TS-Aligner Fall 2007 Promotional Offer!

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Well really the big picture is to make money while pleasing the customer. I have been successful with that most of my career. Long term Successful Marketing is always about gaining customer trust, repeat business, and providing an easy buying experience. Nothing worth doing is always easy. We are just telling you that the approach of offering a rebate is one that is generally despised by your target audience. It's your business, what you make of it is up to you. You want valuable information, process what we have been telling you. Your customers are telling what they don't like, don't argue with them.
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Thanks Leon, your comments are always very entertaining. So, what exactly did you do in your career (given all the time you spend on the wreck, I just assume you are retired)? It would seem like you want us to believe that you were the owner of a business that invented new products and introduced them with very successful marketing campaigns. Please do tell us all about your experience. In addition, I wouldn't mind your answers on a few questions. These are topics that you raised in your reply. Perhaps you could reach down into the depths of your knowledge and expertise to elaborate on each one with a bit more detail.
Do you think that my customers are happy or unhappy with my products and service?
Do you think that I have a high or low level of customer trust and loyalty?
You know my product line, how much repeat business do you think I should expect?
Based on what you know of my business and products, do you believe that I'm always looking for easy solutions?
Does it seem to you like I'm disinterested, inattentive, or argumentative to what people are saying in this thread?

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Top posting repaired. Comments below.

I certainly did not reach that conclusion from what Leon wrote.
Note that you specified that a rebate (from the factory, i.e. yourself) could be obtained if one purchases your product via a new dealer. Here, you are asking potential customers to line up new dealers for you (yes, I know it costs lots of dinero to hire a sales organization and visit each of those dealers independently), but face it, you're asking potential customers to do _you_ a favor.
Many folks, as Leon and other have pointed out, don't find rebate offers compelling, and some even avoid such product.
So, after stating so, you attack him. That's not a good route towards building a customer base, is it?

I would certainly call your reply to Leon argumentative.
scott
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On Sep 4, 4:55 pm, snipped-for-privacy@slp53.sl.home (Scott Lurndal) wrote:

Well, I suppose it's possible for two people to interpret the same words in two different ways. With Leon reflecting on the success of his "career", suggesting various courses of action for me to take, and waxing eloquent on various paltitudes, it's the conclusion I came to. Perhaps I'm wrong. In any case, it's not out of line to ask him to elaborate on a topic that he raised (his "career"). I'd like to know what qualifies him to be advising me in how to conduct my business.

New dealer, existing dealer - it doesn't matter. Buy from a dealer, get a rebate.

Yep. No doubt about it. A favor in exchange for a 10% cash rebate. Something wrong with that? I'm not asking them to go toe to toe with the purchasing manager and negotiate terms for a contract. Geez, I'm just offering a cash rebate for those who choose to buy their Aligner at a dealer.

Indeed they did. I have acknowledged their dislike of rebates. I've also listened to all their suggestions. I even listened to Leon's suggestions. When I pointed out the problems with Leon's suggestions, he started talking about his career, offering a number of platitudes about what is most important and what I should do, etc. So, I decided to ask him to qualify his statements. That's all. Let's just find out what qualifies Leon to be giving me advise in how to run my business. Wouldn't you like to know more about Leon?

Where did I attack Leon? Please explain how it is an attack to ask Leon to qualify his statements. What is wrong with asking him to elaborate on topics that he raised in his message? If the questions embarrass him or make him feel uncomfortable, or if he finds them difficult to answer, then perhaps he shouldn't have raised those particular issues. Perhaps he would be better off raising issues that he finds easier to discuss.

Well, once again we have two people interpreting the same words in two different ways. Perhaps you think I'm now being argumentative with you. I would say that two people can disagree on something without arguing. Wouldn't you agree? The only way that two people can come to a complete understanding is to discuss the issues: asking and answering questions.
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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(Scott Lurndal) wrote:

In any case, it's not out of line to ask him to

I am not sure that I claimed to be qualified although my experience is credible.
That said, you stated, "You say that there are better ways, please share them!"
If you are not genuinely interested in others opinions, you should not have asked.
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I don't think you claimed to be qualified either. But, your message alluded to qualifications so I asked you to elaborate.

