Auditioning Speakers at "The Speaker Shop" Buffalo Ny (and why i will never go there again) and my unexpected but great time at BestBuy Magnolia - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 11:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Plain and simple. I went to "The Speaker Shop" in Buffalo, NY. Nice shop but little. They offer mainly KEF, Bowers and Wilkins, Monitor Audio and Paradigm. I live roughly an hour and forty five minutes away so i stop when i get a chance. I visited three times and each time was roughly an hour and half. That's really not much time compared to the amount of time that i have spent on here reading about speakers and amps. Mind you these impression

First time

i went i heard the B&W CM9's and i really like them but i didn't like how thick, sweet and forward the mids were.I thought it made all music feel the same. The Sweetness and fullness was quite beautiful, especially with female vocals but it didn't seem to be a true representation of the music and they were a little lacking in the low end. They were ran by a marantz bluray player and receiver. That time i had actually only been there about 45 mins. This experience was all while being helped by an older bald guy that made me feel like i had to make a decision fast and that he didn't care what i liked because i wasn't there to spend $100,000.

The second time

started out not expecting to see the Golden Ear Triton 2 towers and was really quite impressed but unfortunately the way the store had them setup, i feel it wasn't ideal but it was a speaker i wanted to hear more of because the imaging was really neat on them. What i did get was that they seemed like a pretty flat speaker with highs that could image great and they had a lot presence to them and the mids pretty much the same. The mids also were very full and had a large presence to everything but didn't have any special characteristics to them like the CM9's. I think mids would be perfect for home theater application. The Bass was very punchy and able to probably make any basshead happy but what i didn't like about them was the radiators. It helped fill a lot of pressure in the room but it didn't seem to blend in with the rest of the speaker and actually seemed to be a nuisance. I also had heard the Kef Q900's but they were in a dark corner in the back and they were hooked up to rather ugly looking yamaha receiver and a crappy bluray player. I don't even want to comment on them because i don't feel it would be a fair review of them. I would like to hear them hooked up to better equipment and in a better listening environment. Then there were a pair of paradigms. I don't know what towers they were, nor do i care but i guess they were $1500 a piece. I do know that they were hooked up, once again like the Q900's and probably deserve something better than a crappy bluray player. Maybe not amp wise but def a better DAC. Anyways i didn't like them at all. The mids didn't have any body to them and they felt recessed and fragile and almost distorted. Nothing audiophile here for me to hear was my impression. This session was all while dealing with what seemed to be more of a car salesman who was only there to make a sale. Everything i said was just a fast yep.

The Third Time

They had Kef R900's hooked up to McIntosh gear. They fit the bill when it came to Mids campared to the other speakers i had heard. They had a little bit of body, super detailed, clean and a medium like presence to them. Good imaging too but i think it would be better if they had a better listening area. The Bass didn't seem to be as punchy laser gun like as the Triton 2's were but the presence seemed better suited musically than the Triton's bass. I was pretty sure that these where the speaker for me. I went back to the CM9's but they were in a little corner this time and i did not get the same feeling about them as the first time, quite worse actually but i knew it had to be because of the room placement. This time i had a taller gentleman helping me who really was an informative person and i was able to share with him what i heard. He gave me a lot of input on how tube amps and solid state amps work. He seemed like a true audio engineer. Thanks to you kind sir.

After i had pretty much made my mind up that i wanted the Kef R series i went home and thought more into it. I wanted to hear the R900 paired with same gear as the Triton 2's. I wanted that gear to be more something i could afford though. I thought it was reasonable not to compare the two to see what was the better speaker as i felt the R900's were clearly better but to see if i could settle with the Triton 2's as they are $2000 cheaper. I called up and the old guy that escorted me the first time answered the phone:

The Insult:

I asked the guy if he had any cheap class A/B integrated amps because i don't feel that cheap class D amplification does justice to the speakers i wanted to hear. He told me that he had a nice Anthem integrated for $1500 that was 225w at eight ohm per channel. Sweet that might be ideal i thought. Then i asked him if i could hear the Triton 2's hooked up to the same gear as the R900's and he got rude and said absolutely not. He said that he would bring the R900's over to where the Triton's were hooked up. He made it sound as if i was stupid for asking them to do that. Then he proceeded to tell me that he wasn't looking forward to seeing me again because he's not all warm and fuzzy about me like he was with our first encounter?! Well you haven't bought anything yet and you've been in here three times. I understood what he was saying but at the same time i wanted to buy what i wanted and nothing less. As a salesman i would imagine it's his job to keep a customer happy and not run them away. While i had not bought anything from there YET, i planned on it. I did however bring friends with me each time that did buy some of the stores merchandise. I brought them with ME and not the other way around. He then told me that he wasn't trying to be mean. He said that when i came in again, if the store wasn't busy then he would try to set the R series up for me but to not expect any special treatment after that!

