LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 16 May 2012 , 11:54pm
post #1 of

The article is actually from a few years ago, but they posted it to their Facebook page today:

http://wedding.theknot.com/wedding-planning/planning-a-wedding/articles/wedding-vendor-negotiatiing-101.aspx?MsdVisit=1

I don't even know what to say anymore....SO glad I have never given them a dime for advertising! thumbsdown.gif

27 replies
jason_kraft Posted 17 May 2012 , 12:04am
post #2 of

Makes sense from the consumer's perspective, I don't see it as offensive.

bobwonderbuns Posted 17 May 2012 , 12:15am
post #3 of

Oh honestly, how insulting can they get? I like some of the comments given at the bottom of that article.

QTCakes1 Posted 17 May 2012 , 1:22pm
post #4 of

I don't mind someone looking for a deal, but that article was just stupid, as are the vendors that defend it and even more so the Knot, who needs advertising from the vendors it says to do the "good cop, back cop" routine too.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 17 May 2012 , 2:00pm
post #5 of

Yeah, I think my favorite part was when they tell the bride to "practice at a flea market" for negotiating with her wedding vendors. Really?!? icon_rolleyes.gif

scp1127 Posted 17 May 2012 , 2:30pm
post #6 of

The article isn't really wrong if we just look at how many threads and posts just on CC show that the industry does negotiate.

I always make a package deal based on the amount spent over the initial budget.

jason_kraft Posted 17 May 2012 , 2:40pm
post #7 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615

Yeah, I think my favorite part was when they tell the bride to "practice at a flea market" for negotiating with her wedding vendors. Really?!? icon_rolleyes.gif



Yes, really. Learning how to effectively negotiate is a very useful skill as both a consumer and a business owner.

jgifford Posted 17 May 2012 , 3:04pm
post #8 of

The article in itself is not the problem - - it's basically the same advice we would give our children. The problem lies with the bride who takes it too far and thinks she's entitled to get something for nothing, and has an attitude to boot.

ranae5463 Posted 17 May 2012 , 3:34pm
post #9 of

I agree with jgifford. Most businesses (large and small) in America offer discounts in some form or another. The article isn't stating to go for deep deep cuts, just offering advice in getting the most for their money.

AZCouture Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:30pm

I'm all for getting discounts on whatever possible, but I'm not even interested in working with people that will sit in front of me with a stink eye and act like the cake is just "one more damned thing they have to buy". Ugh.

jgifford Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:43pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

I'm all for getting discounts on whatever possible, but I'm not even interested in working with people that will sit in front of me with a stink eye and act like the cake is just "one more damned thing they have to buy". Ugh.




I agree, but that's not what the article advised. It suggested that the bride ask "politely" if there are any discounts or package deals available. Apparently reading comprehension is not taught in schools anymore; some brides will take that suggestion as a license to make demands and expect the moon to be handed to them on a silver platter.

AZCouture Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:46pm

How about the reference to being indifferent? That's what I'm talking about. I have no interest in that. My clients don't act like that. And I wouldn't work with someone who did. That makes for a hostile atmosphere and general discomfort all around.

bobwonderbuns Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:47pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

I'm all for getting discounts on whatever possible, but I'm not even interested in working with people that will sit in front of me with a stink eye and act like the cake is just "one more damned thing they have to buy". Ugh.



I agree, but that's not what the article advised. It suggested that the bride ask "politely" if there are any discounts or package deals available. Apparently reading comprehension is not taught in schools anymore; some brides will take that suggestion as a license to make demands and expect the moon to be handed to them on a silver platter.




Yep! Just like Mrs. "I don't think you understand, I want a 6 foot tall wedding cake icon_eek.gif and I DON'T want to pay for it." icon_confused.gif OOOOOOYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEE icon_rolleyes.gif

AZCouture Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:48pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jgifford

I agree, but that's not what the article advised. It suggested that the bride ask "politely" if there are any discounts or package deals available. Apparently reading comprehension is not taught in schools anymore; some brides will take that suggestion as a license to make demands and expect the moon to be handed to them on a silver platter.




This:


Adopt a friendly but firm demeanor
There's no harm in politely asking for a deal. If vendors are excited to work with you, they may be more willing to come up with creative solutions.


Be indifferent
You need the vendor to believe that if he or she won't meet your offer you will walk away. Consider collaborating with your fiance to employ the old good-cop-bad-cop routine


That part.

jgifford Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:54pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

How about the reference to being indifferent? That's what I'm talking about. I have no interest in that. My clients don't act like that. And I wouldn't work with someone who did. That makes for a hostile atmosphere and general discomfort all around.




