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The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
#2482566 11/19/15 09:53 PM
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Seriously, in this age of information and pricing awareness, the only thing I've found worse than buying a car might be shopping for a "premium" digital piano!

I really can't stand these types of "boutique shops" that treat you like a 2nd class citizen the minute they figure out you're a knowledgeable and price conscious customer. I don't need or even want someone to 'sell' me the instrument. I do all my research online. I've read the specs and breezed the manuals, so I know the models very well before going in. Yes I'd like to test out a few of my top choices, but I don't want to have to make an appointment, and be the only one in the shop while the salesguy hovers around me, extolling the virtues of the higher end pianos. Then the bonus is when he tries to impress me with a 'demo' by turning the volume up to head-splitting levels while they try and show off their own playing.

Just like with car buying, there is something very off-putting about the whole process. But at least now the car industry is catching up. I can do most of my car shopping online without visiting 5 dealerships and having them waste so much of my time. As far as digital pianos are concerned, I can hardly get a price quote without going down to the shop (45 minute drive each way) and go through the whole song and dance with them.

I've been buying digital instruments all my life, and I really have little need for dealerships unless I get a lemon and need to return it. Can you just give me the price quote by email or over the phone please? I guess an informed customer is like kryptonite to these people. /end rant

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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482586 11/20/15 12:01 AM
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Car dealers are much better than piano dealers (especially acoustic piano dealers) these days. The competition between multiple car dealers selling the same brand makes it an easy experience and buyers have all the leverage. There's very little competition between piano dealers, especially if you want one particular brand, and their selling tactics make used car dealers look like honest men. I was appalled at the crap they tried to pull a year ago when I went shopping for a new acoustic piano.



Macy

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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482616 11/20/15 03:49 AM
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Take care not to generalize. One bad experience might not be representative of others. My experiences were quite different.

I had an easy time buying a piano in 2008. I visited the shop, was shown the section of the store (warehouse) where the the digital pianos were kept (off to the side of the cavernous array of acoustic grands), and was left try out all the stock without being harried by a salesman. Benches were available and could spend as much time as I needed.

I had a worse time at Guitar Center. Keyboards hanging from the wall three-high, impossible to play. And a console piano stuffed beneath each keyboard 3-stack. No way to play any of them (unless you're a stand-up pianist). Floor staff were in the shop, but none were available to offer assistance. How about a chair or bench, please? Nope.

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482629 11/20/15 04:39 AM
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Last week I've had the chance to go to a piano store in Paris. It was great !... Nearly 20 DPs (sadly not the CA-97 and LX-17), and I was alone !... The dealer was really friendly and we discussed a lot. It turns out that he was also a Beatles fan... It helps... grin
He let me try all the pianos in this magical room...
(it is the penultimate picture)

http://www.euroconcert.fr/content/72-galerie-paris-17

it's like cars, you must try before you buy...

Careful with what you see online... Nothing compares to sit and play. You can read that "this" piano is the best, and when you're in front of it and play, it's a huge disappointment. Every one is different.
It's like a guitar, you can't buy one without trying it.

For sellers, it's like all stuff. There are goods and bad.

But it's clear that it has changed... When I was younger, I used to go to Paris in the "musician district" (where there is a lot of music shops) a district called Pigalle (well known for others things too... grin).
30 years ago, all the dealers were enthusiasts musicians, and we used to play, speak together. But today, in most of all the stores (those who survived, thanks to Thomann...) dealers are dealers, and the goal is to sell, sell, sell... True face of capitalism...
But, happily, there are still some good places to go.

Last edited by emmaco; 11/20/15 04:40 AM.

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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482658 11/20/15 07:09 AM
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Originally Posted by TonyBanks
Seriously, in this age of information and pricing awareness, the only thing I've found worse than buying a car might be shopping for a "premium" digital piano!