Fourth Time:

As soon as i walked in i saw the old guy behind the desk and he turned and said something to somebody and shook his head and laughed. I knew it was directed towards me and it really made me quite mad. He was treating me as a nuisance. I said to him "What? do you not want me hear." He was suprised that i knew what he just done and just shrugged it off and said, "what do you want?" My friend was not impressed and turned around and was about to leave because he felt this guy was wrong and pretty angry. I on the other hand really wanted to hear the speakers with the gear i had planned on buying and decided to ask the the guy if i had done anything wrong. He said i had wasted 6 hours of their time all together and that i am pretty much an idiot because now i wanted to hear the speakers with different amplification. You're asking me to rearrange the whole store he said. WHAT! The way i look at is that i should have just said yes i am even though all he had to do was move two speakers. That's his job. I even offered to pay them twenty dollars for an hour of their time. I think he was just being lazy. Then he said that i was just thinking to far into everything and that i was an joke because i wanted to compare $5000 speakers to $3000 speakers. WOW. So i said in a calm manner i told him that i felt insulted and asked him if i did something wrong. He just laughed and couldn't answer. Then another worker at the store was listening to the conversation and nicely said "what do you want to hear?" I felt like he thought i was right and since i felt a little justified i told them that i wasn't going to bother them anymore and they weren't getting my business

Best Buy Magnolia:

Sweeeeet! Dedicated stereo listening rooms with acoustic paneling and everything. CM9's, Martin Logan Ethos, Definitive Tech Mythos STS and plenty of others. I found a couple of gentlemen that were more than happy to show me around and they even let me bring in my Peachtree audio DAC*IT to hook up to the speakers. First was the CM9's with my demo CD consisting of mainly HDtracks.com's 24 bit music in 96 and 192. Norah Jones Sunrise, hairs on my whole body standing up. Loved the presence of the mids but was lacking body in the lower regions. The Highs were nothing special. I did and do like them but i feel that they would only be good for me with jazz and female vocals. Still felt the same that they made most music sound pretty much the same. All the guys at the store were super impressed with my DAC as it took the music to a whole new level. Next where the Ethos. WHAT! WOW these things can image better than anything i have ever heard and the soundstage was CRAZY huge. There was center channel not being ran because we were in pure direct mode but vocals sounded like they were coming straight out of it. These speakers where playing tricks on me! I let everyone experience the sweet spot and they all ran up to the center channel to make sure it wasn't on. This was all after we hooked up my DACIT because they were being ran through a MAratnz Cd8004 and i didn't like it. at all. These speakers really showed the DACIT's capabilities. One worker even asked where i got it because he was going to go order one when he got home he was that impressed. Writing this now i remember that through my bluray player at home, you have to go into the settings and change digital output to 192HZ when playing the music of that quality other wise it is not automatic and usually the default is only 44. This should make it even better assuming it was only playing at 44. The highs of the ethos where amazing and i wasn't expecting the bass to be as good as it was. Bass hit like a laser and extended out all the way to you and super lower frequencies pressurized the room with authority. I was smiling ear to ear. These were the speakers for me with out a doubt except i felt the mids with female vocals were so detailed that it wasn't getting enough information to make it sound full. Large presence and super detailed but lacking a hair with female vocals ( I might go with a switchable tube pre-amp to help with this). Male vocals where fine though. Even high bitrate mp3's sounded great. 3 doors down sounded like they where right there playing with me. These speakers are so accurate that i had never heard a speaker that actually made instruments sound like real instruments. As if the other speakers couldn't do it properly so they voiced them with additives in different ways for different speakers like the cm9's being uber rich and smooth. I think with a tube pre-amp or tube analog out of a dac like the peachtree line offers, these speakers will never leave me wanting anything more. I might save and get the Montis but that's quite a bit more but i can only imagine but a bigger panel and larger woofer would do. I didn't get to hear the supertower mythos because for some reason they weren't working but i did plug the dac into the new ML soundbar. I was rather impressed. The highs were pretty good and the mids weren't as detailed as the electro's but they had more body while still having the clean accurate sound that the ethos had. Not as large a presence and at first i could hear the sound coming out of the driver instead of being in the air until i put my demo cd case under the front to lift it up a little and face it more towards me instead of my chest and i no longer heard the drivers, it was a little more airy. The bass didn't quite hit like lasers but they did have more body than i thought they would and they didn't move to much air but it was more audible than the cm9's bass was but with less shake. Also it rolled off pretty quick. Not a bad and it made me want to go hear the near motion 20's and 40's but i didn't have enough time.

