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Question It can't just be me can it?

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Puppiesonacid, Nov 4, 2010.

  1. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Just today... A guy walks in and asks about framing something.. Nothing in hand... Says i want to look at framing... I said ok. He said he wants to browse the frames... again i say ok...

    I stand there waiting for him to pick something, and he does very quickly... how much is this? Ill have to look it up for you, whats the size?

    20x30 ish he says... he was like... o... guess i should bring it in... so he went out to his car and got it.

    he brings it in and shows it to me... i tell him my lowest price first of roughly 79 dollars for the size it was... he procedes to pick out more expenive frames which is fine... i tell him the next one he looks at will be 240 fully framed.. and then 220 then to just about 200 for the 3 he picked.

    he says, that is more in the ball park... so then.. how much more would a fillet be... so i show him the fillets he picks out pretty much the first one he sees and says how much... so i say, well with that you will also need a mat to put it under to make it look decent with the frame you chose.. ok, no problem.. i want a black mat.. so i show him a black mat. he likes it and puts the fillet under it and asks how much.. i say about 320 finished with the frame you have chosen...

    He says... ok, ill have to ask my wife and think about it... i do tell him again, i can put it in something for less that will make it look nice and do the job if you want it framed. he says, i know, i have to think about it.. and out the door he goes...

    another person that comes in likes something and won't settle for less then what he wants... i didn't even price it with con glass or anything... I guess if i went with Jeffs idea, id have kept 5 more customers since they all had to think about spending 3 to 8 hundred on exactly what they wanted, but won't settle for less. knowing there are lower cost options..

    at least this guy didn't take a lot of time.
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  2. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I've always felt we need three things to make a sale: the art, the customer in your store, and a desposit. Without all three, you can't produce a bonified sale.

    For me, that means no quotes over the phone, and no quotes without the art. You can look at all the frames you want, but until you bring in the art, I can't make a sale and you're not getting a quote. I'll build rapport, but I will politely and firmly tell you that without seeing the art I have no way to know what needs to be done. Then I close with, "Can you bring it in now?"

    This is a sales business, get the customer and the art together. Then, you can close a sale.
  3. Framar

    Framar SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    It has always puzzled me when a person comes in empty-handed to look at framing and ask questions. I tell them they have to bring in the artwork for me to see because although I am very talented in many areas I am not a psychic.

    Then they always say, "I'll go get it - it's in the car."

    What is up with that?
  4. Carl-Heinz

    Carl-Heinz CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    Like Paul C says they need to have the art with them. Many people are just shopping! Not having the art with them allows them to leave, they just feel that the slick talking framer with superior intellect and Svengali eyes will force them to buy more than they want to spend and the only way they can save thimselves is to have an infallible excuse to leave.
  5. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    First and foremost, this is a people business. Customers have to feel comfortable with you. They need to feel comfortable with the person standing in front of them.

    I never make a person feel stupid for not having the art with them. They are new customers... maybe completely new to framing. Never make them feel like coming into a frame shop without their art is a ridiculous proposition. Maybe they just happened by... didn't know there was a frame shop and became intrigued.

    I've had many new customers that brought something small in... worked with them and designed and quoted a frame job... then they went outside and brought in 3 or 4 more things to frame!

    It is not about us... it is about them... as it should be.

    Selling is relationships and confidence... then follow through.

    Always remember that it is a big step for many people to bring a treasured item into us ... entrusting it to us... and spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars... to have their item finished... finished for probably the rest of their lives.

    They must have total trust in you, your design abilities (because you are the expert... how often have you heard that?) and your honesty and ethics.

    This is about selling yourself.
  6. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The biggest advantage of my package pricing is that all frames are the same price. When they have no artwork with them I tell them to point at a piece of art on the wall to indicate the size. They point, I give them the price and tell them any frame they see on my wall is that price. They are always amazed that I can make that offer since every where else they go tells them it depends on which frame they choose.

