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Old 08-30-2012, 04:30 AM   #1
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Default Advice needed - what should I do?

I have a kind of sticky situation, and need to know how to handle it. My best friend is also my SU! demo. She has health issues, so she is a hobby demo - I'm her only customer. My biggest complaint is that she never lets me know about ANY of the specials or promotions going on (I find out about them from threads here), and never lets me know when she is placing an order, just in case I might want to add something to it (shipping is cheaper for both of us when we combine).

Case in point: several weeks ago I asked her when she would be putting another order in, as I wanted to get some of the Berry Bouquet fabric. She said it would be soon, and did I want her to add that to her order? I said yes, please, and went on my merry way. She also gave me a gift certificate for my birthday in July, but I hadn't used it yet.

She called a week or two later to tell me "Oh, I placed the order last night." I asked why she hadn't said anything, as I would have liked to add some things. Her answer was that I hadn't said that I wanted anything else, so she had assumed that I didn't. I told her that I had been waiting for the holiday catalog to go live. "Oh well, I'll be placing another order soon" was her answer.

Yesterday she brought my fabric to me and I asked if she was aware of the 99 cent fabric sale. She said "Yes, I even got you one", and handed me a pack of the Deck the Halls fabric. I asked her why she hadn't told me about it. She said that she thought she had, and that she didn't think that it was going on when she placed the order. (Really? Then where did this Deck the Halls fabric come from?)

I know that none of this is a big deal in the grander scheme of things, but this kind of thing happens ALL THE TIME, and it's really frustrating! She gets her feelings hurt very easily, so I want to avoid that, but I'm wondering if I should look for a new demo, and just let her be my friend. I'm not really helping her meet her quotas or anything, because I don't buy that much (I used to when she was giving me her discount, but she doesn't do that any more - that's a whole 'nother story), so it wouldn't really affect her bottom line that much.

Sorry about the novel, but this has been on my mind for quite a while, and I'm just not really sure how to handle the situation - I'm too close to it to see it objectively. Thoughts?
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Old 08-30-2012, 04:55 AM   #2
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Uh, I would get another demo. But since she gets her feelings hurt easily, I would do the cowardly thing and just um... hide it from her, that I got another demo. I'm not good at this social stuff. But I would not want the extra and unnecessary frustration in my life. Though I guess hiding something like that from her would cause me stress as well.

It occurred to me that it would be possible to tell her to tell you stuff more often, but that's too much like trying to change her... that kind of stuff is too exhausting for me.

I guess it would come down to what would cause you more unpleasantness: frustration of her not-very-good communication, or worrying about her feelings over a new demo.
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:31 AM   #3
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What about joining yourself? This is a good month 'cos there's an extra project kit that you get for free. Join under her and she'd get the kit too. That way you wouldn't be dependant on her to place your orders.

You could also use more than one demo. You could still order occasionally from your friend, when she gets in touch with you ... and have another demo that you order from.

Take the initiative. Don't wait for her to call you. As soon as you know of a special, or have an order, let her know.

Ultimately, you need to decide how important your friendship is. If she is your best friend, do you want to potentially toss a friendship over stamping supplies?
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:33 AM   #4
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I am a hobby demo and order for myself, two sisters and two friends. I do give them catalogs and I gave them the new Christmas catalog. We have worked it out over the years that we keep a list of the items we need, and I do let them know about the specials. I call them before I place my orders to see if they have anything on their lists and remind them of the specials. On the other hand, I do not want to make them feel like they have to make a order, kwim? This method has worked well for us over the years even when I had breast cancer. If your friend would contact you before she orders, and you had a list ready, she should really appreciate that. I guess I would ask if that would work for her. Good Luck..
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Old 08-30-2012, 05:37 AM   #5
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You could find another demo that would let you know about all of the specials and still (in addition) order from your friend IF she lets you know, from the sounds of things that probably would not happen very often. Like you said, what you order will not make a difference to her bottom line and when (if ever) she asks why you have not been placing any orders then, in truth, you can say you did not know when she was placing them.

