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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346741 11/07/14 12:12 PM
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Ed...why are we talking about high frequency trading?

Good comments markarian totally agree.

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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346793 11/07/14 02:34 PM
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Should we "be prepared to negotiate", or "Give me the price over the phone or list it online."


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346808 11/07/14 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Should we "be prepared to negotiate", or "Give me the price over the phone or list it online."


Steve - very valid question - I do not think there is a correct answer for every consumer.

In the industry I am in (automotive) there is (and has to be) room for both.

If I understand the piano business (of which I am no expert) you do not have a choice of giving the price over the phone or listing it online. (At least not now.)

I think where most uninformed consumers (as I was before purchasing my last piano) get frustrated or even mad is seeing a piano priced at $25,000 then within 15 minutes of discussions it becomes $17,500 and then after another 5 minutes it is $15,000.

Maybe a more realistic MSRP by the manufacturers can reduce that pain.

Years ago, car dealers got a very bad rap (some deservedly so) until more strict pricing and disclosure guidelines were put in place by the manufacturers and gasp do I dare say it - the government.

We (piano shoppers) all want a fair price with the assurance that we are not being taken advantage of by the dealer.

In turn, we should also want our piano stores to stay in business by making a fair profit on each piano they sell. (This is the tough one as some shoppers in every industry just want to take advantage of every situation.)

Just my thoughts,

Jonathan

Last edited by Jonathan Alford; 11/07/14 03:22 PM. Reason: grammer
Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346819 11/07/14 03:55 PM
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Steve, transparency in price would be a big step in the right direction.

A few months ago, if you recall, a dealer posted in glowing terms about how some schmuck had walked into his store and paid full MSRP. It was a not well received by the non-dealers here. It gives the impression that the customer is only there to be fleeced to the highest degree possible.


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Plowboy #2346827 11/07/14 04:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Plowboy
Steve, transparency in price would be a big step in the right direction.

A few months ago, if you recall, a dealer posted in glowing terms about how some schmuck had walked into his store and paid full MSRP. It was a not well received by the non-dealers here. It gives the impression that the customer is only there to be fleeced to the highest degree possible.


Should we "be prepared to negotiate", or "Give me the price over the phone or list it online." Or, promote "transparency in price....."

What do we tell shoppers on the phone? We suggest they access Piano Buyer and tell them we adhere to their pricing guidelines.


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346877 11/07/14 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
Originally Posted by Plowboy
Steve, transparency in price would be a big step in the right direction.

A few months ago, if you recall, a dealer posted in glowing terms about how some schmuck had walked into his store and paid full MSRP. It was a not well received by the non-dealers here. It gives the impression that the customer is only there to be fleeced to the highest degree possible.


Should we "be prepared to negotiate", or "Give me the price over the phone or list it online." Or, promote "transparency in price....."

What do we tell shoppers on the phone? We suggest they access Piano Buyer and tell them we adhere to their pricing guidelines.


I think it's pretty clear what everyone's suggesting. Markarian's comment about being prepared to negotiate seems to be focused more on high-end piano shoppers, but I wouldn't use that inconsistency as an excuse to discredit his comments.

No disrespect to Larry Fine. Piano Buyer is a good resource but the section about pricing is pretty confusing. The SMP is better than nothing, but if you paid SMP you're still paying way more than everyone else who knows a tiny bit about haggling [for most pianos]. Then the 20-50% off SMP is not that helpful either. That's a pretty big range, and which regions are cheaper, which are higher? Buyers need direct information, not little clues that seem to be designed to both appear to inform consumers while not ticking off the manufacturers.

So tell them your actual selling price over the phone. A price that has very little room to negotiate, or none preferably, but I guess you probably won't decline an offer that's $1 less.

And the thing about manufacturer policies about not quoting over the phone. I guess I believe it, but I think most view it as another sales tactic. It's an old practice really designed to get you in the door to listen to the whole pitch and allow the salesman to apply pressure and Jedi mind tricks. If you call Target, Costco, a car dealership, Best Buy - they all give quotes over the phone, web, email, etc. The only reason I see why they don't want to do it is because they want to size you up and play games.

Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346879 11/07/14 06:10 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

What do we tell shoppers on the phone? We suggest they access Piano Buyer and tell them " we adhere to their pricing policies"


Well, seeing as how every new piano listing in your web site tells readers to call you for information, I'm glad you tell them something. thumb

Steve,

Thanks for visiting this thread. It brings back old times...you and Marty Flynn and Bear One carrying the industry banner into battle.

May I ask you the meaning of "we adhere to their pricing policiess"?

Does that mean your price is the SMP or that your price will in no case be higher than the SMP?

The caller is not going to know if that's all you tell him. If the caller is not familiar with Piano Buyer, it may take him a chunk of time to figure out what you might be referring to.


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
BornInTheUSA #2346897 11/07/14 07:02 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelha


No disrespect to Larry Fine. Piano Buyer is a good resource but the section about pricing is pretty confusing. The SMP is better than nothing, but if you paid SMP you're still paying way more than everyone else who knows a tiny bit about haggling [for most pianos]. Then the 20-50% off SMP is not that helpful either. That's a pretty big range, and which regions are cheaper, which are higher? Buyers need direct information, not little clues that seem to be designed to both appear to inform consumers while not ticking off the manufacturers.

So tell them your actual selling price over the phone. A price that has very little room to negotiate, or none preferably, but I guess you probably won't decline an offer that's $1 less.


Apparently you've either not read Piano Buyer or have misread it.


Larry suggests 10%-30% off SMP not 20%-50% off. Further he explains very clearly that their needs to be a range as different dealerships, and different markets have different costs of doing business. Further most people know the relative costs of living in their locale. Piano Shoppers in Manhattan don't expect the same prices found in Toledo.

Dealers are not focused on gross profit, but on net profit. AFTER Paying all our expenses we need to make significantly more than we could investing the net worth of our businesses in something that both pays better and is more secure. This usually is in the 4%-8% range.



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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346900 11/07/14 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by turandot
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

What do we tell shoppers on the phone? We suggest they access Piano Buyer and tell them " we adhere to their pricing policies"


Well, seeing as how every new piano listing in your web site tells readers to call you for information, I'm glad you tell them something. thumb

Steve,

Thanks for visiting this thread. It brings back old times...you and Marty Flynn and Bear One carrying the industry banner into battle.

May I ask you the meaning of "we adhere to their pricing policiess"?

Does that mean your price is the SMP or that your price will in no case be higher than the SMP?

The caller is not going to know if that's all you tell him. If the caller is not familiar with Piano Buyer, it may take him a chunk of time to figure out what you might be referring to.


Obviously we would rather have a customer call us as it allows us to more clearly explain why they should buy from us. Price is only one slice of the pie.

What we mean is that our prices are between 10% and 30% off SMP, never higher than SMP.


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Jasons Music
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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346919 11/07/14 07:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen


Apparently you've either not read Piano Buyer or have misread it.

Larry suggests 10%-30% off SMP not 20%-50% off. Further he explains very clearly that their needs to be a range as different dealerships, and different markets have different costs of doing business.


10-30%, 20-50%, what's the difference really? Even 10-30% is a pretty wide range and actually the discounts in the West Coast are closer to 40% or even beyond in some circumstances. Again, you're nit picking to try to discredit our comments instead of actually learning from it. And this is exactly what we're talking about. There's a complete disconnect between dealers and buyers, this sense that you dealers are superior beings and we're just all a bunch of illiterate bums. Some of you are focusing on where we're wrong instead of where you could improve.

And I have read PB and have definitely read the pricing part, excuse me for getting the ranges wrong.

Of course we completely understand that it cost more to live in Manhattan than Kansas or there's more volume in LA than Omaha, but that doesn't really help a customer figure out what % to take off of SMP. That's fine, figure out what your price is and put it on the sticker, quote it over the phone, put it on your website.

But here's what doesn't make sense either. In San Francisco, one of the most expensive places to live, pianos are cheap. There's probably more volume, but how does a customer figure that out? Maybe use the % of the population that's Asian?


Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346920 11/07/14 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

Obviously we would rather have a customer call us as it allows us to more clearly explain why they should buy from us. Price is only one slice of the pie.


But for many, it's the biggest slice. Why not have the best prices AND have the best service?

Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346925 11/07/14 08:13 PM
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As a borderline Gen-X/Millennial myself (early 30s as well), I have to agree wholeheartedly with what Markarian said, with one notable location-specific exception.

Two of the four dealers around here employ younger salespeople. In fact, I was the most turned off by the dealer that had pretty young salesgirls flirting with me (oh, how that energy was wasted!) and cute young salesmen trying to relate to me bro-to-bro (again, wasted energy). It felt like the cheesiest of cheesy slimy car dealerships, complete with the thing where they take a piece of paper and draw the four quadrants and try to get you to focus on the monthly payment. Fortunately for me I was not interested in any of the pianos they had to offer, or else it would have been a tremendously unpleasant experience (to the point where I would probably have done without).

Also, there is absolutely no contradiction in "list the price online/give the price over the phone" but "be prepared to negotiate". Many other markets do this -- real estate and vehicles, for example. Give a REASONABLE initial offer on your website/phone/price card on the piano, not some overinflated pie-in-the-sky number that will cause me to pass over the piano as out of my price range. This is especially true right now for used pianos where you do not have the wrong-headed manufacturer restrictions and stupidly inflated MSRPs, but of course dealers should work with manufacturers to have reasonable MSRPs and put Piano Buyer out of the business of making SMPs.

Steve, I am not sure why you think pianos are special in this regard. Just like cars, price is a MAJOR factor in a purchase decision, even if it is not the only one.

I ended up buying my piano at a dealer that seems to work like people of my generation would expect. He lists his used piano prices online so I had a good idea of which pianos I should try, and visiting the store was a pleasant, no-pressure experience where the salesman was interested in letting me try each piano in my size/price range to my satisfaction and not bashing (in fact, speaking highly of) other brands of pianos I mentioned having tried that day. In fact, after visiting his shop, even if he hadn't had any pianos I was interested in and could afford at the time, I would probably have waited until he had something I DID like so that I could buy from him!


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
BornInTheUSA #2346929 11/07/14 08:16 PM
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Originally Posted by michaelha
Originally Posted by Steve Cohen

Obviously we would rather have a customer call us as it allows us to more clearly explain why they should buy from us. Price is only one slice of the pie.


But for many, it's the biggest slice. Why not have the best prices AND have the best service?


Come on. You must know better! The best service isn't cost-free.

For example, a good tuner/tech can get an average of $125(or more) per tuning and can do 4-5 a day. That's $500/day income. On a decent grand a first tuning, often with a pitch raise, and a really good prep takes 4-8 hours. Do you seriously think that a dealer can spend say $300-$600 on prep and sell for a lower price than a competitor who doesn't perform the service....and still make a reasonable net profit?

Also, to those on this and other threads who tell us to publish prices on our website and/or quote prices over the phone, doing so is a violation of our Dealer Agreement, a binding contract.




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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346931 11/07/14 08:20 PM
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Steve, if I recall correctly, you clearly list the Piano Buyer SMP price and then have a "tag" price on every piano you sell in the store, right? I also remember copies of the Piano Buyer prominently displayed, and some opened up to the pricing section.

I remember Faust Harrison used to have a no-haggle pricing list they would gladly give anyone in the store, but I think that was discontinued because other dealers used that info against them.

I shopped for a gym membership the other day. I hate going to exercise at the university, as the hours are not optimal, I have to feed a parking meter, and I don't like running into people I know at the gym. Knowing the other gyms in town might be more expensive, I looked at their websites for pricing info, to see if a better experience was worth the additional expenditure. Not finding the info I needed to make a decision online, I called them. One gym refused to discuss pricing over the phone - end of transaction. The other gym answered all of my questions over the phone, offered a superior product, but was four times more expensive than a membership at the university. I don't value a premium exercise experience enough to warrant the additional cost, so I'm back at the university facility, begrudgingly.

