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Old 01-22-2003, 06:37 PM
SVanderkolff's Avatar
SVanderkolff SVanderkolff is offline
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Location: Mildmay, Ontario, Canada
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Is this normal?

I am not sure if I am in the right forum, if not please move me.

Over the course of the last two months I have been contacted by four different gentlemen identifying themselves as collectors. They all asked a bunch of questions and requested more pictures of specific knives. Then I never heard from them again. Is this normal or should this be telling me something?

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Old 01-22-2003, 07:44 PM
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Jamey Saunders Jamey Saunders is offline
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If they are asking for pictures of your knives, I would guess that they are collectors trying to decide what knife to invest in. (Unfortunately, many people don't have the courtesy to call back and say they have decided to buy from someone else.) I would think that people who invest significant amounts of money in knives take their time deciding on purchases.

If they're asking for pictures of someone else's knives, they're using you for research.

Jamey Saunders -- Charter Member, GCKG
(Got a question? Have you tried to for the answer?)

"I won't be wronged, I won't be insulted, and I won't be laid a hand on. I don't do these things to other people, and I require the same of them." --John Wayne, in The Shootist
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Old 01-22-2003, 08:20 PM
Brett Bennett Brett Bennett is offline
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Location: Cheyenne, Wyoming
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I recently had a customer purchase a knife from me after our original communication over a year ago. The initial interests is there, otherwise they wouldn't have contacted you. Perhaps now just isn't the right time for them.

Bennett Knives

"Frank and explicit; that is the right line to take when you wish to conceal your own mind and to confuse the minds of others." (Benjamin Disraeli, Sybil)
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Old 01-22-2003, 09:22 PM
fisk fisk is offline
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If you do not mind me butting in. There could be several things that caused this. One they could have simply ran into other expenses. I would put this on bottom of the reasons simply because of percentages that it would happen to all 4 but always a possible. It could be your follow through on your pitch of your sale. Examine that real close.
Knives sold at a show can sometimes be an impulse purchase. Ordering through the mail as such they can evaluate it along with materials from other makers they are looking at during the same time. It would be my guess that you were probally overshot in favor of another maker. They probally chose another due to price or quality. This is where your sales experience comes in to play. I got where I do not even try to sell the knife. I simply try to educate them on what to look for then let them make up their own mind. In doing this I started selling more. The good thing about them having your pictures is that if they keep them they will look at them again, and that sale may come later. Follow up with a letter or note a month later. How did you like the pic's, I also offer this model in the following handle materials etc. Make it as easy on the buyer as you can. That will entail you do the follow up and the leg work. Keep their addresses and let them know they can recieve a newsletter from "Steve's Knives" for one year without purchase. Send the letter out quarterly. First off they are interested in your work or they would not have asked about pics to being with. The being added to the "newsletter list" gives them something else. If you send the newsletter out to them, you are in their household 4 times a year more. You just had your follow up. My bet would be that you would pick up at least one of these guys on a firm order as long as your quality is good and the price is fair.
my two cents anyway. sorry for the rambling.

Pointy end always goes away from you.
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Old 01-23-2003, 02:01 AM
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Tim Adlam Tim Adlam is offline
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Location: Oshkosh, WI USA
Posts: 1,486

My take on this is that your work has reached a new level and you're on a competitive footing with "other" collectable makers.

First off...Bravo!

Secondly...I agree with Jerrys observations. It's time to bring them into the to speak.

Look at it like this...Some people make friends easily...for others it takes a bit longer.

I view relationships with clients the same way. What I desire is to make the customer my friend. Not just for monetary gain
but because I find people from all walks of life very interesting and they teach me new perspectives. If they honor me by purchasing my work, I like to, I want to know them a little better. Most, I regard as "family".
Those new friends become your agents. They'll be promoting your work long after the job is done and the check is cashed.
You can't put a price on that kind of advertising.

Be patient with potential customers and try to make it easy for them to do business with you.


Last edited by Tim Adlam; 01-23-2003 at 02:07 AM.
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Old 01-24-2003, 10:31 AM
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Les Robertson Les Robertson is offline
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Location: Georgia
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Hi Steve,

The fact that customers are inquiring about your knives is always a good sign....whether they follow up or not.

When I first started collecting knives 19 years ago. All there was were catalogs, a few major shows, Knife annual and two knife magazines.

Having more time and less money then. I spent a lot of time sending away for catalogs, talking with makers on the phone and at shows. There were a lot of knives I was interested in, but could only afford a few.

