How do you explain cc to customers?

Terry Scidmore CPF

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Jul 5, 2001
Seattle, WA 98168
Reading the responses to the question on conservation glazing and fading got me wondering -

How do you present to your customer the benefits and limitations of the product? How do you explain to them what they are buying and what kind of performance they should expect out of a product?

My friends who are in other lines doing sales always present products by using the phrases "according to the manufacturer" or "the manufacturer claims", rather than trying to suggest that they have specific knowledge or experience with the product.

Yes, they sell the benefits, but they tippy toe around the limitations by using those phrases.

I tell my customers that all light will cause fading, the less light the better, and that conservation glazing helps protect the structure or integrity of the paper or fabric - which, unlike fading, is a kind of damage that they can't see happening.

But most customers are concerned with fading and want assurances that by using conservation glazing, they will extend the color life of their art by a significant time period - usually in their mind they are thinking in terms of years if not "forever" or "longer than they will be alive".
I think we offer too many choices and force our customers to make too many decisions. It's hard-enough for some of them to decide between mahogany and cherry.

I usually say something like, "I'd recommend conservation glass. It has a coating that will help slow down fading. I use it 90% of the time." Rarely will I get an argument.

The only time we discuss it much is if I'm bidding on a volume job where pennies matter.

We also don't agonize over whether to use alpha cellulose board, since everything else is special-order.
So you use it 90% of the time yet still ask. Why? Why not just use it and suggest removing it if somebody balks on price?
I always say "it's like sunscreen for your art. It's not perfect, nor fool-proof, but it's the best protection we have available. And in this day and time, we need all the help we can get for our skin as well as our art."

I only offer CC glass to my customers. If they want regular glass, I will give it to them after explaining why they should use the CC glass.

If it seems like they may be price shopping, I will tell them that the estimate is based on Conservation Glass and that they should ensure that all other estimates deal with the same quality glass. The key word is "quality" to the customer.

I sell about 90% CC products and 10% Acrylite and Premium Clear glass. Almost all of my customers are more concerned with protecting their art than saving a few bucks on the glass. I also make sure that they know that the glass is probably the least of the cost of the major framing materials.

This rationale does not work for me with Museum Glass even with the recent lower pricing. That is still the hardest glass for me to sell to a customer.

So you use it 90% of the time yet still ask.
No, Jay. That was my point. Did you see a question there somewhere? I tell them I'd recommend CC glass, WallBuddies, a mat about this wide and a reversible mounting or whatever else makes sense.

At no point do I say, "Would you like conservation glass, etc?" I want them to feel like they have a choice, but I want them to feel like there is really only one sensible choice. If they insist they want regular glass, they'll get it and I won't whine about it.

This is a lot different than making them go through a check-list of options, but it's also different than just plowing ahead without even explaining what you're doing and why.

One of the great thing about repeat customers is that, after while, you CAN just plow ahead without having to explain everything.

Here's an analogy that doesn't involve dogs: If you'd really like your customers to prepay their orders, you don't say, "Would you like to pay for that today?" You'd say, "Would like to use cash, check or credit card?"

But you wouldn't snatch the credit card out of her purse and run it through without mentioning it, would you?
We automatically put it on, the only choice we give the customer is clear or non glare. 99.99% of customers never question it.

Why confuse the customer or give them the option to lower the price of framing????
I love your reply, Betty! Ron, you are such a fast thinker, you amaze me!

What I am really trying to get at is how you explain conservation glazing to customers when they ask more in depth questions, I guess.

I used to use the sunscreen explanation until a customer pointed out that it was a "false analagy". He proceeded to explain that sunscreen is applied to "unprotected" skin, and the difference in how soon you would burn was based on how much longer the level of sunscreen would let you stay out in the sun over the "unprotected" skin time. Then he pointed out that glass already filters out x amount of UV, and I should be able to tell customers how much longer their art would last by using the UV filtering product over the regular product - since that was what all of the advertising was alluding to.

Other customers have asked just as detailed questions, and I feel that I should be able to give them a good, solid answer.

