Canadian Music Trade - August-September 22 | Page 21

on where you live . If you live in suburbia in a detached home with a rec room in the basement , then you can play to your heart ’ s content . But for city living , the electronics are the way to go .
CMT : Have you seen significant recent improvements in electronic kits at different price points ?
Di Ciommo : Oh , absolutely . When you think about it , we ’ re in the fourth or fifth generation of electronic drums . And so , just like in the computer industry where every so many months or years , there ’ s that escalation of improvement , the same is true for electronic drums . Sampling sounds and then inputting them into the module , or at least creating sounds that mimic acoustic drums or any sort of percussion , there ’ s major improvements . Also , major improvements in the time it takes for the signal from the pad to the module and that conversion out into the PA system . It has reduced by milliseconds , and when you talk milliseconds in the computer world , that ’ s quite an improvement .
I ’ ve been saying this for a while now that I ’ m waiting for wireless systems . So , instead of each pad being wired into the module , it ’ d be connected via Bluetooth . It would be a major leap forward to eliminate all the spaghetti that ’ s on the floor .
CMT : When a new customer walks into the store , what are the key questions you ’ re asking them ?
Di Ciommo : We ’ re always qualifying the customer . So , you ask them ; Where do they live ? Do they live in a detached home , a semi-detached , condo , apartment ? What kind of music are they into ? What kind of sticks do they use ? Who ’ s their favourite drummer ? So , we ’ re always qualifying and asking those questions .
In their minds , anyway , they ’ ve usually already formulated what kind of drums they want based on where they live . That ’ s a major , major point . We ’ ve had many families come in and say , “ We live in a townhouse and my neighbors are right next door .” One way to help them , if they want an acoustic set , is tell them , “ Well , you can buy mutes and put them on top of the drum heads . You can buy mesh heads with low-volume cymbals . So , at least you ’ ll get the tone and that sensation . Maybe not as much moving air , but at least that sensation that , “ Hey , I ’ m actually playing drums .”
But their home environments is number one . And who ’ s buying it , too ? Parents will come in and say , “ I ’ m encouraging my son or daughter to play . I love the idea that they ’ re playing an instrument , but it has to be electronic because I can ’ t deal with the volume .” So , I joke with the parents and say , “ Years ago we used to include a choice of a free bottle of aspirin or vodka for all the parents with a new drum set .”
CMT : What impact has rising prices had on sales and the conversations you ’ re having with customers ?
Di Ciommo : That ’ s a great question . Generally speaking , in the marketplace , I think people have overcome the shock . They ’ ve just come to the realization that this is the new normal , for now at least . What are you going to do ? We sell both new and used musical instruments , but with Kijiji and [ Facebook ] Marketplace and Reverb , there are these platforms that people can visit themselves and just make their purchase — and , of course , through Drumland . But we provide the expertise and we ’ ve had families come in and ask us for our advice on things . Sometimes they ’ ll buy from us , and sometimes they don ’ t . But they always come to us for new drum heads , new sticks , and some have even admitted to us that after they made their purchase elsewhere but they should ’ ve purchased from us originally because of the deal that I had given them — or the advanced warning , if you will , that the best price is not always the best deal .
CMT : If you have multiple viable options that may meet the customer ’ s needs and budget , how are you deciding what ’ s the right way to guide them ?
Di Ciommo : Well , the number one rule in retail is sell them what you have . So , if we have a drum set on the floor that they can take home today , you want to showcase that .
Having said that , you then look at the size of the child — is the child tiny or average or taller ? And then the budget ; what are the parents comfortable with spending ? For instance , we sold a drum set last week and they drove in from Waterloo . The father had called a few days prior and said , “ We ’ re coming in from Waterloo and my budget is $ 1,500 to $ 2,000 for my 13-year-old son .” Well , after all was said and done , they left spending $ 3,600 , which is quite a substantial increase of their initial budget . However , throughout the whole process , I was educating the father and getting the son engaged as well , which is very important . But educating the father along the way on , “ This is a shell pack , it requires hardware …” and you show him the good , better , best . And I tell him all the way through , “ you get what you pay for .” So , reinforcing the quality , and he wanted something of quality . So , after educating him and getting the child involved , like learning that he liked Metallica , they ended up buying a Tama seven-piece set and left very , very happy .
CMT : Lastly , in terms of hiring ideal salespeople for a drum shop or department , what are the right qualities you ’ re looking for ?
Di Ciommo : Well , first and foremost , they should be a player . It gives credibility in the customer ’ s mind . Sometimes the customers start interviewing the salespeople because they want to feel good about their purchase and who they ’ re buying it from .
So , in terms of new staff , being a player is first and foremost . The selling will come … So , being a player , knowing the lingo , and then also knowing the creative , descriptive words that are used . Like , is it dark ? Is it warm ? Is it complex ? Does it have mysterious overtones ? When hitting drums , is it a long sustain ? Are the drums warm , bright , or lively ? Is the hardware heavy duty or lightweight ? So , learning that lingo on the technical side of things comes in time .
I always tell my staff , both old and new , “ I am here as your employer to be your resource . If you have a question about anything that a customer may pose and you do not know the answer , do not guess . Because you will be shot down like the Red Baron faster than you can say ‘ the war ’ s over .’” Because customers are coming here for solutions . They ‘ re coming here for answers to the questions that they have , and some of them will test you . They already know what they ’ re looking for ; they just want to find out what you know . So , I tell my staff , if you don ’ t know , do not guess and say to the customer , “ That ’ s a good question , let me find out for you .” You ’ re not here to prove anything to anybody .