    99% of my sales are priced off of a single 8 1/2x11 page mounted to foam core. The page shows by size standard framing which is 2 mats, mounting or hinge and clear glass all non-conservation. The second column is the same but non-glare glass. The next column is full conservation with 2 mats. The last column is non-conservation with no mats and clear glass. I can price the job in a matter of seconds.
  7. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Dang, Jeff... you take all the friggin' romance out of the process!!!
  8. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No time for foreplay Dave, just wham bam thank you mam. NEXT!!
  9. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    You are right, and it is tough to do a lot of the time being im a one man shop... i have to go from focused on doing the work to customer service person... its a good thing to focus on remembering.

    the guy did have his art work... i did say that... he came in without went straight for the wall of samples before he really even said anything... he went out and got it after a min in the store after asking about the price one frame... it was a very wrinkled not so great poster he had... not a great work of art. not by any means. rolled up at some point and then smashed is a good description of it.

    imop was very nice to him... treated him like other customers that kind of rampage through the store and leave me standing there helpless since he dind't bring the art in right away asking how much it cost... uh???

    but i priced everything he asked about, answered his questions... he was happy with what he wanted, just not the price... ie.. i want the beemer for ford focus price type idea.... we will see... maybe he will come back.. eh... right...
  10. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'm an old bull, Jeff. Most of my work involves foreplay... takes more as you get older but has it's own benefits.

  11. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My post was more general and not in any way saying you handled things badly.

    We are human and sometimes people can pull our cord. Hey, it is our shop, our business and we do control our lives. Isn't that the main reason most of us are in business for ourselves? It sure isn't because it is easy!

  12. Paul N

    Paul N In Corner

    What Dave said is very true. He is a wise man!!:thumbsup:

    Many times people walk in empty handed. They ask lots of questions. I try to never assume they're BS'itting me. I give them enthusiastic and cheerful answers. And many, many times, they go back to their car and bring stuff in (the piece might be too big to bring in and get answers they may or may not agree with!)

    One should try to treat everybody as a potential customer, you really don't know. And many times when you least expect it, you get a sale and vice versa.

    Bringing art in doesn't mean anything either. Maybe they're trying to sell it to you.....(happens a lot!) :p
  13. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    i tell them i have to see it to know what to even suggest... that still never brings it in... ill try that answer next time :)
  14. artfolio

    artfolio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    My favourite customer story;

    A few years ago on a Friday I was about to close up for the night after a trying day and a difficult week when a tall, grey-haired man strolled in, yes, empty-handed. To make matters a bit more difficult he had a strangely slurring and very rapid speech pattern and my hearing is half shot to start with.

    He started questioning me about damaged artwork and wanted to know if proper framing could help restore it etc etc...... After explaining the virtues of conservation framing I also put in a plug for my conservator and, in all, spent around 45 minutes with him.

    He left, I went home and thought no more about it - just another conversation with a potential customer and no great expectations.

    It must have been a couple of months later, again on the fag-end of the day when he rocked up again with a large folder containing half a dozen John Gould lithographs collectively worth more than my whole shop. Only the best framing was good enough and those which had bad foxing etc were despatched to the conservator with a "whatever it costs" type of attitude.

    Since them "Mr Mumbles" as I originally dubbed him has spent thousands with me and my conservator has done pretty well too.

    The moral, I supppose, is you never know who is worth talking to.:popc:
  15. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    OK after reading your post here is what I read

    He didn't appear to me to be asking for cheaper framing, he was "OK" with the higher prices.

    YOU weren't. Get over it :) He picked your expensive mouding, then added a fillet and your reaction was "I can put it in a cheap black shinny metal frame." ? What?

    I hope you edited out some info :) My response to the guy would have been, "I'll put your estimate in the computer. When you come back we can go over this great design of yours with your wife."

    Feels like he is picking out the "family present", the big present for XMas. An important purchase, and didn't sound from your writing like he wanted to skimp. :) Don't put that seed in his head... Chances are good he'll be back, and it'll be December 18th and he'll want it for XMas. At that point bring up the estimate and say that you're sorry for "having to add a rush charge, but since it was designed earlier if we stick with this plan I can at least lower the rush fee, this one time..." I think he'll be fine paying the right price for a memorable XMas gift. :)
  16. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    For the record, I think one can be nice, courteous and polite while still using effective sales strategies and techniques. I certainly don't advocate being rude, abrupt or dismissive with anyone who walks in to your business. However, if your objective is make a sale, then you also need to be strong enough to rely on more than your charm and congeniality.

    Without the art, anything you do is guess work. Give out a price over the phone, or when you aren't in a position to close a sale and all you are doing is creating an auction. Yeah, sure it's a people business, blah, blah, blah. All businesses are. Can you name any that aren't?

    We sell a prodiuct that is a discretionary purchase, that makes it a sales skills business. You can frame the same picture for $100 or $500. Which do you want to sell? This makes it a sales business too. Sales skills, design skills and business skills are no longer optional.

