Friday, February 28, 2014

Interacting with Players: Sammy

Gold-making has a lot to do with numbers and math and other such things. Then there's lots of game mechanics to take into consideration. But one of the biggest aspects of gold-making that doesn't get the amount of discussion you'd expect is the interpersonal dynamics involved.  Be it an intricate undercut/repost/modify fallback to attempt to change your competitor's posting habits setup or an actual conversation we are, in one way or another, interacting with other players; both buyers and other sellers. How these relationships are managed are of the utmost importance to gold-making success.

Like in life, there are a lot of different types of people and even more ways of dealing with them. I'm going to do a little series of the people who have contacted me in-game (or those I have contacted) and what came of our discussions. Names have been changed to protect the foolish.


#1: Sammy

Sammy was one of the first people to respond to my Trade advertisement about how I'm always buying materials in bulk via COD. However, unlike most people who whisper me in response to my ad, he did not open with a "That sounds good" or "Can we work on the price?" (No, we can't!) or any other normal thing to say. He opened with this:

So, right away, it was clear I was in for a good time. Here are some tips we can discuss right off the bat from Sammy's introduction:

  • Never presume that you have a reputation.
    If you do have a reputation, then great for you, but if you don't you come off like a complete tool. Not only is this guy not someone who has ever been on my radar but he also thinks very highly of himself for a reason that doesn't seem to hold water. This is not a good first impression to make on anyone.
  • Even if you know you have a reputation, do not attempt to use it to intimidate or impress people.
    In his defense I was on a brand new toon, not on Liquidate. But even if he is 100% correct and he sells a ridiculous amount of volume the fact of the matter is he likely doesn't even come close to a quarter of the business I am used to doing. While being in the top 10 sellers may make him feel special it really doesn't matter to someone like myself who, in full swing when top sellers were listed, accounted for 5-7 characters of the top 10 sellers and was likely allied with the rest. That's not even considering the fact that most Top Sellers lists take into account amount of auctions posted, not sold.
  • If you're going to boast you better be able to back that shit up.
    Sammy was approaching me about selling bulk ore. He opened in such a way that, while he was pompous, I was pleased to find someone willing to sell me thousands of stacks of ore that he claimed to have. He talked my ear off about how he farms for hours every day and gets hundreds of stacks every day and oh if only he could find someone who was able to buy all this ore his awesome self farms up. When he asked me how much I wanted to buy and I said "all of it" his tune changed a bit though.

    You see, Sammy doesn't actually farm very much at all and had no idea that there were people who would buy so much ore. I ended up getting maybe 100 stacks of ore from him over the course of one month. I'm happy that he sells his ore to me but his credibility is completely and totally shot with me now and he's, in my eyes, rather pathetic which means that all future interactions with him have been met with eye-rolling. I just don't take him seriously and that's not something you want people thinking about you.

So, like I said, I offered to buy as much ore as he could send me and he sends me a bit here and there. He is probably my ninth or tenth biggest supplier. But here comes Harvey.

Harvey is Sammy's friend. As far as I can tell they are friends, probably around fourteen years old. Harvey is a very polite young man compared to his friend, however. He began selling me ore here and there and at one point he caught me while I was online and we talked a bit.

I won't go into Harvey's conversations too much since he's done just fine with the interpersonal thing but he mentioned that he got my name from Sammy and that Sammy said he makes dozens of thousands of gold from me. I was amused because at that time Sammy had maybe made 2,000 gold off me, if that. So I told Harvey his friend was likely mistaken but I tucked that bit of info into the mental Sammy file. 

Through more discussions with Harvey it turned out that apparently Sammy has told Harvey all about me, which is surprising considering none of the conversations actually happened. Apparently I've bought dozens of thousands of gold worth of ore from Harvey and I do so because I'm "exploiting the ore" and that's how I'm making gold. Also, I hack apparently.

I set the record straight with Harvey (that Sammy is talking big but none of the above is true) and pointed him towards Stormspire since he seemed interested in gold-making. But the Sammy file was now a bit more eye-roll-worthy.

Last week, at the behest of many buyers, I added leather into my barking macro. I set my price the same as with other markets; take the lowest I regularly see it at market and subtract 5g per stack. However, because leather prices fluctuate so much this frequently looks much lower than the current auction house price and that has lead to some interesting blowback I never saw before.

Side note before we get into more Sammy lols: I don't care what other people think of my prices. That's not a defensive "I don't care what you think, you're not my real dad!" statement, it's just the truth. My prices are set where they are for a good reason and that reason is not public opinion; if people sell to me that's great, if they don't that's fine. I literally don't care what people think of my prices or what they think of me charging them. I don't hide this fact.

Now, onto Sammy. Sammy apparently has quite the issue with what I pay for leather; so much so he began mouthing off in Trade chat about how I was ripping everyone off. I responded with my usual "I don't care what people think of my prices. Buy them or don't, I don't care." spiel and he apparently took this as a very personal attack.

He whispered me reminding me that he was my ore supplier and I should listen to him or else I'd never get any sellers. I was bored so I decided to engage in the conversation, stating once again I don't really care what he thought. Apparently this was very very upsetting for him since I was immediately put on ignore and told that it must be my time of the month. (Protip for anyone: Nothing makes me think you're a young boy faster than references to PMS/periods as rationale for someone treating you in a way you view as negative. Grow up.)

Now, you'd think that him putting me on ignore would be the end of it, but no, it gets better. You see, apparently he missed me very very much, because he took me off ignore within five minutes and began responding in Trade chat whenever I'd hit my macro. I just disregarded it and finished for the night.

The next day I was doing my usual Shopping List search before hitting my macro and found all of his ore on the AH . . . for 5g less than what I offer for it. Even if he is a tool cheap ore is cheap ore so, naturally, I bought it out. My personal opinions of someone won't get in the way of good gold-making.

He whispered me, thanking me for buying the ore, and began CODing a bit here and there again.

I imagine the Sammy tales may continue; I'll update y'all if they do, but that's where the Sammy situation is right now.

Here are the takeaway points from Sammy's tale:
  • Don't talk big at all, but especially if you can't back it up.
  • Act like an adult when dealing with others; how you speak to them may not have a great impact on your bottom line but, in the end, it will impact the way they see you which can really help or hinder you in the long-run. (We'll get more into this in a few more posts when I post Alice's story.)
  • People are weird.

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