The only other option is to find an demo that has a blog to keep up yourself with the specials then order from your friend. But is sounds as though she might or might not be placing an order at that time anyway. A tough spot to be in for sure when friendships are involved.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:02 AM   #6
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If you have asked more than once and she persists in ignoring your requests it's time to find a different demo.

When I moved a few years ago, I started with a hobby demo. I didn't know there were such things before then, but then I hadn't heard of SCS either, lol! She was very helpful with some questions I had and I placed one small and one quite large order with her. Eventually I asked if she knew of anyone who was doing stamp camps and she connected me with someone. I eventually told her I didn't need two demos and so would be placing future orders with the stamp camp gal. She said she appreciated my telling her because usually people just "drift away." Of course she wasn't my best friend.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:03 AM   #7
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I too, would find another demo, or join yourself. I also would NOT tell her that you have found another demo, as you don't need to inform her of it. Just be her friend. Stop ordering from her, and if she asks you why you don't want to order...just tell her you are watching your spending now with the Holidays coming up soon. Move on from her. sounds like you are frustrated with her, and you need to give your business to someone who appreciates you as a customer!
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:29 AM   #8
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I agree with Karen. It sounds like this is causing you stress but doesn't matter to her one way or the other - if it did, she would make more of an effort.

If she ever asks you, if you'd feel better about it, you can always order a resupply item -- or just say there's nothing you need and change the subject. But I don't think you should feel badly about not ordering from her. Taking your orders just sounds like an afterthought to her and at some point she probably won't mention it anymore.

She obviously isn't thinking of this as a business, just a casual thing between friends. So if I were you, I'd think of it the same way.

In the meantime, you'll find a demo who communicates, keeping you informed of specials and sales, etc., and you won't have to feel frustrated anymore.

Hope it works out well for you, Sue!
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:31 AM   #9
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Well, if she is not only your best friend but someone with whom you stamp, she's going to know if you start buying elsewhere when she sees your new stuff. I'm thinking she may not want to be pushy and that's why she doesn't always tell you when she's ordering. I'm also guessing her feelings might be hurt if that happened.

I'd address it directly with her..."Stamping buddy, PLEASE let me know whenever you're planning to place an order so I can, too, if I need something." You might also add, depending on her response, "If that's a chore and you'd rather, I'd be glad to look for someone who places orders more regularly." The latter is not said as nicely as it could be but you can refine the language so you don't hurt her feelings.

As for the specials, you could certainly find out early yourself if you sign up with the excellent $99 offer (plus the free printer's tray -- just extended thru 9/16). Otherwise, I'm pretty sure you will find news of any specials right here on SCS -- fast! I check the news on the SU! website daily and sometimes I still find out first here.

Good luck with your decision.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:33 AM   #10
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I would get another demo with an on-line site for you to order from. Then you could check for yourself what the specials are and order when you want and it ships immediately directly to you.

When your friend calls, let her order a pack of paper or a roll of ribbon for you.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:36 AM   #11
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If she is a hobby demo, does she count on your orders to fill her quota?

If not, it might be a relief for her not to be anybody else's demo. She might actually be hanging in with you because she feels that, as your friend, she ought to do so and would be glad not to have to deal with coordinating your orders with hers.

If she is counting on you to help her keep her demo status, then the situation becomes more complicated.

A hard thing to talk about, but maybe you ought to talk to her very candidly. But lovingly. You'd have to think about how to approach it.
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:42 AM   #12
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I like the idea of joining yourself because you said that you ordered more when you got the discount! Why not be your own customer!!!! No feeling hurt because you would be signing up under your friend I assume but one word of caution with that, if she isn't a good demo, will she be a good upline??? That is important! If you ever wanted to grow your business, a good upline is key!