    Your customers will love you in this business, but if don't sell effectively, they'll be lovin' someone else, 'cause you won't be here.
  17. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Bob... every single person in the last 3 months that have come get a price quote and says they have to think about it have not come back... I was playing statistics.. :)

    He did NOT have it when he walked in... He did not care about the higher prices you are right... he then went out to the car and got the poster... he found a frame he liked... and heard the price, he continued to look around... i found a couple that were similar and lower cost, and gave him the price on those.. that is when he said that is more in the ball park...

    i thought great. he likes it and the price... then he procedes to add more stuff to it.. he didn't even pick something that looked good with what he had.. first fillet he saw he picked. i told him the price and he said he have to ask his wife and think about it...

    maybe he will come back with his wife. I would be thrilled.

    so you can see why i offer the lowest price when he had nothing.. and then before he left I said.. you can do something just as nice for a lower price as well... i was just going off what what ive seen... trying something new instead of letting them walk without saying something about good looking and lower price when ITS the price making them think about it...

    sometimes i feel i have to repeat myself.. other times im sure i left something out :( on here... i thought i was pretty through on this... o well. English never was my best subject
  18. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I agree... Maybe I am to nice sometimes... This guy litterally came in started looking at the walls and picked something he liked...

    does this ever happen to you? and how do you handle them? cause i just let them look and pick since they seem to know what they want... I don't try to get in the way with people like this cause they tend to ignore anything i do anyways. i know i have to make the sale, but they seem to be doing a good job of it for me... most the time these people pick, like and pay...
  19. evartpat

    evartpat PFG, Picture Framing God

    My favorite is trying to design to a dinky photo on their @#%#!!##@ IPhone!!

    Happens more and more. I smile and try not to grit my teeth too hard...LOL!
  20. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    yeah pat!!! or they try to show you a frame to kind of match on the iphone and the color is way off and they didn't even bother to try to center the picture they are taking the photo of...
  21. wvframer

    wvframer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Sometimes they are just killing time before an appointment and decide to satisfy their curiosity. This is a winning situation if you think about what it costs to educate a consumer about custom framing and your business. Many folks only buy custom framing 3-4 times in their lives.

    Anyone who comes in for a few minutes is a long term investment on our part. It might be years before they make a purchase, but it is very likely they will choose a shop they feel familiar with for something important to them when the time comes.

    Things are tight right now, and it is likely that many things will go back into the closet until next year or whenever things look brighter for them. I can't think how many times I have done some price shopping for gifts but deferred the purchase until the following year once I knew what it was going to cost to have what I want.

    Both Paul and Dave are right though. I will only quote prices in the most rounded terms unless the art is on the table. If you do a good job of educating them, they will clearly understand why you can't give them a firm price.

    Make 'em as happy as you can, sell them by all means if you can, but don't think of it as wasted time, because most of the time it isn't. It just takes a long time sometimes to get them back in.
  22. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Normally, your objective is to close a sale. However, when you don't have both the customer and the art (item to be framed) present, then your objective is to close on a commitment to get both into your store. This applies to phone inquiries as well naked walk-ins (not art).

    The first step is to take control by asking questions, because the one asking questions is the one in control. Then, you want to build a rapport with the customer.

    For example:

    "Where's the art/picture now?"
    "Can you get it now?"
    No - "When can you bring it in?"
    My name is _____, ask for me when you come in.

    "I'll be happy to help you with that, do you know where we're located?"
    "Can you bring it in now?"
    My name is __________, ask for me when you come ine and I'll take good care of you."

    This is just an abbreviated version, but anyone can learn to sell more effectively if they are willing to put in a little time and if they make a commitment that it's important.

    Selling skills are the missing tool in many framing businesses. We've got lots of framers who can put the four sticks together and cut holes in matboard. A sales system and an understanding of how to sell is what is often absent. You only get a few chances to make a sale each day in this business, maximize the opportunity with a good sales system and you'll have happy customers and make money too.
  23. evartpat

    evartpat PFG, Picture Framing God

    I always explain NICELY that it is difficult to design without the piece present. I always encourage them to bring it in and I will design up something with them and give them a quote with no obligation.

    The last two words is usually what puts them at ease and gets them to bring in the art...at least for me...:)

    I also have had my share of people leaving afterwards, but lately, more have been coming back.

    A story of a recent occurence:

    I had a woman come in with a real nice serigraph...yes serigraph, not a giclee'..and she wanted a price quote. She brought it in poorly protected between 2 pieces of cardboard.

    We looked at some options, then she said she needed to check around. I told her to make sure to get quotes of CONSERVATION framing..apples to apples so-to-speak, after educating her on the conservation process. This was the first "nice" piece of art she was getting framed.