I really can't stand these types of "boutique shops" that treat you like a 2nd class citizen the minute they figure out you're a knowledgeable and price conscious customer. I don't need or even want someone to 'sell' me the instrument. I do all my research online. I've read the specs and breezed the manuals, so I know the models very well before going in. Yes I'd like to test out a few of my top choices, but I don't want to have to make an appointment, and be the only one in the shop while the salesguy hovers around me, extolling the virtues of the higher end pianos. Then the bonus is when he tries to impress me with a 'demo' by turning the volume up to head-splitting levels while they try and show off their own playing.

Just like with car buying, there is something very off-putting about the whole process. But at least now the car industry is catching up. I can do most of my car shopping online without visiting 5 dealerships and having them waste so much of my time. As far as digital pianos are concerned, I can hardly get a price quote without going down to the shop (45 minute drive each way) and go through the whole song and dance with them.

I've been buying digital instruments all my life, and I really have little need for dealerships unless I get a lemon and need to return it. Can you just give me the price quote by email or over the phone please? I guess an informed customer is like kryptonite to these people. /end rant


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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482668 11/20/15 08:01 AM
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Toni,

Be aware that there are manufacturers of high-end digital pianos and keyboards that make their retailers sign contracts that prevent them from offering discounts by advertising, over the phone or online.

Ian


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2016 Blüthner Model A
Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482681 11/20/15 08:57 AM
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It's top down negligence. Owners/Managers either want a body, smart enough to dial 911 if the place catches fire, or the hyper-ambitious type. The right candidate and an hour or two of sales training, you'd have been posting here about your spanking new piano. Sales needs to learn to adapt to the customer. Some want more attentions than others. How hard is that? But owners and staffers one level up are the same. Some are just waiting for the bank to shut them down any day. Some are so blindly ambitious they're frightening. How wonderful it would be to shop somewhere comprehensive? Plus, a considerate retail plan should make more money for the owners. Maybe it shows there's too much money out there to be had. Anytime you can sell somebody cold fries, and a cold burger, it's a slippery slope.


God Bless Leon Russell
Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482705 11/20/15 10:41 AM
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Cars or pianos, you dont know what you buy until the novelty wears off or a few months have passed.

Its like a family member you can sell off if you dont get on. . . :)v


"I am not a man. I am a free number"

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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482706 11/20/15 10:43 AM
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Tonybanks I agree with u 100%

What these muppets in piano shops or car shops or estate agents don't seem to realise is

IF IT WAS BLOODY MONKEYS SELLING THE THING I WOULD STILL BLOODY WELL BUY IT

So in future u will treat me the customer with some damn respect or u will soon b out of a job got it

I can always buy it online and if I don't like it I can return it with a full money back guarantee so u snobby posh gits in your shops better drop your air of arrogance and superiority

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482716 11/20/15 11:16 AM
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When I got The Itch to complete my Piano experience of 60 years ago, I started by going online. Narrowed it down to Kawai and Yamaha. Then, I went to the Dealers in my area. Their Marketing and Sales Model reflected the 50's. Very outdated. I came with a Spreadsheet with all the features and such laid out neatly. My sales guy, who knew very little of digitals called 2-3 others over as none had seen a prospect do what I did before. I felt like a fool instead of someone who did alot of work. Btw, it was really handy. Well, how in h*ll is one supposed to keep track of all the details of the models I was interested in? I knew nothing of alot of that stuff, but was learning fast.

My sister tried the four models I was interested in. Two from Yamaha and two from Kawai. She chose the CA63/93 at that time. I asked for the price. WOW. But they had a monopoly in my town and ... Their Sales Model was of highest markups possible on all their products. Selling digitals mostly to churches/schools and not to individuals.

I called two out of state dealers. They would not release prices due to Kawai' Agreements.

So, I went back to the locals and just kinda hung. There was one fellow that was picking his up. And I overheard some chatter. When he walked to his car, I explained my situation and asked what he paid. He bargained the Sales Guy down $6-700 from what I was quoted as a "Firm Price". Plus $200 in extras. How was I to know you could haggle with these folks. None, really understood anything to speak of in a digital product and now they wanted to fleece me?