Many of those collectors who don't return a phone call. Do so because they feel they are wasting your time by talking to you knowing full well they are not going to buy or order a knife from you.

Trust me, eventually you will get a collector who will order a knife. That will want to check on it's progress every few days. Then you will asking the question "He ordered the knife why does he keep calling me"

Many collectors enjoy going the slow, tideous and even painful at times, route of ordering directly from the maker. Instead of the quick and satisfying way of working with a custom knife dealer.

The reason most do this is because they want to enjoy the entire experience. From planning to delivery.

It's like watching someone eating a real good steak. To the point you see them gnawing on the bone.

From the custom knife dealer perspective. It is as Jerry and Tim point out. You have collectors doing comparison shopping. Unfortunately, you have no idea what it is they are comparing.

Price certainly comes to mind. However, that may not be the only comparison.

The best you can do is answer the questions to the best of your ability.

I agree with Jerry on the selling part. Point out the features and the advantages of using a particular material (s) for a paticular job.

Be polite and be friendly. Generally by satifying the collectors questions and being concerned that the knife will do what the collector intendends it to do. Will sell more knives than any "hard sell" approach.

It's like Zen Selling....The Art of Selling by Not Selling. (Copywrite pending).

Les Robertson
Custom Knife Entrepreneur
Field Editor for Blade Magazine
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Old 01-24-2003, 10:51 AM
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Bob Warner Bob Warner is offline
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You also need, if you can, to find out how much the person knows about knives. If the person is a collector, he probably knows about as much or even more about them than you do. He may also be someone that has have seen your web page and is curious but knows nothing.

You need to try to determine their knowledge level and talk to them on that level. You don't want to assume they know nothing and give them an answer that looks like you are talking down to them. You also don't want to be over technical to a novice or he may think he is out of his league and does not understand enough to talk [at your level] about what he wants.


Tumbling down the road at 35 MPH is no fun, TRUST ME!
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Old 01-24-2003, 11:04 AM
fisk fisk is offline
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You crack me up. I liked the knawing on the bone comparison. That was funny.
Your Zen thing was right on too. When I first started boy was I trying to sell my knives. Funny I quit trying to sell them and just talk about them to help people learn more about the hows and whys and as a result sell more. If they want mine they will buy it, if not I will be happy to send them on to someone else that I have been watching.

Pointy end always goes away from you.
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Old 11-07-2014, 08:07 AM
reaven5566 reaven5566 is offline
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Do any of you feel there is an advantage or disadvantage to marketing your product under your name vs. a created brand name?

I know this seems obscure, but I'm trying to plan as thoughtfully as I can.

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Old 11-08-2014, 09:32 PM
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TexasJack TexasJack is offline
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Location: Southeast Texas
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Let me be the one to toss in a potential issue: We've seen scams posted on here before where someone "admires" several knives and then comes back and wants to purchase several expensive knives. They send a check for more than the value, with instructions to just send them the amount left over after purchase and postage. Everything seems great for a week, then the bank calls and says the check was bogus.

They could be trolling for victims, and maybe your policies scared them off.

I'd like to think the best of people, then I look at who they elect to office year after year and I think maybe a LOT of caution is needed.

God bless Texas! Now let's secede!!
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Old 11-12-2014, 12:49 PM
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T.WOLFE T.WOLFE is offline
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uh, I can't contribute anything meaningful to this discussion, as nobody buys my knives anyway....been
thinking about making a cd called "the 100 most common mistakes in knifemaking" "em every day.
Just wanted to say"Amen" to TJ"S post....
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Old 11-16-2014, 08:18 AM
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ATalley ATalley is offline
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Location: Greenwood IN
Posts: 325
T, thanks for resurrecting this thread. I'd have never read it if you hadn't.

Hey, When's the CD come out?!!


"We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends." Shel Silverstein
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Old 01-17-2015, 04:38 PM
Vulpini Vulpini is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Location: Nor*Cal
Posts: 15
When I was younger I used to poke around and ask specific questions about knives, get close to ordering a knife and back out, etc.
This was because I was in high school and didn't have enough money to back up my requests. (Sort of selfish on my end). Looking at this now my behavior might seem shady but I would be happy, somebody thinks your product is something valuable. Then again, there are people with bad intentions out there and if you feel too much information is being given out, or will be given out I would throw up a red light and either ignore or let the person know that what they are asking is beyond their means without cash in hand.

Careful out there.

Vulpini Tactical
Find Me on KickStarter!
Twitter: Elliot Fox @ VulpiniKnives
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