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This Is A New One For Me!

MitchelC

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
Recently (the past 6 months) more and more "crazy" customers have been wanting something framed "professionally". I begin showing them mat(s) that would enhance their print, photo, etc.. They said the wanted the "professional look"... black frame, black bottom mat & white top mat. This morning, a customer comes in with a 16 x 20" wedding photo. Beautiful photo. What she chose? Black frame, black bottom mat & white top mat. I asked her why she chose this. She said it was to "enhance" the photo. It looks like a ready made frame/mat she picked up at WalMart. I completed it a few minutes ago and put it in a closet. CrAzY PeOpLe out there! I hope I don't have to make my closet any larger! What a shame.... lol☺
 
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cjmst3k

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
When someone comes in, the first thing I usually ask is "Do you have a design you wanted, or can I show you what design comes to my mind?"

This does three important things:

-Lets the customer know they are "driving".
-Sorts out the "I only want it this way" customers from the "I'm open to ideas" customers.
-It peaks the interest of people who had an idea, but before you have shown them their idea, they want to see your idea first which gives your design an advantage.

On that 3rd part above, most often after I show them my best design, they usually abandon what idea they have which often is likely a black frame with a white mat. Heck, it happened exactly this way about 30 minutes ago. So the phrase at the top is a helpful one.

Another helpful thing is to explain your design as you go.

While shuffling mats "I usually choose a neutral mat for the top mat for a landscape, but neutral is relative to the colors of the picture. You see, this white mat might be neutral on a black-and-white photo, but the white mat is the loudest thing on this landscape, so lets see if we have a good soft but rich beige which is the brightest this image gets".

While searching frames "This picture being an older one seems to have some character. These Italian olive wood frames have a "well worn, distressed" look to them which may look more comfortable on the piece rather than a frame which is pristine.

All these descriptors help the customer understand and visualize the finished project, and how it may enhance rather than just be a container.
 
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Joe B

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
The jail look is professional - black bar, white space, and black bar :eek: It's considered professional looking because the starving artist and photographers are cheeping out because they just can't afford more. Also, the juried shows - they are always black and white so the artist or photographer is judged on their work not the professional frame job. In many cases, especially with some of the art that is being produced and photos that are being taken this day and age, it is the frame job that makes the art or photo look good. (boy am I going to get in trouble for that comment:rolleyes:) Of course when some people see the black and white they think it looks professional because they see so much of that at shows and studios.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
When someone comes in, the first thing I usually ask is "Do you have a design you wanted, or can I show you what design comes to my mind?"
I do exactly the same thing, but if the customer says "I'm not looking to spend a lot" when I ask them if they have an idea in mind, then they are helping me to not waste a lot of time designing a $300 framing job when they are thinking $75 (or even $50..:eek:)
I don't like for our other sales people, who are also framers, to spend 30 minutes designing a job that looks great only to find out that the customer would never even spend half of what the design would cost no matter how great it would look.

When they say "I'm not looking to spend a lot" I show them our least expensive plain black Studio moulding with and without a mat.
If that price is too expensive, we have some closeout mouldings that we got when we took over another frameshop that are very discounted lengths.
If that's STILL too expensive, then we are down to four thumbtacks (or maybe just two)....:oops:

That's not to say that we can't or don't move a customer up to spending more, but you get a sense of where they might go.
 
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prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Artists often go for the 'basic' look because they don't know who the end-user will be. Also because they can
frame up maybe 40-50 paintings/prints without spending a fortune on frames that may well put some buyers off.
These are so-called 'exhibition' frames. It gives the display a cohesive look, albeit a bit innocuous. Any buyers are then
free to re-frame the painting to their own taste.

Sometimes people want "a simple pine frame" which translates to "I want it cheap". They don't know that pine frames are
not necessarily cheap. Now and then I nail down what their budget is and do a frame to fit. I do have a huge amount of
offcuts and orphan frames/moulding so very often I can knock up a very decent frame where the materials cost to me is
essentially next to zero.
OK, they are don't have the choice but generally they don't know what they want to start with. Never had a knock-back anyway.

Very often people confuse 'minimal' with 'cheap'. o_O
 

alacrity8

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
When selling framed prints, I like the line "Do you have that in a smaller size?"
Usually code for do you have that cheaper.
Wish customers would say what they mean.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
You never know with a customer. I've converted many a $200 frame into a $400 job by saying, just for the heck of it, look at this frame, often from my favorite Munn Frameworks. Some have even been a lot more with gold finished corner "econo" line frames from Munn. Once they're sold on gold you'll appreciate at the value of "getting one's nose under the tent".
 

artfolio

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ansell Adams has a lot to answer for. I have seen a few of his black and white photos framed in the "professional" black frame white matt combination and, on those very high-key black and white pictures it looks good but it is far too harsh a contrast for anything softer like a portrait.

