You will be pleased to know that we arrived home with my new cello safe and sound.
You will also, I'm sure, be relieved to know that in the cold light of day, back at home, I am still delighted with it. Yesterday I played to my brother and his wife, with whom I spent many hours discussing sound when searching for a violin for him. My sister-in-law expressed exactly what I was thinking: When I played the cello I have used for the last ten years she said, as others have done after performances in the last year, 'Why can you possibly want something that sounds better than this?' Then as soon as I began to play on my new instrument there were exclamations of approval: notably that the expressiveness of the sound is completely in another, superior, category than the other cello.
As regards the help you and your colleagues at Machold gave me, I couldn't be more pleased. Blake was extremely helpful on the phone before I came. Julie looked after us in a most friendly way. Ecevit not only worked overtime to make the cello ready but was helpful in lots of other ways. I found it very useful that you yourself were prepared to go to some trouble and expense to present the instrument in the best light. Changing the strings, arranging that the set-up was to my taste, giving us plenty of time (and coffee) with help where wanted and leaving us alone when preferred would all seem fairly obvious ways to sell cellos, but my experience elsewhere hasn't matched this.
All in all, then, a satisfied customer, and Jane and I felt we had also made new friends.
The point I’d like to make is that I was as happy and satisfied to serve this client as he was to be served by us. He was, in many respects, the perfect customer – he was informed, prepared, and knew exactly what he was looking for. He had several instruments waiting for him to try in several shops that he had whittled down through research on the phone and Internet. He had figured out what tonal qualities he was looking for, and knew how to express them. If every one of our clients could be as specific as he was, sales in general would go much more smoothly.
It’s not that I don’t want to help educate our customers who may not have had as much experience playing and trying instruments. In fact, I consider that to be one of my major responsibilities as a dealer. But it was just so gratifying to be able to look someone in the eye and know that they were comfortable with you, and you with them, and to know that they were going to be happy with an instrument that you helped them to find.
It’s one of the things that makes this occupation very fulfilling. When things get stressful in the months ahead (and they always do when the fall season starts), I’ll be looking back and remembering the perfect customer.
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