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Steve Herschbach

Minelab And Customer Communications

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There is a common thread here. It seems like Nokta and Minelab both turned most all service over to Kellyco at about the same time. I know at first Nokta did everything direct, but there was a transition period where they pretty much just expected Kellyco to handle it. Minelab possibly a similar thought process. Perhaps Kellyco took on too much at once from too many sources. Probably had staffing issues as is common with specialty stuff. Now both Nokta and Minelab are finding they have to step back in and rethink things, maybe rejigger the relationships, whatever. I am not making excuses here for anybody or casting stones, just more an outside observer of what has gone on the last year and a half to two years. I know Dilek does her best but things get missed and unfortunately Jason seems to have paid the price on the transition. Too many fingers in the pie. Hopefully it is all made right to everyone's satisfaction. 

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Thinking back, I`ve been very fortunate in regards to detector problems. Sent a GM2 that failed (last century) back for a service(no drama) had a few ML rubbish bin lid coils fail and replaced no drama, plus a coiltex coil also replaced no drama. Considering they just bounce around in the back of the 4WD, and get no love just expected to work, rain hail but no snow. Touch wood....... I`ve had a top run and can only heap praise on the detector brands I`ve had and have plus of course a big cheer for the local dealer who just choofs out a replacement if possible.

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I have owned a lot of detectors, only had rare issues, and always had quick, efficient service. If anything it's been more above and beyond than not. For every bad service story there are hundreds of good ones that go untold.

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One question I have with this whole new global marketplace is why are there still dealers if they don't service anything or provide any other service other than sales? Aren't they just a middle man at that point inflating the price of the goods? If the internet didn't exist I could understand it because they provide local outlets for sales, but most of the sales are done over the internet/phone today anyways, many (or even most) dealers don't even have physical store locations anymore. It seems to me this subject has come up once before but I can't remember if it was here or not and it seems relevant to the subject matter.

I understand some provide training when it comes to gold detectors and some customers find good value in this, but with the markup in price that dealers take as profit up to 35% on some models, it's hardly worth it for many of us, especially for those who don't want the training. Especially considering guided trips/training can be bought for much less.

Again, one of those things that are tough to say/ask without offending someone and offense is not my intention at all, but if I don't understand then I'm sure some others don't as well too so I think it's a fair question related to the subject if we're heading towards a mega-repair outlet handling everything.

Can we just skip the dealer inflation and buy directly if it's all the same in the end?

The other direct implication is you end up with "preferential pricing" where friends of dealers all get one price, the people who know that you can wheel and deal on the MSRP get another slightly higher price (the 15% "military discount" as one example, quotes intentional because we all know it's not just military), and then the uninitiated pay full or close to full price. I don't find that to be right personally.

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8 hours ago, Steve Herschbach said:

There is a common thread here. It seems like Nokta and Minelab both turned most all service over to Kellyco at about the same time. I know at first Nokta did everything direct, but there was a transition period where they pretty much just expected Kellyco to handle it. Minelab possibly a similar thought process. Perhaps Kellyco took on too much at once from too many sources. Probably had staffing issues as is common with specialty stuff. Now both Nokta and Minelab are finding they have to step back in and rethink things, maybe rejigger the relationships, whatever. I am not making excuses here for anybody or casting stones, just more an outside observer of what has gone on the last year and a half to two years. I know Dilek does her best but things get missed and unfortunately Jason seems to have paid the price on the transition. Too many fingers in the pie. Hopefully it is all made right to everyone's satisfaction. 

I think that Kellyco is in over their head. Tragic circumstances left them one repair person short. When I had to send my CTX in for repairs it took about 8 weeks to get it back... I left several messages none of which were returned. I called my dealer and complained and the next day I got a call back from Kellyco.....coincidence? I don't think so. Another thing that I have read on other forums is that If you pay extra Kellyco will put you in the front of the line. I hope that sort of thing is not true.  If it is then for people like me who's machine was still under warranty their needs to be a separete line.  I don't mind a business doing business how they please but people who are waiting for their broken detector (still in warranty) should not be pushed  back just because "Joe Zincpenny " wants to go to the beach...so do we!  Anyway I hope that these manufacturers get their blank together so we can get our detectors back in working condition in a reasonable amount of time. 

strick 

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jasong;

I miss Joe's House of Treasure Hunters...the internet drove him out of business.  Joe always had detectors in stock. I could go squeeze the  tomatoes -so to speak. If you bought from him he handled all the shipping and misc. involved in service or repair. Sometimes he would even let one out for a test run...I can't do that now.

And his shop was a fun place to listen to prospecting, metal detecting stories.

fred 

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12 hours ago, jasong said:

One question I have with this whole new global marketplace is why are there still dealers if they don't service anything or provide any other service other than sales? Aren't they just a middle man at that point inflating the price of the goods? If the internet didn't exist I could understand it because they provide local outlets for sales, but most of the sales are done over the internet/phone today anyways, many (or even most) dealers don't even have physical store locations anymore. It seems to me this subject has come up once before but I can't remember if it was here or not and it seems relevant to the subject matter.