I usually used the "do you have anything in mind for this?" opening and start out in that direction just to avoid up-front conflict then move onto suggestions that maybe this (Crescent Silver) grey is softer than the white with, maybe, this (Crescent Dark) grey under it?? Once a couple of suggestions have been accepted it is then easier to pry them away from the flat, black Ikea frame.

I think a lot of this stems from the fact that many customers have had little exposure to professional framing and have a limited idea of what picture frames look like. It is a bit like walking into a 5 star restaurant headed up by a world-famous chef and asking for a Big Mac with fries.
 

i-FRAMER

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
When they say "I'm not looking to spend a lot" I show them our least expensive plain black Studio moulding with and without a mat..
I don't think you should ever do this. If they say i am not looking to spend a lot, then the next question should be "Sure, what's your budget then?" As what may be a lot for some may be nothing to others.

I have had people same the same thing, but quote out the job into $500 and they are like great. Let's do it.
We have 1 frame shop here that starts at twice the price of all other frame shops. So if they had just come from there, then it's going to look like a bargain regardless.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
Maybe I was misunderstood.
I've only been doing this for 49 years now (going on 50..:eek:)
I was out on a mirror installation last week with one of the other guys in the shop.
As I walked up to the second floor of the building, I take the stairs two at a time, the guy with me told me to "slow down"..
He is half my age .....:rolleyes:
Sorry, I'm not a texting zombie who walks like the living dead.:cool:

I just bought a bicycle to ride to work now that it's finally cooled off in Phoenix.
I'm training my dog to run alongside me on a leash.:p

I work full time for a very successful shop in the 6th largest city in the US.
We have over 30 5-star reviews on Yelp, all 5 star reviews on Google and Facebook.
We have been in business since 1974.
We do huge amounts of retail, commercial and government framing as well as installations in Arizona and Nevada.
We have expanded our shop to take over the building behind us to do plexi laminating and mounting and laser cutting.
We have also absorbed another frame shop that closed because the owners retired.

I did mention this in my original post...
"That's not to say that we can't or don't move a customer up to spending more, but you get a sense of where they might go."

What do I know?o_O
We must be doing something right.....;)
End of Rant...:D
 
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tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Neil has my sympathy. Anyone owning an Australian Shepherd needs sympathy.

Had I only known......

Back to the thread: Larson has two Tribecas that are available in box quantities at terrific prices. I just keep on selling these, as customers really like them. Trouble is, I'm trying to get rid of my current inventory, as retirement calls. Those Tribecas just get in the way of Plan A.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
Neil has my sympathy. Anyone owning an Australian Shepherd needs sympathy.

Had I only known......

Back to the thread: Larson has two Tribecas that are available in box quantities at terrific prices. I just keep on selling these, as customers really like them. Trouble is, I'm trying to get rid of my current inventory, as retirement calls. Those Tribecas just get in the way of Plan A.
Retirement?
What is this thing you call Retirement.....?
I have said that they might have to pry my cold, dead, fingers off of the saw or the Wizard..:D
Hey, we just got a brand new gigantic vacuum for the CTD saw and the sander.

Hey, Ted, took my Aussie, Maya, out on a leash down the block with the bicycle for the first time today.
She was pretty good except when the handle of the leash ripped off....:oops:
I think she likes it.:p

She's really a good dog.
She's not an Alpha, she just loves everybody and all the neighbor dogs.
 
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cjmst3k

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
I do exactly the same thing, but if the customer says "I'm not looking to spend a lot" when I ask them if they have an idea in mind, then they are helping me to not waste a lot of time designing a $300 framing job when they are thinking $75 (or even $50..:eek:)
I don't like for our other sales people, who are also framers, to spend 30 minutes designing a job that looks great only to find out that the customer would never even spend half of what the design would cost no matter how great it would look.
I have a different approach which has worked well, and is worth considering.

When I hear "I'm not looking to spend a lot", the key thing missing is "what is a lot?". For some people saying that, $100 is a lot. For other people, $500 is a lot. And that difference, compounded over numerous customers, is a gigantic difference on your income.