I don't know if there's a relevant connection with the above story or not. It does show how we tend to shop for stuff in the current generation: research online first, use the phone if you have to, then go in-person when you've presumptively narrowed down your purchase options. If the online and phone experience are lousy, then you've lost the sale before you had the chance to even make the pitch.

Those who truly understand the multigenerational longevity of a piano, need it as a tool of their trade, or value what it can do as a vehicle for expression and beauty will take the time to search, and approach the purchase in the manner which the current industry is (mostly) equipped to handle.


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346946 11/07/14 09:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen


Come on. You must know better! The best service isn't cost-free.

For example, a good tuner/tech can get an average of $125(or more) per tuning and can do 4-5 a day. That's $500/day income. On a decent grand a first tuning, often with a pitch raise, and a really good prep takes 4-8 hours. Do you seriously think that a dealer can spend say $300-$600 on prep and sell for a lower price than a competitor who doesn't perform the service....and still make a reasonable net profit?

Also, to those on this and other threads who tell us to publish prices on our website and/or quote prices over the phone, doing so is a violation of our Dealer Agreement, a binding contract.


I think for the uprights the amount of work dealers put into it is probably pretty similar. A couple of tunings maybe a quick pass at the action. With grands, I understand - there's more variation.

There's a couple things you could do - some perhaps not very practical. You could still quote your price over the phone AND explain the prep you've done to it. Then tell the buyer to go play your competitors piano and compare it to yours - and hopefully they will be able to notice the extra prep you've done. Unless your competitors did it as well then your costs are about the same. If your competitors really don't prep their pianos as well then your customers should be able to tell and should select you. If they can't then maybe you shouldn't spend so much money prepping smile

This probably isn't practical, but you could somehow give customers a choice. A well prepped piano or one that just got a basic tuning and sell it for less. Maybe special order it, take a deposit first, etc.

Still, the phone thing sounds like a cop out. It just works too well in dealers' favor and if it was something you really didn't like I'm sure you could talk to someone at Yamaha.

Besides, how are they going to know? A Yamaha dealer here told me the same thing, but he did say "we've got a new C2's for under $20K." Turns out they were $19,999. There, he didn't quote me over the phone but gave me some "info."


Last edited by michaelha; 11/07/14 09:04 PM.
Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346951 11/07/14 09:13 PM
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The operant words are "This probably isn't practical" and "some perhaps not very practical".

The "practical" approach is, unfortunately, the status quo.


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Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346954 11/07/14 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Steve Cohen
The operant words are "This probably isn't practical" and "some perhaps not very practical".

The "practical" approach is, unfortunately, the status quo.


Sigh...

Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
Steve Cohen #2346957 11/07/14 09:40 PM
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If that is how this generation of people think, then most piano stores will have to close. I don't know how many pianos a piano dealer sells, but based on my friends, and many of them are fairly wealthy, none of them have grand pianos. All of them have 2 or more cars, and none of the cars are more than 5 years old. So comparing how cars are purchased to pianos is really not realistic.

I am in the process of building a house, and when I talk with people here in the bay area, they only ask about $/sq ft, and I keep saying that it is a stupid number, but they insist. I try the simple idea that using good carpet is <$4/sq ft installed, and using good hardwood floors can easily be close to $20/sq ft installed. So, just on one material, we are talking a huge range, but even after, they still ask, "so, what does it cost/sq ft to build a house." I then give the example of a stove, you could buy a $500 home depot special stove, or a wolf dual fuel stove for $13,000. so if you are building a 2000 sq ft house, that is either $0.25/sq ft or $6.5/sq ft, and again, they will ask the same annoying question.

I feel this thread is the same. One group of people can only see cost, and no matter what is said, their opinion won't change, so it is futile battle.

personally, if I was a piano dealer, I wouldn't want to sell them a piano anyway. For them to buy one, it would be a losing proposition, so why bother.