I understand some provide training when it comes to gold detectors and some customers find good value in this, but with the markup in price that dealers take as profit up to 35% on some models, it's hardly worth it for many of us, especially for those who don't want the training. Especially considering guided trips/training can be bought for much less.

Again, one of those things that are tough to say/ask without offending someone and offense is not my intention at all, but if I don't understand then I'm sure some others don't as well too so I think it's a fair question related to the subject if we're heading towards a mega-repair outlet handling everything.

Can we just skip the dealer inflation and buy directly if it's all the same in the end?

The other direct implication is you end up with "preferential pricing" where friends of dealers all get one price, the people who know that you can wheel and deal on the MSRP get another slightly higher price (the 15% "military discount" as one example, quotes intentional because we all know it's not just military), and then the uninitiated pay full or close to full price. I don't find that to be right personally.

My business is built around service and advice and TRAINING, all of this is based around my spending my whole adult life living and breathing what I do and it is all provided in a small town with only 2000 residents right on the goldfields.  Every winter we are inundated by people who've purchased their detectors from dealers in the cities where the main populations reside, desperately seeking information about how to use their metal detectors. I can assure you I make far less per detector sale than a "Box shifter" dealer because I invest time into the customer to make sure they at least have a good grounding on how to use their new purchase. 

Lastly if there were no dealers do you honestly think the price would drop by the dealer margin? Metal detector manufacturers need people like us to sell the story. Our incentive is the margin, a lot of which we then invest back into the customer, assuming there is any left because of all the discounting done by the larger dealers in the population centers away from the goldfields!!

JP

 

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My journey in this magic hobby was helped big time by my local dealer, he even posted new detectors and coils for me to test if he considered they were of interest to me. I live in a remote area and receive most everything by mail.

Whilst I understand and use online purchasing, nothing can replace the personalised service of a good dealer. As Fred says just to have a visit and "squeeze the tomatoes" is very worthwhile. But I suspect the writing is on the wall, and as JP questions will we get our detectors cheaper once dealers are a thing of the past? Don`t think so, we`ll just lose that personalised service, but this thread illustrates this is happening in the US and the signs in OZ aren`t good either.

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4 hours ago, Jonathan Porter said:

Lastly if there were no dealers do you honestly think the price would drop by the dealer margin? Metal detector manufacturers need people like us to sell the story. Our incentive is the margin, a lot of which we then invest back into the customer, assuming there is any left because of all the discounting done by the larger dealers in the population centers away from the goldfields!!

JP

 

I didn't say it'd drop by the dealer margin, but yes I do think they'd drop, especially if it got rid off all the MAP/MSRP/backroom bargaining stuff and the bigger stores could start selling for discounts if we are already going to have to deal with the bigger stores anyways, might as well save a step and buy from them too. When the GPZ first came out and listed for $10,700, there were dealers selling for around $7000 to their buddies and their buddies buddies and their buddies buddies buddies here in the US. That's a huge amount of wiggle room. 

I understand dealers like you, who maintain a brick and mortar shop, who have a solid and long reputation as both a prospector and tester whom people can actually learn from, I see the value in that for the customers. But the reality here in the US is that most dealers are not like that. Some are nothing more than a phone number for a part time prospector in his house, who might have used the machine a handful of times.

The last purchase I made, I agreed to not take the training and not call with problems or issues. Which was fine, because I didn't want the training and I knew I could deal with Minelab directly anyways (apparantly that's now changed). But at that point...I just don't see the point of a dealer anymore if they literally are doing nothing but "box shifting" as you put it.

But, it goes further, and there is another reason I don't see the purpose for dealers here in the US: I really had no issue with this weird pricing scheme and dealers who didn't appear to serve a purpose, since for decades the used market stayed high due to the arbitrarily high pricing of the detectors themselves, and I didn't have to like the system as long as I could just resell and recoup whatever I paid and everything evened out. But when ML deflated the price so soon after Z release it really changed my perspective and I'm not afraid to talk about it, even if it ruffles some feathers. Because it made it essential to play this stupid deal making game if you didn't want to get ripped off by a price change, but that means it essentially comes down to being friends with a dealer now and preferential pricing. The customer pays for the detector, we have to play the game, and we get left holding the bag when the prices drop. Yet we are expected not to talk about this "secret" method of doing business or we get trash talked by the dealers themselves for their own game. I don't like it at all.

I think it'd be nice to have the "discounted" option just available for those who want it, without having to play all these games where we automatically the get the 15% off or whatever would be found tenable. That still leaves a healthy profit for a store if they aren't offering training or anything else.

And then seperately, have dealers who are like you, who are actual full time prospectors, who understand the things they sell, and the customer can choose which route they want to take when they make the purchase. Or, someone could take the money they saved on the purchase directly and pay for training/trips with someone like you and you could continue to sell the story that way too if that's what sells detectors.

 

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