Interesting statement by David Fee, VP sales @ Benchmade

Discussion in 'Benchmade Knife Company' started by harris2, Jun 4, 2014.

  1. pnsxyr

    pnsxyr Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 29, 2013
    Agreed and I feel the same way.

    I think the Benchmade fans that have been buying from them for decades or since the beginning are especially the most disappointed with this whole MAP thing, and the most likely to decrease or stop purchasing given the way Benchmade has changed its pricing structure really seems to contradict the roots/heritage of the brand and is (was) a major reason they are so loved.
  2. uofaengr


    Jan 9, 2014
    This weekend will be the perfect time to ask Les about this. ;)

    While I'm for the local shop (who is now getting to be the one undercutting the online retailers forced to sell at MAP), I'm against this economic "leveling the playing field" (sound familiar?) that hurts those that chose a more modern business model via creating websites, advertising them, and providing good deals in order to sell higher quantities of knives. I mean, have any of you seen where Knifeworks is located? It's out on a country highway nearly 40 miles away from the "big city" (Monroe). I'd say based on their location, they took the initiative to do what they needed to do to make profits. While my local shop sits smack dab in the middle of the highest income per capita in the state with hundreds to thousands of people coming in the doors daily, they're getting to sell below MAP and they will never, ever have an online store as long as they exist.

    I love the 4 Benchmades I have; they're great knives. They were all gifts, and I'm glad they were all purchased with the old discounts from KW or CS. I like their customer service and all that and free clips, woot, but pushing this "we need to enforce a higher cost to the consumer to relay a perception of owning an upper echelon knife, but let's not provide a better product" BS is just exactly that...BS. They decided to take a risk and isolate their fans and tried and true customers in expense of creating ooh's and ah's to someone just googling "Benchmade knives" for the first time today and thinking to himself "I should get that because it's more expensive, and more expensive means it better!". I'd just like to know what Roger's numbers look like year to date concerning Benchmade and rival brands such as Spyderco, ZT compared to previous years.
  3. Bradass80


    Apr 10, 2014
    I don't see it as Benchmade trying to change the perception of their product as higher quality than what it is, I see this new pricing as them trying to protect their dealers so that they can all make money on Benchmade product and continue to do so in the future. The product you purchase in a transaction is only a portion of what you should be purchasing, the other portion is the customer service. Benchmade offers training to their distributors so that they can be knowledgeable and actually know about the products they're selling. Sometimes purchasing at the lowest possible price is a good thing, but there are times when a knowledgeable salesperson is worth paying a little more to make sure the product you are buying is what you really want to be spending your money on, not everyone knows the difference between N680 and D2, or why you might want to consider one over the other. Brad.
  4. knife_fan

    knife_fan Gold Member Gold Member

    May 1, 2012
    I haven't bought a Benchmade since the forced price increase and won't until they come back down to reality. Benchmade has no doubt lost sales. Whether it's enough for them to rethink their pricing model, time will tell.
  5. RevDevil


    Nov 9, 2009
    If that were true, they could have mentioned that the brick &mortar stores had the same discretion as online shops to discount up to say 20%. Honestly, not buying that one. In any case, the stores around where I'm at seemingly only carry combo edge, black bladed knives. A common 710 costs $195, the 556 runs for about $110. One gun store in particular has the same knives they had 3 years ago, preserved under a fine layer of dust. Almost anyone can open a store, not everyone knows how to really sell and move products. It makes no difference to those with more money than sense though, they don't know any better.
  6. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    I hate the fact that I still like and want certain BM knives. But my common sense will not allow me to buy any. It's the principle that keeps me away. The price increase is a big one. I could live with 5 or 10% but not 30-40%. That's just crap. But with so many sweet models on the horizon from the competition , I'm more than happy to give my business to brands like Spyderco and ZT and get a better knife at a reasonable price.
  7. pnsxyr

    pnsxyr Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 29, 2013
    Please do ask him if he feels their change in pricing is isolating the longest-time Benchmade owners who have been with them since the start and buying tons of their products. It seems long-time collectors are even more disappointed with this change in business policy than newer customers or customers who may only have a few BMs.

    I am also curious if they feel their change in policy is driving many potential/former customers to different brands as they cannot reason paying the ridiculously high jump in prices on the exact knives that were once priced for so much less. At least to me, this really undermines the trait of value, once associated with the company.

    I'd say ask him, but I am sure that he is aware that KAI and Spyderco have recently introduced some very high-end production knives in extremely exotic steels for some of the most competitive pricing to date, and that getting a Benchmade in a steel like that costs about twice as much (for example, I can purchase a Kershaw Blur in ELMAX, + a Spyderco Manix in CPM-S110V, + a Kershaw Rake Composite in D2 for about the same price as a Benchmade 940-1).

    But I would still be curious to see if Benchmade plans to increase materials quality on their products to better justify their price increases, such as moving to DLC blade coatings, upgrading their 154CM, D2, and S30V steels to better steels, or utilizing a new technology to replace the painted pocket clips that flake.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  8. pnsxyr

    pnsxyr Gold Member Gold Member

    Aug 29, 2013
    I have to disagree. The whole MAP is something I am bitter about, so I'll admit I'm not 100% neutral from the start.

