July 26, 2010

There is No Such Thing as a ‘Free Phone’

By Paul Bieber

“Buy one, get the second one free.”

“Every two years, come back and get a free phone!”

You know, I believed the advertising. My wife and I have one of the major national carriers that actually has service on my mountain in New Hampshire. Our phones were a couple of years old, and I got an email saying we qualified for the free phones. Elaine and I discussed what kind of phones we wanted–Internet or not, touch screen, video or regular camera.

We both said, “keep it simple”.

So, I went to the store today to pick up my free phones. You know, I should have known better. In fact I knew better, but somehow got lulled into thinking it wouldn’t happen. I am not naive; I just should have known better.

Yes, my carrier had over thirty phones on display, and two of them would have been free. They had no features, transmitted weakly (according to Molly, the sales clerk), and had many reported instances of going in for warranty work.

For only $50.00 a phone, I could get two phones that would fit our needs.

And our current car chargers don’t fit. Two new chargers were $30.00 each. Of course you need a new case for $30.00. And since the phones have easy to use keyboards, and we will do more texting, only a $20.00 monthly increase to our service plan to have unlimited texting.

It’s a good thing there is no sales tax in New Hampshire.

I am sure that right now you are saying, this is common place, and that there is no way around it. You’re right.

Let’s think about this. Most of the people who read my blog are decision-makers in the glass industry. So, when you write an ad for the local paper or put up a sign in your window, and you offer a deal–Make It Real!

No asterisks and no small print. Treat your customers like real people, and give an offer that can stand up to inspection by fussy consumers. To me at least, I would rather see a 10% off sale that is a real 10% than a 15% off sale on just part of an order. I hate the ads that say “New Windows only $50.00.” No one will buy those today.

Haven’t you walked into a store to buy something on a really good sale, only to be disappointed when you find it is out of stock, or not at all like the description on line or in an ad? Do you want to shop there again?

Do you want your customers to feel the same way about your glass shop, or your business?