Bill Scharbrough R.P.T.
Stephen Scharbrough
Marlene Scharbrough

Home Marketing Ploys
Marketing Ploys by Unethical Salesmen

Salespeople sell pianos by selling a story.  Customers love stories because they can then brag about their new piano and tell the story to their neighbors.  Stories are so exciting! The only problem with stories is that too often they are just stories and have little relation to truth.
Piano technicians hate the stories. Technicians know that the many of the stories are gross exaggerations and greatly distorted facts that were used to impress and manipulate the buyer. Often they are faced with the dilemma of whether to tell the customer or to keep silent. It has been my experience that human nature is such that customers would much rather believe these stories than accept truth.  The salesman has “sold” the “story” so well that the customer, upon hearing the actual facts, thinks that the technician doesn’t know what he’s talking about.  The irony is, after having this happen a few times the typical piano tuner who works full-time for a store, being shell-shocked by the customer’s inability to see the truth, and tired of being perceived by the customer as an idiot, no longer tries to set the record straight. The tuner, somewhat beholden to the dealer for referrals, becomes a puppet and no longer attempts enlightenment about his or his competitor’s products. The salesman, seeing that his ploys have worked so well, continues to do the same thing over and over as well as escalating his claims in order to get away with as much as he can, thereby padding his wallet.
Some of the more popular stories involve who has played, owned, or signed a particular piano. Many times a piano will be signed by some famous person presumed to be an “expert.” A very common ploy is finding a particular piano that can be sold for less because of some unique circumstance.  This ploy is typically used when the salesman sees that the customer is ready to leave without buying. He just then happens to “remember” the same model piano of piano but with some special reason to drop price.  This piano almost certainly cost the dealer the same as the first piano, but it gives the salesperson another opportunity to sell the customer a piano.  The truth of the matter is either piano could have been sold for the lower price.
The question one might ask oneself is where the ethical line is drawn in regards to honesty and integrity in dealing with customers.  Where does truth end and manipulation begin?  My feeling is that anything less than truth is manipulative selling and has no place in the market.  Others disagree strongly and operate their businesses accordingly. Take your chances!