to 'stuff' isn't going to disappear. I predict it's only going to get worse. A. How do you establish a niche for yourself in this climate? Most MNers would fall into the middle/high end market. How do you advertise? Do you have enough clientele? Where do they come from? What led them to you? B. If you are a consumer of any similar product (ie. where you want something handcrafted and not mass produced) - how do you search for what you want? How do you sort through the mass of items to narrow it down?
This question was sparked by a comment made by Mr. Burgess in the recent "Beginning Luthier" thread: How much time do you spend building new instruments vs doing repairs and/or sales? Which activity actually pays the bills and which of these activities do you like doing the most?