Yes, I did.

I am genuinely interested. I have read all of them. Some have led me to make changes. I've explained why some aren't practical or even possible. But, you'll have to admit, there was a point where the ideas stopped flowing and the platitudes started.
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wrote:

Sorry Ed, I never set out to be condescending or too pushy with my ideas.
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wrote:

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"Leon" shared this gem with us

There ya go Leon, you are just overqualified for that part time sales position.
Maybe you can get swingman (or another creative type wrecker) to write you a song.
You can call it The Overqualifiation Blues.
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"Lee Michaels" wrote in message

Too late, SWMBO already wrote it, for me ... it's has as the hook: "Where Did You Sleep Last Night??".
(not what you think ... she was referring to the doghouse).
:)
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I thought so! The line that says something about a Handsome man from Louisiana brought you to mine, although I have never really felt compelled to evaluated your handsomeness. ;~)

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Well actually, their follow up e-mail indicated that the PT job is not going to be a problem. ;~)

I am not so sure Swingman writes the songs, I could be wrong, but all day long I have had this catchy tune going through my head and the voice is sounds exactly like his wife.

;~)
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Yep, I did. And, it is always interesting for me to learn about another persons life experiences. I hope you don't mind me snipping it for brevity sake.

Thanks for sharing. It sounds a lot like my brother. He's managed several retail tire stores. Now he's managing a tire distribution center for a large national chain.
I do have a bit of experience when it comes to customer service and support. That's what I did for 17 years at HP. I developed and implemented the service, support, and warranty programs for new products. I've dealt with all sorts of customers from individual's with a printer at home to Fortune 500 companies with hundreds of thousands of pieces of equipment. I understand customer service - I really do - on every continent and in every culture of the world.
The last product I worked on was responsible for more than $4 Billion in revenue (yes, Billion with a "B", one single product!). My planning (service parts stocking and distribution, call center organization and training, repair depot training and organization, warranty terms & conditions, etc.) saved the company more in warranty costs on this one product than your company's entire annual sales. Much of this experience has absolutely nothing to do with running a small business.

So admonitions about "pleasing the customer" would, by your own estimation, be completely unnecessary, right?

So admonitions about "gaining their trust" would, by your own estimation, be completely unnecessary, right?

Well, the answer is pretty darn close to ZERO. Once a person buys a TS-Aligner there just isn't much need to buy another. It doesn't have any consumables. It doesn't wear out. So, "repeat business" just isn't a very good measure of the success of my marketing programs. I live on referal business, google, and the occasional magazine article.

So, I guess nothing in your knowledge of me, my company, or my products could possibly justify an admonition like "Nothing worth doing is always easy".

Ya, I suppose you would probably consider this to be one of those times. Sorry. It's meant to clear the air, promote understanding - not be argumentative.

If there was a point here, I missed it. Most of the time I spend on the wreck is in the fall. There just happens to be a lull between building up inventory during the summer and the holiday sales. I announce the annual promotion and hang around until I get too busy. So, you probably associate most of what I say with the annual promotion. And, I tend to spend most of my time helping people with machinery adjustment/alignment issues.

You do realize that I have been selling the TS-Aligner products since 1991, right? I'm not all that new to the whole customer satisfaction, sales and profits thing. I don't pay people to rave about my products newsgroups. They do it because they really are extremely satisfied.
Let's just touch on the "increased sales" thing. That's what the dealer channel is all about. It's large scale exposure and distribution like I could never do on my own. That's "the big picture". I'm not going to drop customer satisfaction. I'm still going to do everything I can to to promote positive interaction with prospective customers. But, I just can't continue to sit on a facility that can produce 100 times more product than I currently sell. I have to do something. And the dealers just don't understand the products or comprehend the sales potential. If it were made from plastic in China and had a 10,000x markup they would understand. But since it isn't, they need to see some demand before they will commit to buy.