If she is your friend, then the best option is to talk to her about it. Maybe she really doesn't want the hassel of having "customers" so to speak or she might feel as though telling you she is ordering is being pushy, but it is something that you can find out how she feels by talking to her. Do you take classes from her or anything other than ordering?

If that option doesn't appeal to you, find another demo that you can place orders online from and have shipped to you and then place the occasional order from your friend. Saves the friendship but keeps you happy too!!!!
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Old 08-30-2012, 07:42 AM   #13
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Thanks for the input, everyone! One of the main reasons I was asking all of you about this is because NO, it DEFINITELY is not worth risking a friendship over stamping supplies!

I'd semi, sort of considered the joining SU! thing, but I'm not sure how much I would pursue it as a business - I'm way too fickle and like too many things from too many companies to be loyal to any particular one so I'd probably not really do well. That being said, I may join and see how it goes. I just talked to my friend to see if it would affect her ability to stay active as a demo if I totally suck as a downline, and it sounds like she just wouldn't get any override commissions from my paltry sales, but would still retain her discount and all of that, so I may consider joining tonight or tomorrow to take advantage of the deals going on right now. She sounds kind of excited about it
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:00 AM   #14
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This sounds like it is going to be great for both of you! Maybe she feels a little "fish out of water" to grow her business more or host a workshop, but it could work out for both of you to team up together!!! Just an idea for the future IF you want to grow your business more, if not you still get the discount AND more importantly....KEEP YOUR FRIENDSHIP!!!!
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:04 AM   #15
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Okay - one more question before I get on board with this plan: Do I have until the end of December to meet my first quarterly minimum?
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:05 AM   #16
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Interesting development, Sue! I hope it works out well for you both ~ please keep us posted
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:06 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzgurl View Post
Okay - one more question before I get on board with this plan: Do I have until the end of December to meet my first quarterly minimum?
I'm sure you do - that's how it works with A Muse, too. You have until the end of your FIRST FULL quarter . I think that's brilliant.
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Old 08-30-2012, 08:08 AM   #18
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I am going to say I THINK so, but hopefully another demo is 100% sure on that! Something else to think about, in the past demos have been able to preorder from the occasions catty in December (at least that if the info my upline has told me) so that may make it VERY easy for you to meet your mins!!!
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Old 08-30-2012, 09:53 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzgurl View Post
Okay - one more question before I get on board with this plan: Do I have until the end of December to meet my first quarterly minimum?
Yes.
Everything you "sell" (whether to yourself or others) between now and Dec 31 counts towards your first quarterly minimum.
And your first workshop-sized order ($150 in the US) within 45 days will get you a 30% discount, instead of 20%.

And you'll be a demo to pre-order from the Occasions Catalogue in December!
And you'd keep the friendship!

Sounds like a winner plan! Glad you've talked to her!
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Old 08-30-2012, 12:46 PM   #20
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Whatever you do, good luck! And I hope you are your friend have a better balance/understanding/communication from here on out.
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Old 08-30-2012, 06:22 PM   #21
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Sounds like a win-win to me! Congratulations on making the decision. You get to retain the friendship. Doesn't sound like your friend will be losing much in terms of sales from you. Your friend gets the Spooktacular project for free, along with you (time to work on the project together!). You will now get first-hand information on what's going on with SU. You can order whenever you want. You will get discounts on your orders. I love how you came here to vent and seek advice, and you are now making informed decision.

I also think you have been toying with the idea, and just needed a little push? Can't wait to meet you "on the other side."
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Old 08-30-2012, 10:01 PM   #22
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I didn't get a chance to respond earlier on this thread but it looks like you are coming around to a great decision one way or another!

Its awesome that you were able to have an open conversation with your friend. I'm sure it would be sad for her if you just started buying with someone else without saying anything to her beforehand; but by exploring options with her - especially for signing up yourself, it lets her be a part of you getting the best option for you without cutting her out entirely.