Here's your answer - we're all perfectly free to decline to work with any customer. Actually, I do agree that maybe The Knot went a little too far with their advice. But I don't believe it warrants going into orbit like so many appear to be doing.

jason_kraft Posted 17 May 2012 , 5:56pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by AZCouture

Be indifferent
You need the vendor to believe that if he or she won't meet your offer you will walk away. Consider collaborating with your fiance to employ the old good-cop-bad-cop routine


That part.



I'm still not seeing what the big deal is. If a customer threatens to walk away if I don't lower the price (without reducing size or complexity) they are certainly free to do so.

Business owners can turn this around and use this advice to their own advantage by being "indifferent" as to whether or not they get a customer's order, e.g. not undervaluing their products and services just to get an order on the books. In my view this is nothing more than capitalism at work, if a business owner keeps cutting prices in response to customer pressure they will eventually fail due to financial losses and/or burnout.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 17 May 2012 , 6:00pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jason_kraft

Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615

Yeah, I think my favorite part was when they tell the bride to "practice at a flea market" for negotiating with her wedding vendors. Really?!? icon_rolleyes.gif


Yes, really. Learning how to effectively negotiate is a very useful skill as both a consumer and a business owner.




Well, I don't know about you all, but I don't negotiate my prices. Ever. They are what they are for a reason. I'm not a flea market vendor or a car dealership. I don't have "wiggle room". I do, however, have overhead. Lots and lots of overhead. icon_wink.gif

I will absolutely do my best to work within the bride's budget, but that doesn't mean changing my prices, it means coming up with a design that fits in their budget. If their budget doesn't allow for even my most basic design, then we both need to walk away, and they need to find someone else.

My whole problem with The Knot and every article I have read of theirs that has to do with wedding vendors is that they always have an overall tone of "wedding vendors are out to bleed you dry, don't trust them, and you have to play mind games to get a decent deal out of them."

And yet wedding vendors are the ones who pay advertising to help support The Knot. Nice.

AZCouture Posted 17 May 2012 , 6:02pm

Yeah, the reactions in the comments are very emotional. icon_biggrin.gif I thnk I'm just a little shocked that people would do that. I just haven't ever encountered people who tried that with me, and I'm not sure I'd handle it well. icon_biggrin.gif

jason_kraft Posted 17 May 2012 , 6:28pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615

I will absolutely do my best to work within the bride's budget, but that doesn't mean changing my prices, it means coming up with a design that fits in their budget. If their budget doesn't allow for even my most basic design, then we both need to walk away, and they need to find someone else.



What you just described are examples of negotiation. Negotiating does not mean one party will lower their prices for no reason (unless said party is a poor negotiator), there is always a give and take involved. And if it is clear that one side can't get what they want, then as both you and the article said they need to be willing to walk away.

Quote:
Quote:

My whole problem with The Knot and every article I have read of theirs that has to do with wedding vendors is that they always have an overall tone of "wedding vendors are out to bleed you dry, don't trust them, and you have to play mind games to get a decent deal out of them."



I disagree with your characterization of basic negotiating tactics as "mind games", but I see what you're getting at. The Knot is in the business of delivering as many eyeballs as possible to wedding vendors, and one of the best ways to do that is suggestions on how brides can cut their costs. This is not a conflict of interest at all for vendors who advertise...if you can't handle knowledgeable customers and don't want to negotiate (in terms of realistically meeting a customer's needs within their budget) then you probably shouldn't be running a business.

jenmat Posted 17 May 2012 , 6:54pm

While I am a huge supporter of capitalism (Go Walmart!), I am not sure I agree with this being a beneficial article for my brides.
I guess the emotional knee-jerk reactions come from this business being an artform, not just a manufactured product. (yes, I'm sure you can argue semantics here).
When someone sees their business as being a personal expression of their art and vision, it is difficult to read an article about how to undercut that product. We are going to take it more personally because it is as if The Knot (or whomever) is saying "they aren't worth as much as they are telling you."

Most wouldn't be offended at an article on how to negotiate at a flea market or a car dealership. But when I am approached by a wedding couple who basically insults me by pulling a good-cop/bad-cop routine where it relates to my artistic product, I'm not going to accept their work, and that is my choice.
If there is another vendor who is willing to negotiate with them, then they are welcome to it. Capitalism at its best!

AZCouture Posted 17 May 2012 , 6:57pm

Couldn't have said it better myself.

LoveMeSomeCake615 Posted 17 May 2012 , 7:05pm

Jason, as usual you are splitting hairs about what "negotiation" means, but in this context, to me it means that they are encouraging brides to try to get vendors to go lower than their already established prices, something I will not do. I have already said that I will realistically meet a customer's needs within their budget, but what I will not do is let someone talk me into undervaluing myself.

Is "playing good cop/bad cop with your fiance" not a mind game?

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat


When someone sees their business as being a personal expression of their art and vision, it is difficult to read an article about how to undercut that product. We are going to take it more personally because it is as if The Knot (or whomever) is saying "they aren't worth as much as they are telling you."