Just think about what you are saying. How is a rebate going to adversely affect *MY* long term customer loyalty? Maybe if they get pissed off at a poorly administered program, right? Well that's just not going to happen in this case. And remember, there really isn't much in it for me when it comes to repeat business.

Rebates are also used to gather demographic info. And, sometimes they are used to generate mailing lists for junk mail or sales leads for telemarketing. None of these conditions apply to my situation.

Again, this just doesn't apply.

I appreciate the compliment. But, you have to admit that it makes your previous admonitions completely unnecessary. If you really believe this then why all the fuss with the platitudes? I understand and acknowledge the potential for problems. OK? Yes, these would be valid concerns if I were thinking of hiring some scum bag company to administer a program for one of the reasons you state above. But, you know that this just isn't the case.

Hmmmm..... OK. Sorry about that. Which "r" word are we talking about? "Ret___" or "Reb___"?
Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner
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wrote:

Very fond memories come flooding back when I step into a tire store and smell the rubber. ;~)

When I was promoted to service sales manager my immediate task was to get control of the volume of customer dissatisfied customers. Typically on a Monday morning, our service advisors would receive 100 cars before seeing the end of the line. A good 50% of those customers were back for the same reason that they were in the previous week for. I will admit that there were changes implemented to help the customer more but the product was the biggest problem along with large corporation arrogance to not build a better product.

I think that you cannot remind yourself enough as to who is the #1 priority. I did not intend to insinuate that you did not have your customers best interests in mind.

Same as above.

Well then my gut feeling was correct. I was not sure if you had other products to offer or not. I naturally knew that you TS aligner would probably be a one time purchase from a customer unless you were supplying to a large shop.

No, it was just a statement.

Yeah, but then again I was only meaning to reinforce the sentiment of others about the general feeling about rebates. I did not mean to infer that you would fall in with the group of companies that do not fulfill the obligation. I just wanted to say that even by association of the "rebate" term you may draw a negative view by a potential customer. I think you would have to agree that a few including myself believe that a rebate sends up a warning flag.

No, I was not aware of that, nor would I have been surprised had you been selling your product 10 years before that. Nor was I meaning to "whip you" with the importance of pleasing the customer. I believe that pleasing the customer cannot be stressed enough. Where I am coming from on this is from the time I started to work, customer satisfaction was drilled. Drilled but not proven. I was always fortunate to have worked in a store that had a high volume of sales. Customer screw ups really did not ever factor in, our store could have been twice as big and we still would have almost been too busy with sales. Anyway when I worked for the last company, the AC/Delco wholesaler, the father and son owned company, I saw first hand how screwing up with the customer affected the business. Our wholesale operation did not deal with the public at all. Our business customers provided a list of part numbers that they wanted to buy and we filled the order. Our inventory counts were 99.999 % accurate. 5 or 6 times a year we would find a single deviation in quantity of what the computer said we had and what we actually had. Our computer reflected the state of our inventory with remarkable accuracy. Our customers appreciated it when they called for a part and we said that we had it that we in fact did have the part even if the computer showed a quantity of 1 on hand. Our customer basically never had to learn of a back order from the packing slip. He knew when he placed the order if he was going to receive the part or not. Having said all that, the owners knew all of the customers personally and when competition stepped in and started cutting in to the pie we naturally lost some sales. The owners had become complacent about the #1 priority and would not change to get some customers back. They would actually "punish" a customer that used another wholesale provider when they would come back to us to order a part or parts and would often triple their regular price. I still to this day shake my head in disbelief. 6 years after I left the company the owners closed the doors because sales had dropped to the point that having the money in the bank earned more money than the net profit. The company was not sold, it was simply closed down and the inventory was returned to GM for a discounted credit. I believe to this day that the owners never saw the results of their actions coming. These millionaires lost sight of the #1 priority.
Just think about what you are saying. How is a rebate going to

To restate, I was not certain whether or not you had repeat customers.