I bet it will be a lot of fun for you to both be demos and friends. I convinced my mom to sign up as a demo when I was still telling myself there was no way I could do it. But after seeing what information and perks she got, and being able to talk with her about it, I ended up signing up quickly after. Now, it is a lot of fun to be able to hang out, craft, talk about the latest SU and craft world happenings. Hopefully you two will have the same thing!
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Old 08-30-2012, 11:26 PM   #23
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I honestly think joining was the best decision you could have made. I hated when others suggested flat out lying to her or hiding it from her as I'm sure you don't want to do that to your best friend. I think I'd be pretty upset if my best friend started ordering from someone else, but I'd rather have her tell me than not. But this way you avoid all awkwardness and you'll know about the specials and be able to place your own orders!!!
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Old 08-31-2012, 07:41 PM   #24
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since this was a friendship you wanted to keep; I think you made a really good decision. I completely understand the idea of "lying" about finding another demo but continuing to order small things from her. After all, this is a hobby and not something you want to be stressing over.

But in the end, as you stated, stamping supplies are NOT worth ruining the friendship over. So glad you talked to her and found a solution! Good Luck! I was a demo for a few years and I really loved it. Especially liked being "in the know" on the specials and products and being able to order early. Have a blast!
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Old 09-02-2012, 12:46 PM   #25
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Okay - quick update on the situation: when I originally decided to sign up I was going to do so with the intention of just getting what I wanted and not worrying about meeting quotas or really pursuing this as a business (did that once before - lasted 1 1/2 quarters, maybe). I had a VERY short list beyond the starter kit, and was going to go ahead and sign up right then. Since they've extended the Halloween printer's tray project offer until September 16th, I decided to go through the holiday catalog and regular idea book and make a list of everything I might possibly want and then narrow it down.

As I was doing that, I kept having all of these ideas for projects for workshops and/or kits going through my head, so I decided that maybe I will actually look at this as a business opportunity instead of just a hobby thing. My circle of friends is tiny, but I could offer incentives for bringing someone with you and make sure that the projects were AWESOME and (hopefully) expand that circle. I also had several ideas for ways to conduct business online, so maybe I can push this up a notch.

I also talked to my husband about it, and his response was, "I don't care HOW you make money, as long as you make some." Now I can justify time spent making cards and other projects as time "working", right? Win/win/win...

Now I just have to figure out how to narrow down the really, really long wish list I ended up with, LOL! Thanks again for the input, everyone - I probably would NOT have come to this solution without all of you weighing in on this issue!
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Old 09-02-2012, 01:36 PM   #26
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That sounds fabulous, Sue!!! Best wishes for success and FUN with your business ~ you're off to a great start being inspired .
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Old 09-02-2012, 02:51 PM   #27
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How wonderful!! I'm so happy for you!! Now that you have the mind set of "business", it will change how you order, stamp, etc...as you will always have those workshops in mind!! And you get all your supplies at a discount!! Definately Win/Win!!
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:13 PM   #28
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Awesome!
Go for it!
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Old 09-02-2012, 08:22 PM   #29
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Set up an online site for all your stamping friends to view! They may help you meet your quotas!
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Old 09-03-2012, 06:47 AM   #30
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Good for you!!! I think starting with a business mindset is WAY better than starting as a hobby demo and then trying to switch to business minded as I did. It's still hard for me to choose my stamps and other supplies based on what I need for my business versus what I want! Good luck!!! Love you attitude and wish you were coming on my team - your while outlook is contagious!!! Love it!
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Old 09-04-2012, 03:43 AM   #31
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Here's my two cents.....don't wait to long to host your first class/workshop. For me, it built and built in anticipation. I just needed to do it, to prove to myself that I could. I hosted my first class and it went well, I can now relax, I CAN do it. Make your first one small, and test out what works for you!!! But do it!!!! And good luck!!!!!
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:58 AM   #32
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I have no choice but to start small, as I don't know that many people to even invite I'm perfectly comfortable in front of large groups (I've been teaching and public speaking for much of my life), so no worries there...

