With our country coming out of the greatest recession since the Great Depression, people are concerned about prices. I believe that people who are misinformed about how business works believe that the cheapest price always wins. I personally believe that that is a serious misconception. As a consumer, I want the most for the least just like everyone else. But, there is a difference between price and value. What I want is the best value for my money.
A couple of days ago, I had "words" with a bagpipe maker who has a distributor force all over the world, but she was quoting prices directly to customers that her distributors couldn’t match. I’m personally thinking about dropping this line in spite of the fact that they make a good product. The problem is two-fold. On the other side was a customer from a foreign country who woke me up Friday morning to find out if I could beat this bagpipe maker’s price. I spent a hour on the phone with him and even gave him some free rhythm training. He told me that my few minutes of training was worth “thousands”. I told him that if he thought that then he should just spend a little more and buy those pipes from me. My price was obviously more because I am not the “house”. Between us: If you work for a company that undercuts you and tries to cut you out of the deal, you should find a new job. I called the bagpipe maker and asked “what’s up with that?” The bagpipe maker told me that they only quote local walk-in traffic. This guy was 10,000 miles away! I wouldn’t call him a local anything. The bagpipe maker then told me that the reason they quoted the price that they did was because another bagpipe maker had pipes that were cheaper. No kidding. Cheaper doesn’t always mean better. I was thinking about sending this person to the local Dale Carnegie Sales Course! It might mean the difference between this bagpipe maker being in business in the future and going under.
People buy benefits, not price. I sell a lot of bagpipes. The majority of what I sell to my direct customers is the Dunfion Bagpipe. Why? Because that’s what I own and play. I can look someone in the eye and tell them the truth. If you are in the bagpipe market and have a pipe major or teacher with whom you are working, then you should buy what they play and recommend. You should also buy the setup that they are playing as well. Today’s bagpipe showrooms are the practice halls of our pipe bands. You can go there and get a live demonstration of a handful of brands. The pipe major can walk you around and tell you about the different pipes. The big question is: What is he playing?
The other night I was at the Piobareachd/MSR competition for the professional/open players competing at the Fair Hill Competition inNewark,Delaware. I thought that it was a great competition. What would have made it even better would have been the players telling us what they were playing: make of pipes, bag, reeds, and moisture control. That would have been a home run. We all want to be great and sound good. Why not get it from the horse’s mouth?
To summarize these thoughts: I decided a long time ago that it was easier to explain the price once than apologize for lack of quality forever! This also applies to performers. People want the best value. It is up to you to get educated so that you know what that is.
Gary Guth is a professional bagpiper with over 45 years of playing experience and has been teaching bagpipes full time for the last 20 years. He has written "Bagpipes For Beginners", "the Bagpipe Hymnal", and " A Piper's Christmas".