My interactions go something like this:

-------------------------------------------------------------
"I'd like to get this framed, and I'm not looking to spend a lot"

"Great - can do. You mentioned you're not looking at spending a lot. Would you like me to show you the least expensive option, or would you like me to show you reasonably priced options that might have some nuance which works well with your piece?"
-------------------------------------------------------------

Half the time I hear "Yeah, the least expensive option" and the other half of the time I hear "Oh, I didn't mean the cheapest, I just didn't want one of your really expensive frames". When I am told that second sentence, I say "No worries, I'll keep you away from the hand-carved, real gold frames". I'll also work my way up, and as I show them $350 frames, I'll pull one off the wall and say "This one is a bit more, but its worth considering because the patina has a really subtle muted pewter mixed in the design". If they like it, and it prices out very high, it makes the rest sound even more reasonable.


I have one customer that often brings in watercolors he buys at auction, and he says "Hey, I need this framed and I don't want to spend too much". He's been very happy to spend $650 per piece. So when you're told "I'm not looking to spend a lot", every time, follow up that with the right questions so you best help the customer, and the art. That question will save your staff that "30 minutes" every time.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
i'veused the example a million times but worth repeating

For most framers one of their most 'expensive' possessions is their car. And when they take that 'valuable' item to get an oil change, they choose a place that is convenient, quick, cheap and probably has a coupon. They tell the person 'just the basic' oil change for advertised $19.95. But, the attendant doing his job tells you about this great product, synthetic oil, for only $79.95 that is so far superior in protecting your 'investment'. And, he's right, of course

But, how many will say 'no, thanks, i'll stick with basic/inexpensive/cheap option'

point is consumers generally are pretty similar

the next step by the Jiffy Lube guy can easily affect your shopping experience and if he thinks the driver is 'crazy' he might need a few lessons on selling

Sell the benefits, show examples, offer friendly 'advice' and honor the customers wishes

just like when you say 'no, thanks' to synthetic oil

BTW I use synthetic oil
 

i-FRAMER

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I have another example from an artist this time. Yes an artist who did not want to spend much, can you believe it?
Anyway, i asked what she wanted to spend she said around $100. I said ok, but for that i am not doing a consult, you will have to trust me, i will frame up it with something i have in stock, it may be discontinued etc, but will do it justice. She agreed.
Long story short, i got rid of old stock, she entered her artwork in local art show, and won first place.
Next time she came, she dropped off 2 pieces of artwork and asked for the 'no consult' option.
I charged her $150 each for the next 2 pieces. She was over moon, as these now had double mats.
10 years later, she is now in her 90's and just couriers her artwork to us.
And pays around $200-$250 a piece. Still rather inexpensive for what she gets, but i continue to move old stock.
It is probably around 70% of what i might have charged if doing a consult to the same design. But i have saved time on the front the counter as well as not having to order materials.
So one of my cheap options is 'no consult', or you can buy a cheap frame from Target and i can cut a mat from $20 to suit.
No framing comes in under a $100 in our shop, so i am not going to waste my time for less.
I would rather customers walk then waste my time.
I work on Jared's 80/20 rule, if 20% of customers are not leaving artwork then you are to cheap. But probably more around 10-15% for us though.
 

tedh

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I recently tripped over a new selling method: when a couple comes in, we get going on design options, then I take a hike, using some flimsy excuse. I come back five minutes later, and they've sold themselves on something both unexpected and somewhat higher priced.

Hasn't failed yet, but it only works with couples. Seems they want time to themselves.
 

neilframer

PFG, Picture Framing God
I recently tripped over a new selling method: when a couple comes in, we get going on design options, then I take a hike, using some flimsy excuse. I come back five minutes later, and they've sold themselves on something both unexpected and somewhat higher priced.

Hasn't failed yet, but it only works with couples. Seems they want time to themselves.
I worked at a gallery in Scottsdale in the late 80's and early 90's that had a similar technique.
The gallery only sold original and limited edition artwork already framed by us.
The salespeople were not framers and they only knew how to sell.

The salespeople would excuse themselves and go in the back to have a cup of coffee or answer "an important call" and then they would come back and close the deal.;)
 

echavez123

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
As soon as they balk at the price, I just direct them to the nearest Walmart - end of discussion.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I just direct them to the nearest Walmart
i'm actually stunned someone would say that.

i'd be really, really stunned if that actually happens

framers work so hard to get folks in the door; to so rudely dismiss them is baffling. The client with the inexpensive project today often has other items 'more worthy' later. If treated better, they probably will come back

As a consumer don't we often do biz where we are treated well? Can't satisfy everyone, but i'llbust my tail to try

the long term value of a satisfied client is huge. Just ask the framer that captured that client

just my opinion
 

i-FRAMER

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I will do this sometimes but in a helpful way.