I'm already hitting a glitch, though, so if any of you current demos would like to chime in, here's my trouble: I'm so used to using things from ALL OVER the stamping world, that many of the projects that I have had come to mind would be difficult to execute with only SU! products. I can overcome that easily enough with some thought and re-gearing, but it brought to mind a bigger issue. I currently already own many tools (Big Shot, ScorBoard, Cuttlebug, guillotine cutter, etc.) that I will not be replacing any time soon. I know I could sell these and buy the Su! versions, but it seems ridiculous to me. It seems equally ridiculous (unethical, even) to sell things of this nature at full price when I know that they could be purchased at a local store with a coupon for at least 40% below what I would be selling it for, not to mention the shipping cost, and many of my potential customers need that savings. How do I reconcile this? I'd like to show how SU! products "play well with others", but I know that the company policies pretty much require you to ONLY use SU! products in workshops and such. I'm not sure how well I can abide by that policy. Thoughts?
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Old 09-04-2012, 10:56 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gregzgurl View Post
I have no choice but to start small, as I don't know that many people to even invite I'm perfectly comfortable in front of large groups (I've been teaching and public speaking for much of my life), so no worries there...

I'm already hitting a glitch, though, so if any of you current demos would like to chime in, here's my trouble: I'm so used to using things from ALL OVER the stamping world, that many of the projects that I have had come to mind would be difficult to execute with only SU! products. I can overcome that easily enough with some thought and re-gearing, but it brought to mind a bigger issue. I currently already own many tools (Big Shot, ScorBoard, Cuttlebug, guillotine cutter, etc.) that I will not be replacing any time soon. I know I could sell these and buy the Su! versions, but it seems ridiculous to me. It seems equally ridiculous (unethical, even) to sell things of this nature at full price when I know that they could be purchased at a local store with a coupon for at least 40% below what I would be selling it for, not to mention the shipping cost, and many of my potential customers need that savings. How do I reconcile this? I'd like to show how SU! products "play well with others", but I know that the company policies pretty much require you to ONLY use SU! products in workshops and such. I'm not sure how well I can abide by that policy. Thoughts?
You'll find ideas for some of this on the Demo Forum to help you.

However the big thing you're going to have to resolve is the issue of things sold by SU! that are also in a Big Box store. You can use your 'old' Big Shot ... but you can't tell your customers to go buy it there.

Many demos have found ways to make it work for them so they can feel comfortable with what they sell.
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Old 09-04-2012, 06:16 PM   #34
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All the best to you Sue.
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Old 09-11-2012, 08:54 AM   #35
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Another update: My SU! starter kit is on its way to me. I decided to just plunge ahead and see how well I could abide by the rules and if I could really make more of this than a hobby and all the rest of it! I'm in the midst of plotting and planning now - further bulletins as events warrant Thanks again for all of the input, everyone!
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Old 09-11-2012, 10:07 AM   #36
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Great news, Sue!! Thanks for the update

I understand your conundrum about the products from other places. When it comes to the tools, I think it's important to recognize that you know they can buy some of them elsewhere with coupons, etc. I would focus on the fact that purchasing from SU will help them earn credits and also that because SU sells these products they have the benefit of you being there to support and help them in using the products. Kwim? Even if they purchase them elsewhere, they need to consider you a resource, too. I think the goodwill goes a long way to customer loyalty.

Also, you can focus on the products SU sells that are compatible with those tools - you may not get that one purchase from them, but you can build on it. And I'm pretty sure SU has quite a few exclusive products so I'd focus on those.

It's crazy in this day and age to bury your head in the sand and try to pretend you're the only store out there. But you can work with that fact and turn it into a positive.

Hope that makes sense! (It sounds better in my head )

I wish you much success!!
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