Letters to the Editor
This was a great point, so I knew I needed to post it here (with the permission of Daniel):
Read your article : /klwinescom-spirits-blog/2013/1/3/not-all-bottles-are-equal.html
As usual, I enjoyed it very much, but as a deal hunter, i thought i'd give you another perspective.
I am willing to pay high price if its the product i want and that's why your second point is the most relevant. I don't think anyone feels forced to buy your product, they just need your help in justifying the purchase to themselves sometime. to me his question sounded like he wants your help in 'wanting' to buy it.
What I would be most worried about, and perhaps some of your "bargain hunter" customers as well, is whether this is highpriced due to market condition and not quality. In other words, I trust your recommendations because so far any time i took your advise and tried a bottle you recommended i was not disappointed. However, if you tell me that the chieftains PE you carried at K&L two years ago was close to the QUALITY of the cask you chose (although there is a 5 year delta and there will be clear differences) it may be tempting to see if some of the stores in the country that don't move as much product have it for discounted prices. It obviously counter productive to recommend an expression you dont carry anymore and send someone to a different store, but it also builds trust and that's more valuable in the long run.
Eventually exclusive casks are tough to decide on because there is no reference point beside other std bottlings and your recommendation. In addition to telling everyone why your bottle is unique and that "not al bottles are equal" you may need to describe more of what the cask is like, what quality equivalents out there are (including past bottlings) and that the price is due to rarity and rising costs.
I think the key that was missing from my original post was the tone of the emailer. It wasn't so much a guy looking for help, but more of a you're-trying-to-rip-us-off-and-I'm-going-to-call-you-on-it notice. However, I failed to make that clear, so Daniel makes a very good point in his analysis. This is why letters to the editors are key! Not anonymous comments, but rather people taking to the time to correspond by writing an email with their name and contact info. That tends to weed out the knee-jerk reactions and it's much more appreciated on my end.