Sorry if this was hard to read or comprehend but i hope my experience has helped someone.
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post #2 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 12:18 PM
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tl;dr

But yes, the attitude of the people in the stores is part of the reason the shops are all going out of business.
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post #3 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 12:20 PM - Thread Starter
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what is tl:dr

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post #4 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 12:22 PM - Thread Starter
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to long didn't read? k.....

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post #5 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 12:42 PM
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Not defending the store based on your customer service experience (because it was really poor), but I suspect part of the problem is that people are using smaller audio stores, and even places like Best Buy, to demo speakers and then buy them online or from a cheaper dealer. I have read that Best Buy is struggling and one reason is that people use it as a showroom to buy their product from Amazon, etc.
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post #6 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 01:48 PM - Thread Starter
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I see where you are coming from but i promised them that i would buy from them. I would never buy the high end stuff they have anywhere but from an authorized dealer. Not to mention the fact they took the time to show me what they had. I really wanted the KEF R series and i don't think you can get them or the triton's from anywhere but an authorized dealer.
Also, people must not know that little stores like that can budge on retail and usually give you a really good hook up if you buy everything from there.

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post #7 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 02:11 PM
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I have purchased from that store B&W 804 with 20% off, couple Rotel receivers/ amps etc. and always had a very good service, pricing is very good as well.
Sorry to hear what u went through but I thought I'll share my expeareance.


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Quote:
Originally Posted by buzzy_ View Post

tl;dr
But yes, the attitude of the people in the stores is part of the reason the shops are all going out of business.

Having been a small business owner who's recently retired, I learned quickly that without customer's, I don't have a business. It's all about the customer. While contemporary society encourages attitude, my bumper sticker would read; "No Attitude."
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post #9 of 42 Old 10-21-2012, 07:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I didn't say they treated every one poorly. Maybe i put myself into a situation by going there and not buying something right off the bat but i did not know my limitations. If i had known i was pushing boundaries then i would have not wasted anymore of their time. I feel i would have been treated differently if they had known that my credit card in my back pocket was ready to check out at any time, had i found what i wanted. I just like to think about things a little before i buy them. Especially something as high priced as the speakers that i have my eyes set on.
What gets me is that he couldn't comprehend what i was going through. I mean he could have made things a little more simple for me by telling what could make things more simple for me. I have yet to find a guide for how to go into a speaker shop and just know everything right off the bat. To me, there is a lot to take in. Especially with all the controversy about different things like how some amps make some speakers sound different. I post on another thread about what i had read and some guy is telling me that every amp sounds the same and that it is proven by doing volume matching and that i need to learn from him. Is it true? I don't think so. I understand that an amp isn't going to make one part of the speaker stand out more than others but that's not what i was getting at. It's called voicing i believe. Just like the cm9's being sweet and thick the way they are, i believe there are some amps that could make them sound a little more dry. Am i wrong? Are tube amps pointless? I believe that's what he's getting at

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post #10 of 42 Old 10-22-2012, 06:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

I see where you are coming from but i promised them that i would buy from them. I would never buy the high end stuff they have anywhere but from an authorized dealer. Not to mention the fact they took the time to show me what they had. I really wanted the KEF R series and i don't think you can get them or the triton's from anywhere but an authorized dealer.
Also, people must not know that little stores like that can budge on retail and usually give you a really good hook up if you buy everything from there.

I think you're right about the KEF R series. I don't think you can buy them online or if you can, they aren't discounted much, if at all.

Sorry to hear about the bad salesman. I would have just found someone else to help. He knows a lot of people only go there to demo, so if he doesn't like it, why not go into another profession?
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post #11 of 42 Old 10-22-2012, 06:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BeeMan458 View Post

Having been a small business owner who's recently retired, I learned quickly that without customer's, I don't have a business. It's all about the customer. While contemporary society encourages attitude, my bumper sticker would read; "No Attitude."
Having been a retail chain manager for 20 plus years I saw the other side of the coin as well, the salesperson's equivalent of the 'three date rule'. There are what's referred to as 'professional tire kickers', people who incessantly shop but never buy. After you've spent three sessions with one of them to see them walk out the door empty handed again you're loath to waste any more time on them the next time they show up in the store.

