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Take out yer beat'n stick . . .yet again.

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Marc Lizer, Oct 8, 2002.

  1. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I was going to name the toipc "really big order" on the recomendation of another grumbler, but after pulling all the related material in one place, I thought that mentioning the subject will bring out the good, bad and the ugly in the grumble. So instead of pretending it won't happen I just put on a really thick jersey like I'd wear to go out for Paintball and I'll just duck at the large swings and take the small hits.

    I just wanted to share with my fellow grumblers about a totally cool order we got. Now I can't tell you both the quantity and the total value, but I can give one or the other.

    Since the Dollar amount is so staggering to me I think that's what I'll lead with.

    We are starting production of an order that is worth over 100,000.00

    I'm still pretty much stunned too.

    Needless to say, it is the largest singe purchase order we have gotten. Even better,we have 40% upfront.

    And here is the kicker: It was a FramerSelect referal.


    That's my opening shot.

    Let the salvo's begin.
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  2. Sherry Gray

    Sherry Gray CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I have nothing to say but congratulations. Carry that amazed feeling for a long time... sometimes it helps get through the rough days.
  3. Bob Shirk MCPF

    Bob Shirk MCPF CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2

    I'll bite.
    My first thought is what's the order? What are you framing or doing for this customer?
    My second thought...Are you making a decent profit on the job?
  4. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Congratulations, Marc.

    Ah . . . what part of that are we supposed to beat up on you about?

    As this project progresses, I'd be interested in hearing some stories about how your shop "copes" with a volume order like this. (Of course, it could be a single frame. :eek: ) I have no idea how big your business is, but for many of us, a sudden - maybe unexpected - very large order is a mixed-blessing as we try to process the order in a timely fashion without alienating all of our other customers.

    How's FramerSelect workin' out for you, BTW? :D
  5. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    I really don't want to give too good of a road map to the customer on an open forum. For that matter, on a closed one with local or long distance competitors isn't a good idea either.

    However let's just say it is for a good number of pieces of framed colectable print material. Includes frame, mat, acrylic, black paper back, wire, corners, bag, shipper box, and master shipper box.

    You betcha. Wouldn't to it otherwise. The risk always needs to be comensurate with the gain.

    It just seems that the metion of FramerSelect usually brings out the adverserial side in folks.

    I was going to think of a witty anolgy, but I'll leave that to someone else.

    We will do the job over a six-week period starting on or about in a week or so.

    We have 1/3 of the mldg here, and all (I mean ALL)the other materials here. The goal is to not have this impact our regular workload at all. I was going to have 3 extra inexp temps come in during the day and have several inexp here for a shift in the evening.

    As it turns out I will be able to have a full (expierenced) crew in the evenings instead.

    As for business size: By LA standards we are not a big fish.

    I am as skepitcal as the next guy, but I have seen tangible results. Of course you don't know how many come and with no mention (even though you ask), of orders where I know where they came from (F/S) I think it is working as intended.

    Last Christmas I had a single 600.00 frame job.

    And another we got one guy who over the past 4 months has spent 12,000.00. About 2,000.00 a month for the first three, and 6,000.00 was in the month of Sept alone.

    The amazing thing is these folks wern't local. Meaning they are willing to travel to a "better" frameshop.

    The big order orginates in San Jose. If you are unfamiliar with California hit www.Mapquest.com

    The other was a lady in town from the East and needed to have something framed locally (way too big to get on the plane) as a Christmas gift. They used FramerSelect to find a framer in the city they were going to (Burbank), and called before getting on the plane.

    The third is located in San Pedro. Again go to www.Mapquest.com and enter North Hollywood and San Pedro in the fields you will see this guy travels. He passes (MANY) other shop to come the distance to us.

    The other thing that desterves mention is FS didn't get me the business. They just got me the introduction, or opening handshake from me to the poential customer. From there it was up to us to succeed or fail in the sale.

