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1- A dealer is expected to meet certain quarterly sales objectives by the manufacturer. If he doesn't, the company may drop the dealer and give the line to another dealer in the same sales area. I was a customer of one N. California dealer who lost ARC for this exact reason.
2- Sometimes, try as he might, a dealer is simply unable to interest enough customers in a given companys products to justify keeping the brand in the store. I was a customer of one S. California dealer who dropped Rowland for this reason.
3- Many manufacturers have an extensive product line, ranging in price and performance from entry-level to State-of-the-Art. Some expect or even require its dealers to carry the entire line, others don't. I was a customer of a dealer who wanted to sell the older, economy-model Vandersteens, but at the price point of the upper level models preferred to recommend and sell the Wilson Audio speakers. Understandably, this was not acceptable to Richard, and the two parted ways after having had an excellent working relationship for many years. I thought the dealer had completely blown it, but he was a stubborn guy. RIP, old friend.
Some dealers are their own worst enemy. If you asked most of them what business they are in, they would reply: "The audio business." The successful ones realize that they are in The People Business.
Here's a good example. I have recently bought three SR RED fuses, one at a time, over the past month from High End Electronics (found here on Audiogon). All three arrived the very next day from ordering. All were well packed, tracking numbers provided, included lots of company literature about the fuses and other equipment and accessory offerings. The last fuse contained a candy cane and another piece of hard candy packed inside, just to say thanks and happy holidays. Now THAT'S a dealer who realizes that he/she/they are in the people business and not the audio business.
After over a half century making a living in 100% commissioned sales, I can say that the wise salesman knows that no matter what the product he/she sells, you cannot sell it without a person on the other end of the transaction. People first, dealers ... and the money will come.
Thank you tubegroover ...
Wisdom comes from experience ... and at my age, I've had LOT'S of experience. *lol*
Over the years, I've attended many sales and motivational seminars. One sales trainer said something at one of these sessions that I have never forgotten, and that was: "Money is nothing more than a scoreboard reflection of your service." In other words, do the right thing; put the customer first ... and the money will come.
For a time, I worked part time at an ultra-high end audio dealership who will go unnamed here. I swear, over time I saw the owner, who obviously thought he was in the audio business, and had no clue that he was in the people business, turn off so many potential customers, it was sickening.
This is a guy who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars setting up what I consider to be the most technically advanced audio store ever.
I kept telling him that people didn't come into the store to buy audio equipment ... they came in to better their enjoyment of music in their homes, and it was our job to help them get it. He thought it best to dazzle them with his engineering prowess and talk about slew rates, distortion levels, etc. until their eyes glazed over. At that point, they would just walk out the door.
He loved to make a point of talking down to the customer, and in general, just had a crappy attitude toward the customer. He referred to dedicated audiophiles like those of us who post here at Audiogon as "propeller heads."
Over time, he masterminded his way out of business. To this day, I don't think he has a clue what happened. In fact, I'll bet my bottom dollar that he blames the customers for putting him out of business. Go figure.
it seems like when you ask interesting questions on a audio website you are always going to get smart ass remarks. I have come to the conclusion that is the nature of the beasts. I will say one thing for Audiogon. You will get less abuse here than you will get on some other audio websites. I won't mention any names but if you have been around this hobby for awhile you will know who I am talking about.
^^^ Taters ...
I think the Internet blogs bring out the worst in some people. In addition to audio, I love books on libertarian politics and free market economics. As a result, I go onto a few political blogs. You want to talk about abuse? Holy crappola! I don't get into politics here at all because that's not what the site is all about. But, being to the right of Darth Vader from a fiscal standpoint, can you imagine some of the viterol I have slung my way from those who think that charity and compassion can be morally legitimate when extracted under the threat of violence??
Anyway, as far as this site is concerned ... I really enjoy it. Yep, there's a few "Negative Nancys" lurking about ... especially the guys who always have something negative to say about ARC.
Take care ...
Yep taters, Brooks was the dealer in numbers 2 and 3 in my posting above. He was a very opinionated, self-assured guy, but idealistic to a fault. If he sold, say, two speaker lines that both included a $10,000 model, and found one of the speakers to be distinctly superior overall to the other, he didn't feel he could in good conscience recommend both to his customers. Were I a dealer, I would have no problem demoing both, and letting the customer choose between two excellent speakers. But hey, Brooks was the very successful dealer, not me!
Here's something else to keep in mind about the above scenario. The more of a given company's product a retailer sells, the more of a valued account is he considered to be. If this hypothetical dealer sells $500,000 a year of each company's $10,000 model (approximately a pair of each per week---very doable), he may be considered by each company to be a mid-level account. If he instead sells $1,000,000 a year of just one of those speakers, he may be considered a high-level account by that speaker's company. $1,000,000 in sales a year may entitle the dealer to purchase product from that company at a lower wholesale price, and to be eligible for co-op advertising (the dealer and the company splitting the cost of a full page ad in Stereophile, in which the speaker is advertised).
Then there is the matter of "New! Hot!". A dealer can take either a short-term view of his product lines and clientele, or a long-term one. Randy Cooley at Optimal Enchantment in Santa Monica, California chose long-term, and has been an ARC/Vandersteen/Audioquest dealer for a long time. He has a very happy, loyal clientele as a result. The short-term retailer grabs every new hot component, sells as much of it as he can, and then moves on to the next one that comes down the pike (pike? God I sound old). If I bought a pair of $10,000 speakers, and six months later the dealer had dropped the line and was now selling and raving about his new $10,000 offering (bad-mouthing the old speaker, if only implicitly), I would not be happy. Not that a dealer can't add to his product line, or drop lines that are no longer competitive, but not in a constantly changing fashion.
Just as a footnote: The dealer in my example number 1 was an excellent dealer, he just couldn't meet ARC's sales requirement of their accounts. But to show you what kind of guy Bill Johnson was, he allowed the dealer to keep his ARC customers, to sell them any and all future ARC products they wanted to buy from that dealer. That's class.