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post #12 of 42 Old 10-22-2012, 07:52 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Having been a retail chain manager for 20 plus years I saw the other side of the coin as well, the salesperson's equivalent of the 'three date rule'. There are what's referred to as 'professional tire kickers', people who incessantly shop but never buy. After you've spent three sessions with one of them to see them walk out the door empty handed again you're loath to waste any more time on them the next time they show up in the store.

(PM response sent.)

The fourth time they show up in the store, the sales person should be fast friends (relationship building) and the customer knows this as their resistance to buying becomes weaker and weaker. They know they've incurred buying obligations and they know that eventually, they have to buy. Even the most pathological among us understands this unspoken contract of obligation.

"Hey, John! How's it going? You've been here enough, look around, you know where the brochures are and if there's anything you want to buy, let me know."

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post #13 of 42 Old 10-22-2012, 08:03 AM - Thread Starter
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totally understand the three date rule. I told them with all honesty i would be there at income tax for sure to buy the speakers i chose for sure. I don't live anywhere near there in fact an hour and forty five minutes away which they knew so it's not like i was there three days in a row bugging them. I just stopped by when i happened to be there

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post #14 of 42 Old 10-22-2012, 08:21 AM
 
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totally understand the three date rule. I told them with all honesty i would be there at income tax for sure to buy the speakers i chose for sure. I don't live anywhere near there in fact an hour and forty five minutes away which they knew so it's not like i was there three days in a row bugging them. I just stopped by when i happened to be there

If they aren't willing to wait to get your money, you may find customer service, after the fact, to be even less customer friendly. Remember, you're an hour and a half away from that store and if you have any troubles, customer service is going be difficult to find.

Just saying, based on personal experience, I find many businesses are quick to let you in to spend your money but their attitude flips, the moment they have your money. You may find the sales person did you a good service by driving you away from their store. Something that I've observed, stores that have terrible customer service, eight out of ten times, are out of business within three years. This applies to both big box and mom-n-pop stores as without customers, nobody has a business.
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post #15 of 42 Old 10-24-2012, 02:43 AM
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Repeat visits for audio are very common.
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post #16 of 42 Old 10-24-2012, 04:01 PM - Thread Starter
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I asked the salesman, like this, " so people come in here and just hear one system and buy the speakers and everything it's hooked up to without doing any researching or trying to get away with cheaper alternatives often?" He said "yes, generally that's how it works" like i was an idiot for not being the same way

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post #17 of 42 Old 10-24-2012, 05:59 PM
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Wow, these guys sound like a bunch of jerks! I would have been p-o'd!
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post #18 of 42 Old 01-20-2013, 01:39 PM
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I visited the store a few times many years ago. Right after the first Sumiko Bluepoint special review came out in Stereophile, I thought I would buy one. The cartridge sold for $99 at the time which was notable, especially given the absolute rave review. They told me they sold the cartridge, but the price had gone up to $175. I didn't buy. I checked and the price had NOT gone up! It remained at $99 for many months after that point.

Another time I visited, I inquired with a young artsy kid about some analogue accessory. This kid could not have been more pretentious and affected and informed me that he didn't think they carried anything of that "genre." I almost laughed in his face over his use of the word and then left.
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post #19 of 42 Old 01-20-2013, 05:51 PM
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Check this out...Had a very similar encounter. I went to a small audio store and wanted to demo a few speakers and I asked to hear a few different ones, can you hook these up to the same receiver as them, can I play some of my own music(etc) and this guy just got more nasty and rude with me. This is what demo'ing is right? I finally asked him if he was the owner, he said yes, I said "cool", can I listen to one more pair and I will make my decision and buy them today...he walked out and I heard him sigh and say something to another guy about "this guy"(me), he came back and I listened to the other pair and he said, "so which ones are you taking home today"? I said "THIS GUY IS GOING TO BUY THEM RIGHT THERE...only NOT from YOU!!!! I went into telling him how rude and inconsiderate he was, and I will tell everyone I know to NEVER come here!!!! He just laughed. Since then I have bought a few thousand dollars in equipment elsewhere and I know of 3-5 people I talked out of going there.