I guess that my store is kind of the Bermuda Triangle of customers!
Do your glass sales reps give you little pamphlets that are geared to the consumers explaining conservation glass? I have them on the counter, and I'll include ones about museum glass or other higher-end glass inside the customer's packages.
If you don't, give your local rep a call and I'll guarantee they'll be more than happy to come over with a bunch, along with all the other material with their specs. Sometimes it helps to read those, as I've had a few questions of my own answered by them.
Terry, there is no quantitative answer. Ask them how much longer a bypass surgery patient will last than one with none. Real life has far too many variables.

Send them here.
for a begining education. Then send them to MIT!

I think I know what you're after, Terry. You'd like to be able to say, "With CC glass, this print will resist noticeable fading for 123 years, 8 months and 12 days - give or take."

That would imply a knowledge of the paper and ink and lighting that we just don't have, so I stick with generalities. "This glass will provide enough additional protection to make it well-worth the extra $15."

Jay, I misunderstood your comment. I thought you were suggesting we install conservation glass in every frame package and then remove it if there is an objection. My POS does include CC glass in every price quote and gives me the option to change it after a brief discussion with the customer. I guess that's what you meant.
You've had a long week. Im going to let you take an extra day off.
Thanks, Negavert! I do have those pamphlets and I do give them to my customers. Some ask more in depth questions - as Ron wrote, wanting specific claims concerning time, which I explain that we really can't give because of the complexity of fading.

Rebecca - I did send a customer to Padfields site, as well as to a couple of others you have posted on the grumble. Several weeks ago a man called claiming that he was in LA (I am in Seattle!) and he was trying to find out where he could buy Tru Vue Tru Guard glass. He said that he had a picture that had the Tru Guard label on the back, and he wanted to buy the glass for his photographs. After I suggested that he simply pick up his yellow pages and look under Picture Frame Dealers for local framing places that would be glad to help him, he started pumping me for in depth answers to how the glass worked, how much protection it would give his color photos done by such and such process, etc. He asked me how he could get his hands on studies about conservation glazing and fading, so I gave him a number of names and studies that he could read on the internet.

So LA Grumblers, if this man has walked into your store recently, he is probably armed with a lot of in depth information about fading!

I think that guy's wife called me in Portland.
There was a great series of three articles in the Evergreen PFGuild newsletter last fall. Look through your back issues and be very careful, I did that and it was 9pm when I stopped and realized that I had missed lunch and dinner completely. And with my svelt figure, you know I can't stand to miss a meal.

What we talk about is that CC has a UV blocking that will help slow down some of the color degredation that happens with light and time. Many in the Norwest are getting very hip about "Low-E" in windows and have a "feel" for what we're talking about.
For the more extensive explaination, I give it the block is basically in the 200-400 cycle range where "most" of the light damage occures to blue and reds (yellow is in the 500). So it's a good cheap alternative to driving without insurance. Kind off.

Back when this all started with the original Denglass, my boss told the customer that it would "protect her picture". About two months later, the lady brought in the smashed picture and frame, and with a straight face said, "You told me that the very expensive glass you put on, would protect my picture. Well?" pointing to the mangled mess on the design table.
Poor Teri was almost in tears from frustration, confussion, anger and speachless. And as she stood gasping for breath and something to say, the woman continued with a smile, "Bet you didn't take into account some idiot driving his Ford truck through my wall and into my livingroom, did you?"
I always wondered if she had used one hook or two??

Baer! You are tipping that cup way to much!!!
I wrote that article. You asked for a copy of it and the supporting documentation - which I had for you to pick up at the festival in March.
You were just too busy being a great teacher to connect up with me! By the way, your class got super reviews! You are teaching for us again, next year, aren't you?????
Nice to see you on the grumble!
Originally posted by DTWDSM:
We automatically put it on, the only choice we give the customer is clear or non glare. 99.99% of customers never question it.

Why confuse the customer or give them the option to lower the price of framing????
I think one of the important parts of making a sale, is that you are including the customers input. Many customers will feel better about the money they are spending, if they feel they had some input in the descion process of the framing order. Instead of just automatically putting the glass in, you should really consider the customer, and let them make the ultimate decision. True, it is our jobs as framers to help guide them into the right direction but at the end, it should really be the customers decision to make not yours.