I spotted a used CA63 250 miles away in one of the outstate dealers. I struck a deal with the person and off I went. Got it. Then, stopped by at that Dealer, I was treated with utmost courtesy and respect. Rolls, coffee, even a soda. Amanda was assigned to me and what a massive difference. She actually knew digitals and listened to me. Now, in person, I asked the price and was quoted almost $1700 below the Locals. Their approach was to sell affordable digitals all day long knowing, alot of folks will come back for an acoustic. And did.

Later I sold the CA63, drove 250 miles again and got a new CA93. And sold that when the CA95's came out for more money and went back for the CA95. Which they gave me at $100 lower than the previous one. Prices locally? $5150. Theirs? $3100. Hmmmm ...

They really went to bat for me as well, on a Warranty issue with Kawai and after 8 months of arguing with Kawai, Kawai finally exchanged my piano for a brand new one. Same model, but a better one.

Were I to go Acoustic? I would fetch one from them if distance was not an issue. Would I buy from the local folks? Never.

Kindness, respect, go so far when working with a customer.



Last edited by McBuster; 11/20/15 11:17 AM.

Jon ...

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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482721 11/20/15 11:39 AM
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Macy - I can only imagine. Acoustic pianos with all their intricacies would be much harder to judge value, hence much easier for the dealer to take advantage of the customer.

MacMacMac - It was not just one experience, and Guitar Center doesn't sell the kind of pianos I'm talking about.

Emmaco - It sounds like you had a very nice experience! Unfortunately it seems like every dealer focuses on 1 major brand, which makes comparison difficult. Even more so because they are hour drive distance from each other.

Beemer - It would be helpful if they told me about the email policy. I sent emails to six shops of various distance. All are at least 45 minutes each way by car. Half ignored me and half told me to make an appointment. Follow up emails about specific models and pricing were ignored. Internet communication is so important these days. You would think they would follow up every lead if they wanted the business.

Farmerjones - I'm at a loss for how these places stay in business myself. I guess they thrive off uninformed customers that fall for silly sales tactics and pay full price plus upcharges?

Peterws - lol smile

Edb123 - You are completely right. If I was treated with respect, and the dealer had half a brain to make a deal, I probably would have purchased the piano!

Last edited by TonyBanks; 11/20/15 11:41 AM.
Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
McBuster #2482734 11/20/15 12:03 PM
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McBuster, what an excellent and informative post! Thank you for your story it's given me some hope.

Are you telling me you paid only $3100 for a new CA95? That's amazing if I read that correctly. I've got to learn how to deal with sales people like you.

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
Edb123 #2482770 11/20/15 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Edb123


IF IT WAS BLOODY MONKEYS SELLING THE THING I WOULD STILL BLOODY WELL BUY IT


Quote of the year, right there.

I don't shop high-end digital/acoustics much so I can't speak to those salemen, but as far as car salesmen: Monkeys may be preferable. laugh

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
Edb123 #2482771 11/20/15 02:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Edb123
Tonybanks I agree with u 100%

What these muppets in piano shops or car shops or estate agents don't seem to realise is

IF IT WAS BLOODY MONKEYS SELLING THE THING I WOULD STILL BLOODY WELL BUY IT

So in future u will treat me the customer with some damn respect or u will soon b out of a job got it

I can always buy it online and if I don't like it I can return it with a full money back guarantee so u snobby posh gits in your shops better drop your air of arrogance and superiority


Lovely rant! Note, the same snobby posh gits you refer to will in all probability, be selling online too! And cheaper. . .

So buy online. From you local dealer. Job done. . . grin And send it back if you dont like it!!


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Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482774 11/20/15 02:53 PM
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When I go to a piano store I want to try pianos out and I don't want to get taken advantage of price wise. I don't want to be forced to walk around with a sales guy, and I don't want to deal with a salesman who's been incentivized to push certain brands.