I hope he does have to close his doors soon. BTW, never were there other customers waiting for service so he had nothing to do anyway!
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post #20 of 42 Old 01-20-2013, 07:06 PM
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nevermind...
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post #21 of 42 Old 01-20-2013, 07:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bill Fitzmaurice View Post

Having been a retail chain manager for 20 plus years I saw the other side of the coin as well, the salesperson's equivalent of the 'three date rule'. There are what's referred to as 'professional tire kickers', people who incessantly shop but never buy. After you've spent three sessions with one of them to see them walk out the door empty handed again you're loath to waste any more time on them the next time they show up in the store.

I totally agree with this post. If you had purchased from them before and had made some acquaintances that would be one thing but after 3 visits I would consider you a person auditioning speakers and would be thinking you were going to purchase on the internet because that is what the environment is today...You keep mentioning you would "promise to come back and buy" but unless I knew you I would be skeptical--My 2 cents.
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post #22 of 42 Old 01-20-2013, 07:37 PM
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Selling is all attitude.

OP, did you purchase speakers yet?

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post #23 of 42 Old 01-20-2013, 07:42 PM
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Selling is all attitude...

I agree with that but as a potential buyer I would be wheeling and dealing with what prices I could find on line.
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post #24 of 42 Old 01-21-2013, 08:49 AM
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Perhaps, the sales guy could have sucked it up a little better, and not been blatantly rude. But I can also understand that at a certain point, you're continued auditions were really eating up his time. These guys aren't making huge margins on these products, and the sales staff make a slim commission. Perhaps, had you walked into an exclusive custom installer, and were in the market for something in the five-figure range, you might expect them to bend over backwards.

We all do it. I especially. We shop on line, and get spoiled on free shipping and no tax (depending on the state). That's the number one reason the small retailers have gone under. I'm not saying one method of business is bad or good. But considering the extremely lengthy post that describes your adventure, I think that you simply crossed a line, and started to waste the guy's time. Not to question your character, but a promise is worthless, and it's not going to pay his bills, or help when his supervisor asks why he still hasn't sold something to the guy who has come in four+ times.

Sometimes, you have to _ _ _ _ or get off the pot. And I speak from experience there, as I often spend TOO much time deliberating!
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post #25 of 42 Old 01-21-2013, 10:10 AM
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I would still like to know if the OP purchased speakers yet. If he posted that he did purchase, I missed it somehow.
I've been selling on commission for years. I assume that these salesman are also on commission, but it doesn't really matter. I have to admit, I've been that obnoxious salesperson before, and looking back, I'm not very proud of it. It is all about attitude, and enjoying what you do to help people get what they want. As a salesperson, I have to work on lowering the barrier, showing the customer integrity, and realising that I simply cannot sell everyone (and I tell customers that all the time). If I can weed through some of this, I might find out what I need to do to make a sale. The customer starts to trust me.

It sounds like the salesman wanted to "win the battle", and he did, but he also "lost the war". Perhaps at some point after one or two visits, the salesperson could have offered a "special" after hours appointment with the customer to take the time to rearrange equipment and take advantage of some quality time, uninterrupted. The manager could have been on stand by for obvious reasons as well.
If the customer started leaning towards a particular speaker, but wouldn't commit, perhaps offering to deliver a pair to his home for a listening session might have worked. If the salesman delivered them, he could also discover any strengths or weaknesses in the room or equipment, for future sales, and most likely a referral or two.

As salespeople, we all want customers to walk in the door with their checkbook hanging out of their pocket, and "lay down" for us...but...

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post #26 of 42 Old 01-21-2013, 06:33 PM
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I'll take your advice and never shop there. Hell, I'll never even go to Buffalo. promise!
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post #27 of 42 Old 01-21-2013, 06:33 PM
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I'll take your advice and never shop there. Hell, I'll never even go to Buffalo. promise!
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post #28 of 42 Old 01-21-2013, 07:55 PM
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Most small audio stores have loads of d-bags.
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post #29 of 42 Old 01-21-2013, 08:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wes k View Post

I'll take your advice and never shop there. Hell, I'll never even go to Buffalo. promise!

Well now...wait a minute. I heard there is a real nice Best Buy Magnolia store up there...they haven't sold any speakers in a good while though...been demoing a lot you know.biggrin.gif

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post #30 of 42 Old 01-23-2013, 11:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Espo77 View Post

I would still like to know if the OP purchased speakers yet...

+1 Inquiring minds would like to know--I would also be curious if he's still in the process of deciding and if after 3 visits the BBY/Magnolia folks were still as accommodating on the fourth. smile.gif
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