We have one customer who buys those nice little $20 ornate shiny frames from Myers 4x6 and 5x7 photo, then comes to us to get a small 10mm mat inserted to keep the glass off the photo. Probably done about 50 of these for her over the years. But then once a year she willl bring in expensive art, and spend $1000 framing it.

When they say they don't want to spend a $100, i suggest that they look at somewhere like target and could pick up a frame for $20. And come back we can cut a new mat to fit. However, we only have 5 standard colours for DYI's.
30% probably come back for a mat. 50% probably come back because they couldn't find a frame or size they liked. And the other 20% didn't care what they threw their artwork into as long as it fit.

So as long as its a courteous and helpful suggestion they will still come back for the important stuff.
 

MitchelC

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
It's NOT that they want a "cheap" frame. They want a black frame & mat(s) so their photo would look "professionally framed". They chose a 3" wide BLACK wood moulding for their 16x20" wedding photo with a black bottom mat and a white linen top mat. ☺
 

David Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
When I hear "I'm not looking to spend a lot", the key thing missing is "what is a lot?". For some people saying that, $100 is a lot. For other people, $500 is a lot.
Hey, grasshopper, to some, $500K is not a lot. It's all a matter of "What am I paying compared to what I've got available". Don't limit yourself.

Seriously - to some, $50 would require breaking the bank, to others, $500K is petty cash.
 

DVieau2

PFG, Picture Framing God
I believe the biggest mistake is for frame shops to make a judgement about any customer based on the car they drive, the cloths they wear, the way they smell (the horsey crown) or the words "I don't want to spend a lot".

My years in business gave me way too many stories to tell about millionaires who act like bargain and coupon shoppers.

Point here is the same customer who is cheap one day may go first class the next day. Take care of them.
 

i-FRAMER

MGF, Master Grumble Framer
I believe the biggest mistake is for frame shops to make a judgement about any customer based on the car they drive, the cloths they wear, the way they smell (the horsey crown) or the words "I don't want to spend a lot".

My years in business gave me way too many stories to tell about millionaires who act like bargain and coupon shoppers.

Point here is the same customer who is cheap one day may go first class the next day. Take care of them.
So true, usually the rich ones are the frugal ones.
And you shouldn't judge anyone. I have a couple of mates of grew up with both millionaires, yet you would not pick them out of a crowd, even a small crowd. And if you ever went to their homes you would think they did not belong there.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I can only recall one instance where the customer flatly refused my recommendation and insisted on what I
would describe as a 'yukky' mat colour. Sort of *mid-brown. With a brown frame. OK, everyone has their own
taste, but this looked absolutely horrible to be to me. :confused: But I did it. :)





* maybe 'mid' was not the best description. :p
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
Rule #1. The customer is always right (in the end)
Rule #2. The customer is always right.
Rule #3. When in doubt, refer to rule #1

I have ended up framing some carp that ended up look like carp. But at least there was the satisfying ca-ching of the cash register (or its virtual equivalent).
 

Rick Granick

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Right. Ultimately, they are the ones who will be seeing it every day. So I will use what they desire. However, that doesn't mean I won't first show them my ideas of what would work well. Sometimes I'll use the expression "there's no law that..." to justify a design choice that is out of the realm of what we usually do. "There's no law that says the green mat has to be on the bottom," for example. Bringing a little humor into the process helps put people at ease about their choices.
:cool: Rick
 

sandlot

Grumbler
"....For most framers...... when they take that 'valuable' item to get an oil change...."

I would guess that most picture framers change the oil themselves.
 

Bob Carter

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
I would guess that most picture framers change the oil themselves.
what do you think about mechanics that do their own framing:D

never changed my own oil ever:) your (and most framers) car is probably much,much more expensive than 99% of the art brought in. Many framers openly decry 'cheap' customers that balk at spending what will protect their investment

wonder how many mechanics feel same about people that change their own oil (and don't lube):p
 

Grey Owl

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
What you personally 'feel' towards price tends to come out in the way you present your design and price.

I used to think museum glass was expensive, and my customers seemed to pick up on that. Once I realized what a great value Museum glass was, I started to sell a lot more.