    At the end, I cut a piece of glassine to protect the image and put it between 2 pieces of foamboard because I could bear to see the print get damaged by how it was packaged in the corrugated cardboard. I told her I just wanted to better protect her art as she carried it about.

    She came back a week later and placed a 600 dollar frame order with me. Not because I was the cheapest. She told me it was my caring of the art, even though I didn't get the sale at the time of her initial visit. She felt, if I took that much care then, I would take good care of her art when framing it...:)

    Sometimes it is the little things that make the difference...not price.
  24. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I agree Pat; I have similar scenarios.

    Sometimes people come in without art, just to check you out. It's a chance to show them who you are, what you can do. It's a first impression; make sure it's a good one.
    The fact that someone comes in the door is good; work with it.

    I also agree with Bob Doyle; my impression was the same. This customer didn't express any price concerns. You did.
  25. couture's gallery

    couture's gallery PFG, Picture Framing God

    What Evartpat said....No obligation, free quote, and similar really takes away the hesitation , especially if they have never had a custom framing job before...the
    really don't know what to expect on how to go about getting it done...put 'em at ease and go from there.
  26. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    ill agree to the first part... it really is the end of the day that gets me...

    ok.. people won't say straight out they have price concerns unless they are younger... i found that to be true every time in the last few months as well. im saying these last few months are different, so i need to learn to adjust... not just making up excuses... even my wife agrees... but the guy did go and ask about the price of another frame after finding the one he liked... to me that is concerned about price...

    that is the only reason i said anything at the end like that before he left.. im not trying to argue with you... im sure i goofed in some way after thinking the whole situation over...

    thanks for the input so far... it makes me rethink how i am doing things and hopefully change for the better if i see reason to do so.

    i like other ideas a lot... makes me see things i never would have thought of. :)
  27. PicturedFramer

    PicturedFramer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    That's it POA, lesson learned and we move on and remember how to approach each situation with careful analysis and then proceed to get control of the sale. Be nice, kind, patient and have real concern for their predicament with no art at hand. It's all calculated by the customer who wants control and are just seeing how you approach them for a sale. If you are pushy they will push back and if you are wishy washy they will see that no clear decision can be made here, they will feel you are not helping and perhaps not bring in the stuff in the car. It's all a big dance between you and the customer. So romance them, love them and you could score big.

    "No time for foreplay, just wham bam thank you mam. NEXT!"..Jeff
    Sorry Jeff, that's not my approach...
  28. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Oh...I'm always kind , nice and patient with customers.
    A lady last week had 4 family pics she wanted framed. All already mounted to foam core.... 2 8x10's, one 20x24 and an 11x14.......

    We spent over and hour last week just picking out the right ones....
    Of course she wanted NG glass.....and a liner....blah blah blah.....

    When it came to price.....all 4 we roughly going to be about $900.

    She flipped..... started picking OTHER frames that she didnt like as well...and really made only the difference of like $100 in the order.

    Then she asks me......"Do you think Michael's would be cheaper?"
    REALLY ? :bdh: Nearest M's is 30 miles away........

    OH and by the way ....I also got the scoop on thier recent trip to FL......where they have a summer home.....

    Nice doesnt always help.......... People really are all about themselves....
  29. evartpat

    evartpat PFG, Picture Framing God

    Oh yes, this is true. I have had my share of unbelievably inconsiderate customers as well. I sometimes wonder if they even realize how insulting they can be...:nuts:
  30. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    ouch.... ive had things sort of like that happen too... but no one has mentioned going to M's because they are cheaper...

    Im guessing she didn't get anything done?
  31. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    IDK.....that was last week.....I did tell her to make sure she was comparing apples to apples......but I really think price will win out in the end....... who knows right?

    I never really have to compete with anyone else... so who knows...if they want to drive all the way there to MAYBE save on thier order... go ahead.... :thumbsup:
  32. Puppiesonacid

    Puppiesonacid SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Im pretty sure she won't unless she goes for the cheapest frames they have. M's customers never win next to me around here... they just think they do... but they are finding it out little by little..
  33. Bill C

    Bill C CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    M's is not cheaper, even with their 50-60 off. I am not cheap, because I sell mostly Larson and Roma. But I have had multiple customers tell me my prices are almost half of M's 60% off price.
  34. PicturedFramer

    PicturedFramer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    OK nice doesn't always work.
    So look for an opportunity to belittle them and insult them, tell them how you REALLY feel. Their art stinks, they have the tastes of a boar and can they please leave and go to M's.