    But these are conections we may have not have the opportunity to meet up with if FS had not been in place.
  6. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Thanks for the opportunity. :D

    I'll have to come back to this one soon.
  7. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ok Marc, I have many questions, but I will start with a few.

    First I'd like to say that I am not impressed that you got 3 confirmed jobs in the 2 or 3 years you have been a FS member. You did say you have been a member since its inception... didn't you? The fact that 2 of the 3 jobs paid out well is inconclusive to me.

    I have no doubt that you got these jobs, but I find it a little convenient, that someone who has made a name for himself in this industry and writes for trade magazines got these jobs. I can only hope that this fact played no role in the 2 large referrals you received from FS.

    Here are my questions:

    1. How did you make contact with these three clients?

    2. How many total referrals have you received?

    3. How did you follow up with the other referrals that did not lead to jobs?

    4. How did you quote the big job, and did you know what number you had to beat?

    5. How are you delivering the work?

    I can see FSs great potential, and I do believe that they can offer great business advice and marketing material. However, it is the referrals that are the most important to me, and I need to hear from everyday framers that have had referrals, followed up and have been rewarded with jobs.
  8. The King

    The King SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Less, the referral system is pretty straight-forward. Once each month, you get a list of people in your geographic area who have visited the FramerSelect website and registered an interest. You have a certain amount of control over the zipcodes included in your list. If there is more than one FS member in your area, it is entirely likely that your lists may overlap. What you do with the list is up to you. FS will send prospects, not customers.

    It is unlikely that Marc's status is our industry had any effect on the referrals he received or the jobs he got from them. His customers don't care and I don't imagine FramerSelect cares. I suspect he offered a quality product at a competitive price to an interested buyer. No smoke and mirrors there.
  9. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    No sweat.

    Fair enough. I can understand your thoughts on the subject.

    However I think it will be 2 years as of March, so I guess that makes it 1 3/4 years. A strong bit shy of 3 years.

    As for 3 confirmed "hits" :in the same time period I can say that I can I got less confirmed new customers from the Telephone book.

    So draw your own conclusions. It just seems to me that F/S when it does hit customers hits "bank"s. While the telephone book hits "blanks." The Yellow is a great place to reach your existing customers when they forgot your number. Or new money tight shoppers/customers on the thrill of the hunt for the bargain and deal.

    I want to reach customers with gobs of cash they are willing to part with.

    F/S is not the be-it-end-all answer, heck, it may not even be an answer at all. There are other places, sources, tactics, and positionings that can put me in contact with the money-cow. But it appears the F/S, at least for now, is one of those methods.

    That being said: it may very well be a collossal waste of money, but as with any marketing/advertising you don't know till you count all the eggs.

    The "big" one was just from the website. They went to the site, got a number and called. It was consumer driven. No outside hands. The same with the lady from out of town.

    For the "middle" one: he got our name from F/S. While still making querries about a framer he came upon two vendor sites. He asked them for recomendations based on his needs. They both also recomended us.

    With three independent sources independent of eachother naming us, he did not even shop other prices or shops.

    They called me/us on the phone.

    Self driven Web referals: Unknown.
    Names and Address via reader response card: At first I was getting all the N & A for my state, and I could sort by Zip, or city. It was a larger list, and I suspect the names were slightly stale by a month because it was a deveoping system. But I still like the big list. It gave a good idea of stats of who was responding and how many.
    Now I am getting a much smaller list by zip to my area. I get it monthly and the name are fresh and hot. This has it's bennies too.

    First off: You nor I do not know how many did not lead to jobs.
    So let's ask that again:
    I treat the short list different that the big list. The leads are fresh, close and qualified.

    I'm not a total idiot (just a partial one), I make **** good use of it!


    They did not solicit other bids. They had a target buy and a target sell.

    I do not know what the exact target buy was, but I know we were about 7% above. And we were 4 times the price of overseas.

    However they were interested in quality and delivery time over price.

    We are delivering it in partials to a fulfillment house. We will be billing as delivered, not upon total completion. Y'know, it's a cash flow thing we put in the terms.

