A lesson relearned; again!

Cliff Wilson

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Industry Vendor
May 14, 2002
Worcester, MA
Lady comes in, two 8 1/2 x 11 pieces of paper, kind of crinkled, ink jet, one's a poem with colored stars and one's an essay with a printed phot in the middle. Her daughters did them for school projects.

She says, "I just want to do something simple and I really don't want to spend a lot on these."

I show her some ready-made "document frames" for about $20.

She says, "what about a mat?" So I show her some nice single mats and some black frames and metals.

I can tell she is still not thrilled. I say to myself, "what the heck" and put on a double mat with nice silver frame on one and a red wood frame on the other. She's happy. Total --- just over $225.

Apparently, that was "not a lot."

After she leaves I whack myself in the head a few times. I know better, I know better! Good design first. Good design first. Arghhh, you think you know better and then you do dumb stuff!
Originally posted by Cliff Wilson:
Arghhh, you think you know better and then you do dumb stuff!
Not dumb unless you never pull out the good design, and she walks. Nice save!

Cliff, it's that sort of thing that keeps you "normal"!!

Cliff, you did it the hard way! It's always easier to go down than up...gravity works that way.

Good save...your stats just went up...

Dave Makielski
Hey Dave, speaking of up-selling; how are the fabric sales doing?

Cliff, I did that one myself this last christmas. I swear that woman didn't look like more than a $20 bill. Photo of her grandson, graduation 8th grade, down syndrom. Final: $185. Granny loves that boy.
The real kicker is that some people, regardless of what they can afford, would think that the original $20 plan was "a lot."

Maybe even outrageous.

One of the reasons I stopped selling cameras when my shop was a few years old was because, too often, I would sell them a point-an-shoot camera when what they really (secretly) wanted was an SLR with a half-dozen lenses.

I was SURE they told me they didn't want to spend a lot.
I learned through personal experience 30 years ago that no sale's person should ever prejudge a customer. True story......

When I was in my 20's I was hired as a sales rep to sell clothing to department stores and was traveling 5 states. The company not only paid travel expenses, the pay was excellent as well. Especially for a girl!

From all the travel the miles racked up quickly and it wasn't long before I needed a new car. Being the independent woman I am I went alone to a near by auto dealer where I had already seen the car of my dreams and had decided to buy it.

Now you must remember that 30 years ago the way women were treated by lending institutions was very different than today. At the time my income was greater than my husbands and because of that my bank had allowed me to buy my cars on my signature alone...which was almost unheard of back then.

Anyway, off I went to purchase my new car with my hair in pigtails, wearing a cowboy hat, jeans, a ski jacket, and white lama fur boots. I think you get the picture.

Now, I walk into the showroom checkbook in hand, at a dealership where I had already seen the car that I wanted to buy. It was on the showroom floor and was pretty spendy for the time, but I could afford it, and went in with the intentions of buying it.

As I am looking at the car a salesman walks up and says "hi, I'm Al, can I help you?" I introduced myself and said, "yes, I'm interested in buying this car". Remember, I was holding a checkbook in my hand.

The salesman immediately starts asking me questions about my marital status and wanted to know if my husband had seen the car and why he didn't come in with me. Not a good move.

After evading his questions for awhile I had finally had enough and smiled sweetly at the man and asked, "Al, do you need your wife here to sell me this car?"
"Why no, of course not", he replied.

"Well I don't need my husband to buy it either!" I spat. Then turned and marched out the door. The burnt rubber I left in the driveway is probably still there after all these years.

To this day when ever I start to prejudge someone, I think about Al and what he lost that day by prejudging me, and then I show the most expensive framing first....no matter what customer looks like. It doesn't take long for them to tell me if they can afford it or not. Most of the time they can
Great story Pat! I LOVE your response to him...."do you need your wife to sell me this car?" Good one!

Great anology to think about as we try to make the best approaches in our business.
Good story Pat, I've heard many similar.

Funny thing is it wasn't the customer I was pre-judging, it was the "art." Clearly each of these could be reprinted on their home printer anytime. That, coupled with the "I don't want to spend a lot," completely threw me.

Sometimes it's just HARD not to make assumptions!
Maybe the framing industry has become too enamoured with "preservation", "conservation" or whatever anyone wants to call it. Some people just want something that looks nice and don't care whether it's going to last five years versus fifty, or whether they can print another one or not. Just because it's sometimes a bad thing doesn't mean it always is.