Hey, LeatherMinx here again, thanks for the comments on my first entry! This time, I've got a story from the other side of my professional life... Riding a desk, I do all the sales support and marketing for my company, which means I also field customer phone calls.
I could tell you about the guy who leaves a voicemail for everyone in the office because no one returned his original voicemail... Ten minutes previous. When we were all in a meeting. On the Friday before a long weekend. "Does anyone actually work there? Jesus, this is ridiculous!"
Or the guy who screamed at me for five minutes straight because the company he thought he was calling wasn't actually at our telephone number. Sorry, dude, not sure what you want me to do about that...
"Well, give me their new number!"
"Sir, this has been our number for at least ten years, so I wouldn't presume to know what to tell you."
"Just give it to me!"
Oh, we appear to be having an attack of poor VoIP, so... *call release button* Ooooooops.
Or the people who say "Oh, but W told me a few weeks ago this promo was still active!" ... W hasn't been with the company for two and a half years. Do your damn homework before you try to scam me.
But my absolute favourite are the people who feel they are entitled to a lower price because they are a "bonafide business owner. (BFBO)"
Now, we are the manufacturer, and we deal with distributors to get our products out
there. Distributors get a lower price, because they're buying at large volumes, so we actually wind up making more profit when we ship a few truckloads to one location at a lower price than if we ship a few loose cases to a variety of locations at a higher price. That's just the way it works.
On very rare occasions, we get leads on new potential distributors who we then work with to offer them a better-than-retail price. It is even rarer for these distributors to call us to initiate contact. Normally we bust our heinies in the wonderful world of P&Q (prospecting and qualifying) because we're a small company.
More often, I get to field the calls from people who don't want to deal with Distributor X or Y because they "charge way too damn much" and "I'm a bonafide business owner(sic)" and "rawrawrawr I am entitled to your lowest price because I wish it to be so."
This morning, I got to hear for a few minutes about how this guy doesn't want to deal with our main distributor in the US. (Note: Yes, I am this ridiculously obsequious on the phone. Makes it more believable that I'd never ever hang up on a customer - must have been a phone issue - and I'd never ever throw something sarcastic into the mix - must have been a bad connection/misunderstanding. With my regulars, I speak like a normal human being and we joke around.)
Me: "I'm sorry, sir, but they really will offer you the best price. You can order direct from their website if you don't want to deal with the sales people."
BFBO: "No, you don't understand. I don't want to deal with the company at all."
Me: "Unfortunately, we only have full coverage from this one dealer. We are working with this other company, but at the moment, the product isn't carried in your area with the other company."
BFBO: "I want to cut out the middle man."
Me: "I'm unable to do that for you, sir. And, honestly, you will get a better price from the first company."
BFBO: "But I don't want to deal with them."
Me: "I'm not really sure what I can tell you, then."
BFBO: "How do you guys stay in business if you only deal with one company?"
Me: "We only have the one nationwide in the US, sir, but we do have smaller, regional sub-distributors throughout the States. These are companies that have been working with us from the very beginning. Unfortunately, I just don't have any in your area. We also have several distributors in Canada and across Europe."
BFBO: "How old is the company?"
Me: "Just about 20 years old now."
BFBO: "I've been using this stuff for ten years. It's the best there is."
Me: "I'm delighted to hear that!"
BFBO: "So how can I sell it?"
Me: "Again, sir, I'm not authorized to do that, and in any case, you'll still get a better price from the first company."
Me: "Because they are a large company, their volumes are high enough to warrant a lower price."
BFBO: "But I'm a bonafide business owner."
Me: "And that's fantastic! But, again, pricing is based on volumes. Even if the person in charge of new distributors decided to work with you, and if your credit and reference checks went well, and if we were able to offer you a price, it would likely be roughly the same as you'd get from the first company. Plus you'd be paying shipping from Canada - the other company has warehouses throughout the US."
Me: "... Why, what?"
BFBO: "Why do I have to deal with those people? I hate them!"
Me: "I'm incredibly sorry, sir. At the moment, we just don't have any other options."
BFBO: "Whatever. I guess I'm screwed then. I just won't use this stuff anymore." *click*
If you are a bonafide business owner, you should understand the concepts of ROI and volume/price balancing. Hellmart offers things for a lower price because they are a massive conglomerate and get crazy discounts on products that they purchase in obscene quantities. A mom'n'pop store will likely not get the same price. This is just economics.
The whole thing started because he wanted to buy a dispenser. A $30 unit. Yeah. I'm going to undermine several hundred thousand dollars to sell you a $30 unit.
What's depressing is that before a few of us started at this company, they'd totally have set this guy up as a "distributor" and given him a ridiculously low price. Never turn away a sale, you know.
Just thought I'd share... In case you thought the "Fine! I'll just take my business elsewhere and not purchase this ridiculously discounted item because you won't give me a unicorn shitting rainbows as a bonus with purchase! You just lost a sale!" only ever happened in retail...