    Let me ask you this: For the most part, I am guessing you know who came from where when a new customer comes in, like we do.

    But people who were sent from another person are proud to state that "so and so" sent me. Or "so and so" raves about your work . . .

    There are the other folks who came from somewhere else, and are a bit quiet about it.

    Now if you are using the referals with a tease, gift or other carrot then you may know where they are from(advertising). If it is marketing you ma or may not find out.

    That bears out by watching the overall numbers.
  10. Marc Lizer

    Marc Lizer SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    That said, there are several things I'd like to snip out of context and address:

    There are no rewards, as in being awarded a job. Just rewards for hard work or effort put in.

    That said, I still don't like the the word rewarded.

    I'd rather say: gained new customers thru tried and true marketing and advertisng skills.

    Because you don't want just one job. You want the customer for life. You want thier family, friends, children, relatives, co-workders, bosses, employers, neighbors, dogs, cats. Everyone they touch. Not just the reward of a frame-job.

    The reward of an ongoing potential revenue source.

    The other snip is:

    I had to chuckle at that for a moment.

    When people sit down and type out great hero-worship adn deifiing post on The Grumble, my name is nary in the mention. Sure I write may write for a trade mag, but I write from the perspective of a framer and not as a consultant.

    In the end, my gravy comes from my customers no from any hidden or proclaimed vendor sources.

    As such, when I do post or write, I really don't mind saying something that is going to be unpopular with a particular vendor. I don't need to worry about upsetting the gravy train. I also don't need to worry about keeping myself in the "public" eye so a vendor constantly feels they are getting the 1099 dollars they are paying for the good word to be mentioned.

    But I still have to chuckle:
    "Name for himself."

    I have a name that comes from my shop and my customers, and my peers. I do not have a name that has been annointed upon me. thru savy PR or other interested parties.

    So if you feel I have a "name" then it is only becuase you have chosen to ascribe value to other statements I have made. So the name I have is only the power you have given it.

    In the end I'm just another grumbler and another framer. No strings attached, so that means no one is pulling them.
  11. Less

    Less SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    First I would like to say that I do not disagree with anything that has been stated in this thread.


    I believe that no names and addresses are forwarded from the FS website. The visitors have to make that contact themselves. The names and addresses you get are from the magazine reader response cards only. Readers check off any of the advertisers that they have an interest in.


    It is even more disappointing that the jobs you received came from FS website visits only. It appears that you have received no jobs from the reader responses names you receive each month.

    I will ask a couple of questions again.

    1. On the average, how many names and addresses have you received per month in the last six months?

    2. Of the names you have received, how many have you contacted either by direct mail, phone, or email?

    3. Are the frames being delivered via common carrier, or by other means (UPS etc.), and is it included in the price?

    And Marc, I guess you have become a respected "name" for me. Your column in PFM was one that I have enjoyed the most. I also have grown to respect your apparent candor and personal drive.
  12. Mike Labbe

    Mike Labbe Member, Former moderator team volunteer

    I think he may have meant people who went on the FS web site and called the 800 referral #.

    Most people probably use the search feature and find it themselves.

    The majority of referrals seem to come from the magazine cards. FS breaks it down each month and tells us the source of each lead.

    We send out the oversized cards monthly and follow up with each lead, but haven't had any bites yet - as far as I know.

    It's difficult to measure the success of something like this, especially in only 3 months. (for a 6 month old startup company) I consider exposure and brand recognition as the keys here, and hope that these people will have our logo imprinted in their heads when the need for our service arrives.

    If someone does come in as a result with a 100k order, I'll probably require the cardiac jump-start paddles. :eek:

    In any case, Marc is a great guy and we couldn't be happier for him.
  13. Emibub

    Emibub PFG, Picture Framing God

    Marc, This might sound like I'm just scoring points since I do still owe you money for the underpinner, but you are a very well spoken person. I like the idea that you stay with your principles even though you do write for an advertisement driven magazine. We need more "rabble rousers" in our industry. :rolleyes:
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