So if they say a design is too expensive, my first offer is to go with regular CC glass instead of museum, and say something to the effect, 'I understand you are concerned about the price; I priced this with Museum, which is only $80 more [or whatever], but I would be glad to go with the Conservation Clear, which has the same exact design, but the price would be $80 less and only $ xxx. Then I hold the two demo sheets of CC and Museum near the art.

Occasionally, for those that say 'Wow, that particular frame is really expensive" I explain,''no not for what goes into it, but just for fun, let me show you a really expensive frame I carry" and then show some of the original reproductions by Rhonda that I have in a 'special' place that run around $120 per foot, minimum quantity of 6 feet.

That sometimes is all it takes. they can tell their spouse - No I didn't get the most expensive ....
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Going slightly sideways..... A lady once came in and enquired about a painting I had hanging. It wasn't mine, it was one I had just framed for
an artist. I just hung it on the wall to see how it looked. I told her it would be for sale, but I would have to contact the artist for a price, but knowing
the artist I said I would put it around £8-10000. She looked aghast, and asked why it was that price when one hanging alongside (which was bigger)
was £300. I asked her why she had gone straight to the expensive one and not the cheap(er) one. :rolleyes::D

Had a poster in the other day. About 30x36. The guy wanted 'Just a thin black frame'. I had to explain that he could have that, but the complications
in beefing it up invisibly to take weight of the glass would make it quite pricey. Better to use a heavier moulding (showed him 1.5" oak) which would
work out about 50% cheaper. Very often it's not the cost of the materials that is the main factor, it's the labor involved.
 

Pat Murphey

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Frankenthread alert!

...wonder how many mechanics feel same about people that change their own oil (and don't lube):p
There are cars that still need a lube job? :p
(My car doesn't even have a dipstick, oil check on screen or phone.)
 

Philliam Phulgor

CGF II, Certified Grumble Framer Level 2
Rule #1. The customer is always right (in the end)
Rule #2. The customer is always right.
Rule #3. When in doubt, refer to rule #1

I have ended up framing some carp that ended up look like carp. But at least there was the satisfying ca-ching of the cash register (or its virtual equivalent).
I have gotten a lot of mileage NOT following your rules, Larry.

My revision is:

#1: The customer is always KING! (or QUEEN!)
#2: The customer is Not always right.
#3: Never tell them they are not right, show them what is Kingly and/or Queenly so they can choose and be right.

Done properly, with aplomb, customers have always respected forthrightness.
That does not mean we can't be humble and say, "Yes Mam (or Sir), you are right."

Just my take on showing and selling magical and stunning designs.
 

Larry Peterson

PFG, Picture Framing God
I have gotten a lot of mileage NOT following your rules, Larry.

My revision is:

#1: The customer is always KING! (or QUEEN!)
#2: The customer is Not always right.
#3: Never tell them they are not right, show them what is Kingly and/or Queenly so they can choose and be right.

Done properly, with aplomb, customers have always respected forthrightness.
That does not mean we can't be humble and say, "Yes Mam (or Sir), you are right."

Just my take on showing and selling magical and stunning designs.
That's why I added "in the end" to Rule #1. :)
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Man goes for a haircut.

"I want a Tony Curtis cut" :D

"Certainly Sir" :)

Barber snips away.......

"That's not right! Tony Curtis doesn't have his hair like that!" :confused:

"He does if he comes in here". :p

(Old Joke o_O)


 

David Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Frankenthread alert!

There are cars that still need a lube job? :p
(My car doesn't even have a dipstick, oil check on screen or phone.)
My 13 year old car can't have the oil checked by phone, but it doesn't have a dipstick and is checked via the dash. It automatically checks it for you every time you fuel up.
 

David Waldmann

SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer
Ah... combined with the most important safety feature of any vehicle - the nut that holds that steering wheel.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
Most young drivers would have no idea what a Grease Gun was. Or Tony Curtis either. o_O:D
 

shayla

WOW Framer
Great chat about designing. When someone asks for any kind of design, unless they're adamant, I just include that in whatever I bring over. They get to see it, along with a few other ideas. I tell folks that I'll give lots of input, but they should choose whatever they want to look at, even if I'd just said it's not good. That puts them at ease, so they're more relaxed about exploring. That said, although we mostly do other designs, I'm fine with white mats and a black frame.

Agreed about the 'price perception' thing. Whatever someone says they want, I try to honor that, while also showing the range of possibilities.
 

prospero

SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God
White mat. Ah, but which white? Could could think of quite a few off the top of my head. :D

I can't ever remember seeing a matboard color just called White.
 
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