Agreed, but the word rebate can portray a negative image regardless of whether yours is or is not a well oiled machine that fulfills the rebate obligations.

If you have not guessed by now. ;~) I take customer satisfaction and service very seriousely. I am a walking talking proponent of this way of thinking regardless of who I am speaking with. Many people and I am not saying that you are one of them, simply don't realize or have never realized the reason for a down turn in business. Every thing can effect your relationship with a customer, even things that may not be true about your business relationship with him.

rebate ;~) I consider it a bad word to use around a customer.
Thanks once again for the lively discussion. Good luck with your "customer appreciation rewards program".
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Yes. There are many "rebates" that (1) I never received, (2) has some very small detail that if you messed up meant you would never get the rebate, (3) you have to wait 4-5 weeks to even know if the rebate worked and (4) If it goes wrong, there is nothing you can do to fix it, and (5) they want an e-mail address so they can spam you.
For example, I had a rebate that said I must circle the item I wanted the rebate for. I send in a sales slip which listed ONE item. I didn't circle it.
I didn't get the rebate.
I will take an "instant rebate" - available at the cash register. Anything related to a big box store I don't trust.
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You got it! My definition of a poorly administered rebate program is any program that doesn't give me my rebate as quickly and painlessly as they charge my credit card.
I have been burned so often that if given a choice I usually select the rebateless product.
-- Mark
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Ed -- Reading more of the thread it seems the word "rebate" bothers lots of us.
Why not call it a "Cash Thank-You for Buying from a Dealer"? ;-)
-- Mark
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I appreciate the feedback. Thanks. Can you elaborate a little? What exactly is the problem with a mail-in rebate?
So, the goal here is to provide some sort of benefit to dealers and customers at the same time. I want to reward existing dealers with more business. I want to attract new dealers by creating some direct demand. And, I want to reward customers with some savings on their purchase. A "sale" depends on participation of existing dealers. They aren't generally very motivated because the retail discount doesn't translate to much at their wholesale pricing. And, it does nothing to attract new dealers. Besides, it tends to devalue the product in the eyes of the customer. If you have an idea which is better than the rebate then by all means share!
Thanks, Ed Bennett snipped-for-privacy@ts-aligner.com
http://www.ts-aligner.com Home of the TS-Aligner

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"Ed Bennett" wrote in message

"Mail in rebates" are _specifically_ designed/used to sucker that part of the population who are indeed suckers.
I'm not a sucker, I want to know what the selling price is on the BIG tag up front, not in the fine print; and I want to pay that price and walk out the door, done deal, and to hell with a "mail in rebate".
In many retail establishments these days you have to read the fine print to find out that what you see on the big, easily readable price tag is ONLY the price should you choose to be a sucker and jump through hoops to go through the "mail in rebate" scam/promotion.
If you can sell if for $100 and make money, the only reason for the "$25 mail in rebate" scam at $125 is to play the odds and the sucker.
This is one of the most despicable practices in modern retailing and, if it can't be outlawed, it should be shunned by anyone with any sense until it becomes obvious to those who use the scam that it will no longer work.
Unfortunately, 50% of everyone who walks in the door is, by definition, below average IQ, and the "mail in rebate" scammers continue to get away with it.
Personally, I would not knowingly tar myself with that brush were I in the retail business, but that's just my opinion.
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The seller is also banking on a lot of customers buying the product because it is such a great deal with the rebate, but then they forget, lose the paperwork and no money is ever sent. Good deal for the manufacturer.
I've bought products with rebates, but not because of them. If it is only a buck or two, I don't bother with it. Staples has a good program where you can send the info on line. I've done that with success a couple of times.
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