Al Maniscalco and Francois Kloc

April 05, 2022 I Cover Story

A Dealer’s Best Friend

By Katie Kailus

During a year that’s been specifically difficult for the school music business, Buffet Crampon has continued to come out swinging. From straightforward communication with dealers about product delays to the launch of its exclusive Zoe Ensemble program a few months before the pandemic hit, Buffet has had its dealers’ backs.

“During the pandemic, we’ve tried to find ways to help our dealers and be as flexible as we can, even when it comes to paying invoices and bills,” said François Kloc, Buffet Crampon USA’s president and CEO. “We are trying to be as understanding as possible. As long as we have communication — regular communication — that’s important. We didn’t want to put added pressure on dealers to give us all the money they had.”

That partnership extended beyond invoicing and into rebates — offering dealers a “revolving door” of various rebates aimed at moving product off the shelf.

“This year we put together something a little more practical and tied some incentives into the rebates for dealers,” said Al Maniscalco, Buffet Crampon USA’s director of sales and marketing. “The rebates are quarterly, so they don’t have to wait until the end of the year. This way, the dealer knows that in three months they are going to get the benefit, and they won’t have to wait for another six months.”

Exclusively Buffet
A few months before the pandemic began, Buffet rolled out its Zoe Ensemble program, which is available only to select Buffet dealers to not saturate local markets. The program features access to the company’s Zoe clarinet, which is designed specifically for students and also received a 2021 Product Excellence Award (page 51).

“The idea actually came from a dealer summit we had back in 2019,” Kloc said. “We invited a few school music dealers from around the country ——- one from New Jersey, one from Iowa, one from the West Coast — and we discussed several [topics] and asked the dealers what they would like to see from us. The Zoe clarinet was born out of that meeting. We saw there was a niche there, and we designed the program around this idea.”

As mentioned earlier, the program is only available for select dealers, but Buffet is looking to expand the program.

“We really want to grow the program and add more dealers, but not create pockets where there [are] conflicts territorially,” Maniscalco said. “The program offers a lot of important features, like training and customer service access, amongst others.”

Additionally, Buffet helps dealers stand out by instructing them to offer the company’s free educational service, The Pedagogics Project, to its school directors. The project offers live, online master classes from the Buffet Crampon Group’s roster of artists. While educators can sign up for the classes on their own, channeling this program through the dealer provides them with an “added bonus.”

“Dealers can use this to their advantage,” Maniscalco said. “They can ‘be the hero’ to directors by saying, ‘Because I work with Buffet, I can get you this master class.’” MI

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