    So much for customer service!
  35. evartpat

    evartpat PFG, Picture Framing God


    I may think that they are rude...but what the heck??

    Whatever dood! :icon11:
  36. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Not sure how you came away with this interpretation of what she wrote. I don't think she operates that way.

    I believe we all understand, and strive to achieve, good customer service, but you also have to protect your business and keep yourself out of therapy too.
  37. Wanta B.Framer

    Wanta B.Framer CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    It makes me think of The Simpsons when Stampy, Bart's pet elephant has to move to a reserve. He asks the park supervisor why his pet elephant keep ramming his head into the other elephant's torso and the the park guy responds, "It's just like with humans, some elephants are just, well, jerks."
  38. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Funny you mention this, I have one customer like that. He picks something out he really really likes. I quote him. He then goes to different samples. I patiently price out each of them.

    Now, he is a returning customer who places $800plus orders (per piece).
    He did confuse me in the beginning with this, I still can't figure out why he does this. It is not a real price concern with him (he always pays in full, no hurry take your time) he just wants to see more options maybe.
  39. Sister

    Sister MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    The majority of my customers are great, but I, too, have had those who continue to teach me "creative ways in public relations". The one who still bears repeating is the customer who came in late on a Thursday afternoon wanting a large piece framed for pickup the next day so she could impress her sorority sisters who she had not seen in 20 years. After politely explaining to her why I could not possibly do it that quickly, she responded with ......

    "Do you mean you are telling me 'No'?"

    It was all I could do to keep from laughing out loud. Again, I calmly said,

    "I'm sorry, but yes mam, I am."

    It just so happened I was going to be closed the next week for vacation (which I had not done in 12 years). That really ticked her off that it would be close to two weeks before I could do it anyway. I just want to tell them to rewind, repeat, and listen to themselves.
  40. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    THE NERVE OF YOU to actually take a vacation!!! LOL

    I cant wait to be in labor and have someone beating down my door and calling that they need a rush job......You know its going to happen!!!!
  41. Sister

    Sister MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Ok, you win; no one-up on that. . . LOL . . . Yes, you are right because it will happen!
  42. DVieau2

    DVieau2 PFG, Picture Framing God

    So you ask yourself, Why do I get an unfair number of impossible customers?

    If your kind and considerate and you have a reputation for high quality work your just going to get a higher percentage of difficult and fussy customers.

    If they weren't difficult and fussy they would be big box customers.

    In other words, every @$$hole who walks in the door is a testimonial to your good work.

  43. Paul Cascio

    Paul Cascio SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There's nothing I like better than @$$holes and tail lights.

    You tolerence @ssholes is directly proportionate to your ability to calculate surcharges.
  44. lisamarie_b

    lisamarie_b CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    How about the ones who take all your time designing and pricing and then "secretly" start writing down all your frame numbers and start taking pictures of them with their cell phones. Then they say, BUT I HAVE TO ASK MY HUSBAND, thanks for your time, and they leave (to go price them elsewhere).

    I'm trying to figure out a nice way of explaining to those people that it makes it hard for us to do our best consulting with them when we're worried about them stealing our designs.
  45. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    HAHAHHHA..........that is definately one way to look at it! ;)
  46. PicturedFramer

    PicturedFramer MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    I was trying to be sarcastic and it all should have been in green type.
    I know you better than that and you wouldn't treat your customer in that fashion. My apologies if you took it wrong. I've had those callous rude and inconsiderate blow holes in my shop and they know what they are doing. I usually try not to help them very much and find something else to entertain myself with at their expense. So I show them the most expensive stuff I have and ask how many would they like? They leave fairly soon.

    Speaking of therapy, I have to go see my board certified sex therapist
    we're doing some research on "artist dysfunction" AD. Her name is Dr. Diana Wiley, PH.D. When an artist and a framer hit the wall.
  47. Sister

    Sister MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    My sentiments exactly. You gotta love POS software (I use LifeSaver). You can add those little "Specials" all day long. LOL
  48. Dave

    Dave SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    "It can't just be me can it?"

    I have to honestly say I haven't had an A-hole customer in at least the last seven years. Really. All of my customers are wonderful to work with. I am serious.

  49. blackiris

    blackiris SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That's just because you are cute Dave!!! :p
  50. Sister

    Sister MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    Only once did a customer blatantly do this, but you know what? It was one of those who I hoped would go somewhere else because there was no pleasing her.
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