Venice: A City of Commerce

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Venice is a city of commerce. Its purpose is to sell … everything. The city draws about 12 million tourists annually and the merchant’s goal is to extract as much money from each one of us as possible.

In Venice, they don’t even give you a free taste of gelato (ice cream). You pay your money and takes your chances.


How much free information do you give away? How much time do you spend educating customers who don’t buy from you?

Or preparing reports, analysis and white papers, and then are told, “Thanks for the wonderful information, we’re going to put this out for bid, would you like to put a proposal together?”

Be like the Venetians: Don’t give away free ice cream Your business is to ask questions, solve problems, and close sales. Not to give away free information and services so your prospective customer will like, respect and trust you — and then do business with someone else.

Murano Island: The Glass-Blowing Capital Of The World Venetians have been blowing glass in Murano for a thousand years.

One of the things you MUST do when you visit Venice is visit a Murano glass factory where you can see the glass being blown using the same techniques developed by the masters long ago.

The tour books suggest you ask the hotel concierge about a tour to Murano. Which is what we did. He told us that he would arrange a water taxi for us, and have someone walk us to the dock. This would normally cost 50-60 euros, but this was on the house.

Little did we know what the value of a free water taxi was worth.

It was about a ten-minute walk to the dock, and another 15 minute ride across the open channel to Murano. We were dropped off at a glass factory’s dock.

A very pretty woman welcomed us and introduced us to Sergio, who would give us a tour — and demonstration — of the factory.

For 15 – 20 minutes we watched a craftsman demonstrate how to blow glass. He made a bowl, and a figurine horse. To show us how hot the glass was, he put a piece of paper on the glass bowl. It immediately burst into flames.

After a quick walk around the factory Sergio brought us into the showroom, a collection of rooms with hand-blown glasses, vases, goblets, figurines, plates and more.

DeLaine, my daughter saw a pretty chandelier hanging from the ceiling and asked the cost. It was 28,500 euros.

This showroom had a very unique selling model. There were no listed prices. When we found something that looked interesting we had to ask Sergio the price. He pulled out a calculator and then told us.

(I watched how he did it. He took the product code number and multiplied by six.)

For the next 30 minutes we walked from one showroom to the next. Each piece of glass was prettier and more exquisite than the one next to it. When we worked our way to the last showroom, I noticed something interesting: There was no marked exit.

We had to ask permission to leave. Begrudgingly, Sergio showed us out. His final words were “If you buy something you can have a ”’free”’ water taxi ride back to Venice.”

We thanked him very much for his time, and walked out the door.

For the next two hours we wandered around Murano, visiting the local shops and galleries. Had a delightful lunch at a local outdoor caf