I have only purchased one piano in my life, so I don't have much experience. Just like another thread, people always compare against MSRP or SMP like it is some magical number. Is it even related to the cost of the piano?

If you think it is too expensive, or you don't like the process, don't buy the piano from that dealer. What is so hard about that? If you want the best price, buy used from an individual. Vote with your feet and your dollars.

Decide the value of the piano on your own. If you can buy it for that or less, then buy it. Who cares what other people paid?

Do you care if someone pays less for their LV bag then you? Do you even know what someone else pays?

If you want to pay the same as everyone else, then the best solution is to get a Steinway. They seem to budge the least, and so you know that everyone is getting the same "deal".


Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346964 11/07/14 09:55 PM
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I was/am in similar situation as the OP of the other thread. I doubt there is a paradigm shift in younger piano buyers. It really is just a subset of buyers.

The traditional buyer, like most of those on this forum, are piano players. As piano players, you want to play, listen, touch the piano to evaluate unit as individual musical instrument. I'm sure cost is important, but you chose the piano based on musical instrument assessment, rather than money alone.

On the other hand, OP from other post most likely never played piano; and he has no plans to play the piano; he is purchasing the piano for his child. Therefore, buying a piano is like buying a commodity; there is no difference between brand/models/units. Thru friends, piano teachers, and forums, they are recommended to buy Yamaha or Kawai uprights. Going to piano store is meaningless to them. In fact, they rather not go, because it is very stressful and puts them in an awkward position. So that leaves the price tag. Many that join group buys in SF Bay Area are in similar situation. They can join group buy and wait, because they have no urgent need for piano at home. Their kids are actively taking piano lessons weekly and using teachers' piano. The kids are at a stage where parents think they want to buy a piano at home for practice. They can buy in 1 month, in 2 months, or even 6 months. They can wait for a deal.

These buyers are a subset of piano buyers. In SF Bay Area, and probably SoCal too, there is large Chinese population that creates this type of market. I don't know what percentage of buyers (west coast or elsewhere) that fall into this category. I suspect this group is probably not significant in other parts of US to drive sales.

I was surprised to find out such a large percentage of Chinese Americans buying pianos for their kids. I have no contact with piano teachers or anything associated with piano. Since we are in the market for piano, I was reading Piano Buyer and other piano books during lunch at company cafeteria. When colleagues saw my book, we started to talk about piano shopping. Then I asked around. Out of maybe 30 Chinese coworkers that I spoke to, around 20 own pianos. All but 2 are in the same situation mentioned above, where they do not play pianos themselves; they bought pianos solely for their kids. Only 2 colleagues plays piano themselves.

Speaking to them, their experience are like OP of other thread. They know nothing about piano and they don't bother testing pianos out at store. They just follow recommendation from piano teacher, friends (who are also non-piano players), online info. Some did have their kids try pianos at store, but 6 to 10 years olds are in no position to make decision. And some took their kids' piano teachers to the store. They mainly bought Yamaha U1, with some U3; 2 bought Kawai upright; 1 bought Chinese brand upright. Around 2/3 are new purchases. Other 1/3 bought used Yamaha's rebuilt/refurbished from Japan. Note that most of them bought pianos more than 5 years ago. Obviously group buy website did not exists at the time. They formed groups thru their piano teachers, friends, bbs. Then they contact piano dealer or attend university sale and negotiate as a group.

As for the 2 piano players, one actually teaches piano in her spare time; she owns Steinway grand (bought used from dealer) and Kawai grand (bought new). The other player bought a grand piano thru craigslist; he told me the name and I forgot. I think these 2 are similar to traditional/typical piano buyers and like most forum members.

There was a comment about Asians preferring new items in box. I doubt that is true. Because these piano buyers do not know how to play the piano, it results in them buying a new unit straight out of the box. It is cheaper for the buyer and easier for the dealer.

Re: Cna piano retail deal with change?
turandot #2346975 11/07/14 10:37 PM
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I can recall group piano buys occurring with LDS members through the church. The members buy pianos for home and the church all at one time from one dealer. This was going on in the 1970's and I assume it was the practice well before then.


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