I’ve been having a fascinating discussion with a potential customer via email. To be honest, we somehow got on each other’s bad side, which frankly, was very enlightening. I wrote the following response to him, and I think it best explains how I do business at FretSpot, and that it might make interesting reading for current and future customers.
My business, FretSpot.com, is a hobby business. Granted, I’ve been blessed that it is a very successful hobby business, but hobby nevertheless. My day job, running a full line music store, is what feeds my family. So I do the FretSpot thing because I love great basses, and in general, bass players are some of the nicest, most generous people you will meet. MANY of my customers have gone on to become friends – I will bend over backwards to do things for them, and to my astonishment, they will do the same for me! Because of this, in general, I will not do business with people that I don’t like, or that don’t like me. Now, to my knowledge, this has only happened once or twice.
Now, you and I spent a few minutes on the phone, and yes, you did mention you are primarily interested in tone (I sell mainly $3,000+ basses, so MOST of my customers are very interested in tone, which is why I do the videos). However, if you don’t like the way a bass looks, most people won’t buy it. Why? Because there are LOTS of basses out there! You can have your cake and eat it too! Why settle for a great sounding, ugly bass when you can have a great sounding bass that you like the way it looks! :D
So, immediately after our phone conversation I immediately went to work on getting a bass that might suit your needs. I kept you informed on my progress every step of the way. I never heard a response from you. Now, on average, it takes a couple of hours to make a video. Shooting the video doesn’t take too long, but I’ve got to edit out the gaps and HORRIBLY wrong notes :) and then upload to youtube (which takes about an hour). Before I went to that trouble, I wanted to make sure that you were still in the market for a new bass. Because if you weren’t, I wasn’t going to rush to make a video as I’ve got other basses for which I need to make videos. If you would have replied and said “Donovan – that bass looks nice, but I really need to hear it. Could you make a video of it for me to hear it?”, I would have done it as quickly as I could and this whole back and forth conversation would have been eliminated. Instead, you got annoyed, and frankly, you were disrespectful. Now, I know that the punks at your average BigBox Music Center won’t complain about customers being disrespectful, but I want BOTH OF US to have fun with this process! That’s my business model – I know it doesn’t work for everyone, but seeing as how I’m the #1 FBass dealer in the world, and the MANY high quality relationships I’ve been BLESSED to make through this little business, I’d say it works for most! :D
Now, as to your question as to why salespeople think all basses sound the same and sell based on appearance – that’s easy. Most of these salespeople are uneducated and unexperienced, and don’t have the good ear that you and I have. Also, my experience running a successful, full line music store has taught me that most customers don’t have a discerning ear either. So, for most people, grabbing a quality Fender bass that you like the way it looks is an okay way to go. You & I on the other hand, as are most of my customers, are more discerning (some might say picky :).
Also, to get the experience that I have you have to play HUNDREDS of EXCELLENT basses, talk to MANY luthiers and deal with LOTS of the worlds best players. I’ve been extremely fortunate to get this experience! For a mediocre bassist in Springfield, MO this is a real treat! :D Your average music store sales person doesn’t get this kind of opportunity.
I hope that my explanation helps you to understand my good intentions, and that we can turn our relationship around and work together.