Yes, This. Exactly. Thank you Jenmat!

leah_s Posted 17 May 2012 , 7:07pm

ditto ^. I do not negotiate. If you can't afford my prices, fine, no problemo. But I am not a flea market, used car salesperson, etc. I do not negotiate with, my hairdresser, or the local department store.

There's a time and place for everything.

jason_kraft Posted 17 May 2012 , 7:25pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by LoveMeSomeCake615

Jason, as usual you are splitting hairs about what "negotiation" means, but in this context, to me it means that they are encouraging brides to try to get vendors to go lower than their already established prices, something I will not do. I have already said that I will realistically meet a customer's needs within their budget, but what I will not do is let someone talk me into undervaluing myself.



Then you should have nothing to worry about when customers try to get you to undervalue yourself. Customers will try to do this, it is a part of being in business.

Quote:
Quote:

Is "playing good cop/bad cop with your fiance" not a mind game?



To me it is just a negotiating tactic (and an amusing one at that), but you are free to define it as a "mind game" if you wish.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat


When someone sees their business as being a personal expression of their art and vision, it is difficult to read an article about how to undercut that product. We are going to take it more personally because it is as if The Knot (or whomever) is saying "they aren't worth as much as they are telling you."



I see where you're coming from, but at the same time you really can't take things like this personally if you are running a business, it's just not worth the aggravation. The Knot is not saying "they aren't worth as much as they are telling you" (at least not in this article), they are saying that you probably won't get significant discounts but it can't hurt to ask for a few extras, and here are some ways to do that.

I used to deal with customers negotiating all the time (partially due to the demographics of the market I was in), and it's really not difficult to deal with. In fact I utilized many of the points in this article: knowing your market, sticking to your limit (lower limit in this case), being friendly but firm, indifference toward whether or not you land the order, and practicing negotiating in other arenas.

jenmat Posted 17 May 2012 , 7:52pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by jenmat


When someone sees their business as being a personal expression of their art and vision, it is difficult to read an article about how to undercut that product. We are going to take it more personally because it is as if The Knot (or whomever) is saying "they aren't worth as much as they are telling you."



Quote:
Quote:

I see where you're coming from, but at the same time you really can't take things like this personally if you are running a business, it's just not worth the aggravation. The Knot is not saying "they aren't worth as much as they are telling you" (at least not in this article), they are saying that you probably won't get significant discounts but it can't hurt to ask for a few extras, and here are some ways to do that.




I definitely agree that taking it personal just exacerbates the situation, but I was referring to why the reaction in the forum. Maintaining professionalism throughout the entire process is paramount to running a business, negotiation or not, but on the forum we are free to express our exasperation.
I do think the tone was a little disingenuous for most of us. I for one can say that I run a lean business so that I can stay competitive in my market. That may not be true for every business in every location, and for some types of wedding vendors there may be some wiggle room (I remember Debi throwing in chips once in a while in her catering business). But on a cake forum, talking about our point of view, there is not often a lot of room for negotiation. I realize that this article was not directed at cake vendors, but it did not make exceptions either.
I am simply saying that a customer's initial approach to a vendor is the first step in that relationship. The article, while not encouraging rudeness, could imply certain stereotypes about wedding vendors that would damage that relationship before it even got started. If it were the first of its kind, then it would probably be overlooked, but I think we are all just tired of hearing the same line in a different way.

vgcea Posted 17 May 2012 , 8:03pm

As much as it makes sense to say "don't take business personal," it's hard not to be emotionally attached to an entity in which I have invested a large amount of physical, mental, emotional, and financial resources. So much of an entrepreneur goes into the business that "don't take it personal" just doesn't click. For an employee? Maybe. But for the business owner? It's personal. I'm not looking to build a soul-less organization that's only about the bottom line. I care, and I want my clients to care too-- or at least try to.

That said, I can see how the article can be good or bad depending on how we view it. As long as vendors know that some clients will come with this attitude, and prepare accordingly to deal with the issues and manipulations, there should be no problem.

kakeladi Posted 17 May 2012 , 9:26pm

.........Be indifferent
You need the vendor to believe that if he or she won't meet your offer you will walk away. Consider collaborating with your fiance to employ the old good-cop-bad-cop routine.......

THIS is the one that got me! I've had a few pull this act icon_sad.gif

costumeczar Posted 20 May 2012 , 10:08pm
Quote:
Originally Posted by kakeladi

.........Be indifferent
You need the vendor to believe that if he or she won't meet your offer you will walk away. Consider collaborating with your fiance to employ the old good-cop-bad-cop routine.......

THIS is the one that got me! I've had a few pull this act icon_sad.gif




But who cares? If they walk away someone else will come along right after them and take their date.

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