Wednesday, July 6, 2011


To be a reseller in the chess business requires that one be somewhat off their rocker. Let's face it, I know, and digging ditches is easier (yes, I've done that too!).

One of the hardest parts of this business is to get credible names to email to and to embrace them and tell them about your wares. It's not so much that I am an isolationist (although if you worked here you might think so) as that I wonder if chess players get out much.

What do I hear? The virtues of ICC being extolled, "But Black has the two bishops," and "Ya know, Fischer was nuts. I mean, he was a great chess player but on everything else he was whacko!"  Yes, I hear these things, read these things, sometimes as recently as the day before.

But the hard part is to get people's attention. You can't just do it on price although that will get some of the scavengers and you can't do it by meeting people at chess tournaments (where you find out that many of these fine folks will not purchase anything by mail), and you can't just do your only marketing on the internet, although the USCF has holiday sales as often as Roger Clemens has denied using steroids!  In fact I don't think any country has that many holidays.

Nope, what is necessary is to massage every possibility there is when it comes to media, persuasion, and possibly, bribery! But there is ONE thing that kind works, maybe in a small way, but I have had good results with it and that is PERSONA.

If you have good service, good character (honest, dependable and so on, good virtue stuff), and a relationship with your clients... this can spell good things. But the public is so mistrusting until they've heard good things from others, read them... and yet, some of the services out there are so bad I am kind of stupefied that anyone would use such services over and over.

But recently I heard from Rev. Don Miller in Jacksonville, FL. Don was glad I came back from Georgia and restarted my chess business. Here's what he had to say:

"Hi Bob....
Just a quick comment ... want to say that I am very impressed with the way that my orders have been handled! You have, indeed, the fastest shipping of any chess companies that I have done business with over the past many years as a player. I have felt (and feel) as if I am a very top of the list customer as I order with you, no matter what I am ordering. My last order, I received in three days! This was your normal shipping.  I have always had to wait anywhere from a week to two weeks to receive any thing that I have ordered from other suppliers... Way to go, Bob!"

Just when I thought he was done I got another email:

"It is refreshing to me to see that someone has retained the idea of what service is to their customers and I greatly appreciate that. Service, anymore is a byword to most companies as well as to their employee's... and I try to give a pat on the back and an atta-boy to those who deserve it when I am on the receiving end of good customer service these days. It seems more and more as if there is no service to the customer anymore in most businesses... and that is a pet peeve of mine. The first job I ever had back in the early '70's was a customer service job and I was taught what it meant to give the customer proper service... and rarely is that service ever given in today's business to customers; what I see mostly is rudeness and arrogance...   So a BIG THANK YOU!!"

You are welcome Don. If you think Don is on drugs, let me relate a recent incident at my local post office. Someone was complaining about waiting in line, why was there so few clerks on hand, etc. And the Postmaster walked out on the floor  (our post office gets all the rejects) and said, "Well, people have to wait in line at grocery stores too!" I wasn't there but a postal employee told me this had just happened, and I replied, "If I had been there, I would have reminded this cardboard cutout that grocery stores don't have the word 'Service' appended to their name either." Only a numbskull would ever say something like that to a good and repeat customer. And no doubt he thought his answer was clever.

So if you are new to this column, and your "philosophies" somewhat dovetail with mine, we are going to get along great and I intend to give you great service too. If you want flyers, catalogs, listings, samples, etc. just drop me a line at:

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