Now I don't mind paying a small premium. Unfortunately local taxes can put a pretty big hurt on the price.

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482779 11/20/15 03:30 PM
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One major aspect of why many prime musicstores either having a hard time or had to close their doors is that everyone wants everything for the cheapest available internet prices. The amount of money an avarage music store can make when selling a digital piano is embarrassing. They have to sell in numbers, otherwise it is not possible to gain enough profits.
Big internet stores in Holland/Western Europe like Thomann Germany and Bax shop have such advantages compared to real physicall stores wich are located in our city centers where the rent is huge. Many stores have relocated their shops in lesser regions of the city, with fewer instant passers-by as a result.

I personally want to pay more for good advice, product knowledge/ know-how and most important customer service that actually means something.
I know the average personal doesn't know a thing compared to a real interrested musician who knows far more product details because many participate on music forums and read about the latest and the greatest stuff hitting the market.

I am still willing to buy in an actual shop, pay more than i should pay, but i defenitely want something in return.........now that has indeed become more and more problematic over the last decade !

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
pianistje #2482787 11/20/15 03:39 PM
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The problem is that in the USA these types of pianos cannot be sold on the internet. This forces you to shop at botiques and "play the game". The lack of public pricing information, and limited competition leaves the buyer at a major disadvantage, allowing for the price gouging and sales tactics previously mentioned.

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482828 11/20/15 05:45 PM
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Originally Posted by TonyBanks
Then the bonus is when he tries to impress me with a 'demo' by turning the volume up to head-splitting levels while they try and show off their own playing.

True, and they always have their foot jambed down on the sustain pedal too. smile

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482835 11/20/15 05:52 PM
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The second I walked into a Steinway gallery, I asked them If I could play, and the sales person said, and I quote, "Yes, just don't bang on the keys please", like I was an idiot or something. I walked out with a new piano and made the sales person feel like and a-hole, but man, I wanted to kick that sales guy in the shin or something. So pretentious

Re: The only thing worse than car dealers... Piano dealers?!
TonyBanks #2482843 11/20/15 06:19 PM
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Originally Posted by TonyBanks
The problem is that in the USA these types of pianos cannot be sold on the internet. This forces you to shop at botiques and "play the game". The lack of public pricing information, and limited competition leaves the buyer at a major disadvantage, allowing for the price gouging and sales tactics previously mentioned.

I agree with you, when a person is looking for a premium acoustic grand the pricing is shimery the least....
However when I started my profession as a pianotuner 25 years ago I worked for a shop that distributed Bosendorfer. To gain such a brand in your shop was not without selling enough by the standards that Bosendorfer could set. A fine line between selling enough and making enough profits so that the other competition would remain at a distance. the same applied for those brands specifically carried by other shops.
My boss back then always went to Vienna to select the available grands, because it made a whole lot of difference between even two similar Grands of the same length and year.
He also went to Vienna with clients who were on the brink of actually buying, knowing that three Bosendorfer 213/214's can sound quite different and sometimes clearly better than the other
.

What I learned back than is that when paying up to 75.000-100.000 dollars 5000 dollars overpay surely makes up for having a better grand.It also was quite obvious to me that specific and uncommon wooden cabinets ALWAYS sounded less to my ears when tuning those.....I was puzzled about this observations as a tuner. My reasoning was that the lesser sounding Bosendorfer Grands were finalised/decorated by the factory (specific wooden / colour finish) to target that small group that prefers a certain look to complement their expensive interiour.
To make sure that the lesser sounding examples would still attract certain potential buyers.
People should always concentrate on what they think sounds best....price is in such cases of a top acoustic grand secondairy in my opinion, because there are parameters involved that most people forget to take into consideration when focussing on price to much !

The best example is the Yamaha C3. I have lost count how many I tuned of those over the years. they vary from pretty avarage to really good.
From harsh and thin to pronounced and full......and they were all built in a 20 years timespan the most...

Last edited by pianistje; 11/20/15 06:34 PM.
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