    However, Benchmade is not the only company that offers communication on their products and it isn't hard for a salesperson to learn everything they need to know and more with the internet alone. I've owned their knives for about two decades and it is because I love their products. But their recent price policy isn't helping dealers as much as it is screwing over consumers and hurting the brand name for both long time loyal and newer customers by erasing the trait of "excellent value" which once was commonly used to describe Benchmade knives. One cannot make money on Benchmade sales if the knives don't sell much or at all.

    The other issue is that if you have a knowledgeable salesperson trained in quality cutlery, chances are they may advise many consumers NOT to purchase a Benchmade product if quality and value are desired. A dealer competent with various brands now realizes that Benchmade's pricing policy backs them into a corner in a world where there are many other great brands. Presumably, the economic response to this is to carry another brand to supplement the sales from consumers who no longer will pay the higher prices on Benchmade products but still want to purchase a nice knife. I imagine many BM dealers have expanded the brands they carry since their pricing policy went into effect, especially with the recent trend of KAI producing Kershaw and ZT products that really push the boundary of performance and value.
  9. powernoodle

    powernoodle Power Member

    Jul 21, 2004
    As long as you guys keep slobbering over a 940-1 that retails for an insane $263.50, Benchmade is going to keep screwing us with their artificially-inflated prices that are not market driven. I would like to own a 940-1 too, but at the price of a CF Sage 1 with S30V ($107 shipped) with a slight premium for the S90V. So basically, you are paying a $130 "up yours" tax to Benchmade for the privilege of letting them sell you a 940-1. So I am absolutely done buying Benchmades. If all of us voted with our credit cards, Benchmade's artificially-inflated pricing would disappear in 3 months. Powernoodle is grumpy! :)

    "Premium pricing (also called image pricing or prestige pricing) is the practice of keeping the price of a product or service artificially high in order to encourage favorable perceptions among buyers, based solely on the price. The practice is intended to exploit the tendency for buyers to assume that expensive items enjoy an exceptional reputation or represent exceptional quality and distinction." Link.
  10. bld522


    Feb 3, 2004
    Benchmade has to be betting that people have short memories and that, as new products are released and old products retired, the sting of inflated prices will eventually fade away. We'll see if they're right about that. But for the record, I just bought a Sequel at pre-MAP pricing and it's the last Benchmade I intend to purchase unless and until Benchmade returns to its old pricing policy.
  11. Ken44


    Jun 29, 2005
    And that is the only reason they are doing it. Trying to fool people into thinking they are better than the brands priced just under them.
    They're not doing it for the dealers, and certainly not for the customers. Only thinking of themselves, which I hope backfires on them.
    I'll keep what I have, but I'm done with them. Then again, I may buy one if I found a good deal, but I won't pay MAP for a Benchmade.
  12. bld522


    Feb 3, 2004
    The problem is, given enough time, it just might work. And we'd be naïve to believe that Benchmade's competitors aren't waiting to see if it does.
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2014
  13. CrialJLA


    Dec 17, 2008
    And this is why Benchmade will not be getting my business until they all distributers to discount their knives. I am not paying $100 for a Griptillian when I can have a Spyderco Delica for under $70. Bullshit.
  14. CUTiger3


    Apr 18, 2004
    My ZT 0770CF was delivered yesterday at just over $150. Outstanding FF like the other 1/2 dozen ZT's I own. I'd like to have the 940-1, but there is no way I'm paying $260+ for that knife. Benchmade will have to improve their QC, and offer premium blade steel before I'll consider purchasing at MAP. Too many other options that offer a much better value proposition
  15. Poez


    Jul 5, 2010
    I do not see much sense in what they have done: it's like with their previous decisions with buying some brands to only ruin them or now with turning their image from somewhat refined to nearly rustic... But that's their business, so good luck with it! I have got already enough Benchmade knives to last me a lifetime, or whatever is left of it! :)
  16. salmonkiller


    Dec 9, 2006
    I think that if BM wants to beat the competition then they will have to meet them.Do they really want to beat the competition or just carve their own nitch?They will have to offer the same or better QC, materials, value, and overall satisfaction to us the customer base to beat the competition.Are they doing this?Do they just want little slice of the pie/nitch or a become a boutique brand?The gold class is a perfect example of this boutuqueness.Brand loyalty may wain and sales may fall over time unless a new demographic is introduced.A new generation of BM consumers that are willing to pay more for less because of perceived prestige a brand carves.Is this a isolated BM marketing strategy, or is the industry pushing the trend as a whole trying to drive sales into a more net revenue per unit produced scenario slowly over time?It seems like some changes are happening before our eyes.
  17. JNewell


    Nov 18, 2005
    Yes. Look at all the reports of serious issues with the 940-1s. Premium pricing, $h!77y quality. :thumbdn:
  18. Wolverine666

    Wolverine666 Gold Member Gold Member

    Dec 7, 2009
    Were there really issues with the 940-1 ? Interesting.
  19. ToxicBot11


    Apr 28, 2013
    I haven't bought a single BM since they went with the MAP pricing and I have no intentions to do so, so basically they lost a customer.

    Can you explain how losing customers "protects the dealer".
  20. Squashfan


    Jun 6, 2012
    I think you hit the nail on the head. Unfortunately, the majority of people who by BMs are overpaying for them anyway. So they don't know about the good deals that are gone. I know a guy who paid $70 for a normal serrated Kershaw Leek. He had no idea what the common market price for us knifenuts was and consequently felt like he got a good deal.

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