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Q. I've noticed that USAGOLD / Centennial stresses education more than most of your competitors. Why is that?
MK. For years, we have emphasized "We educate first-time investors" in our advertising. We believe education to be the key to successful gold ownership. To make a long story short, we tend to keep our clientele as they become better educated, while many of our competitors tend to lose their clientele once they become educated. It shows in the type of services we consider important to complement our sales and delivery programs.
Q. What are some of the criteria a prospective investor should look for in a gold firm?
MK. Credibility, longevity, pricing, service and compatibility -- all come into the mix. Of those I rate credibility and its sister virtues -- reliability and reputability -- the most important. Too many of the national firms have brokers who were selling condos at the beach or automobiles a month ago and now suddenly they've become "gold experts" selling leverage schemes, $50,000 rare coins, reproduction medallions at 25 times their gold content, or overpriced silver investments. Most sophisticated gold investors would probably like to avoid that sort of thing.
Q. What makes USAGOLD / Centennial Precious Metals different from its competitors in terms of its interaction with clients?
MK. Our business philosophy allows us to take a more laid-back approach. We don't employ a room full of brokers spinning the phones day and night. We don't have multi-million dollar advertising expenses dictating what kind of advice we give clients. This is all by choice. I decided long ago that I didn't want the headaches that go with managing a large number of brokers and the support staff and facilities required. At the same time, we get hundreds of requests each month for introductory information packets. We do not make cold calls. We do not work mailing lists. We do not call people at all hours of the day or night. We do not use marketing and sales gimmicks -- leaders, bait and switch, and the rest of it. We primarily work with clients who have discovered us, like what they see, and want to form a long term relationship with a reputable and reliable gold firm.
Q. Does the "laid-back approach" limit your business?
MK. Yes and no. In the short run, "yes." In the long run, "no." We probably lose a few prospects to the aggressive companies which use hard-sell tactics but we will not be changing our client-friendly approach. We know that not every prospective investor is going to become a client of USAGOLD / Centennial. However, we know that the client who chooses us is likely to be the type of client we are accustomed to doing business with. We work with a large number of professional people and business owners -- active, retired and semi-retired. In fact, we work with clientele that span the economic spectrum and all walks of life. Getting back to how our approach sets us apart from our competitors, we get quite a few disgruntled high net worth clients who come to us after being run through the mill by some of the boiler-room operations I've referred to earlier. They are usually grateful that they found us.
Q. And finally, is there anything else you would like to share with us?
MK. Fundamentally, we believe that we are here to serve the client. Anyone who has done business with us will vouch for the courteous and professional service he or she has received. Our staff is carefully chosen and it shows. We get referrals on nearly a daily basis and are kept busy with strong repeat business. I would also like to call attention to the solid informational services offered at this website. We believe that any of our clients or visitors will find USAGOLD head and shoulders above anything else out there. I would encourage anyone attending this site to have a look around. We also publish a very handy e-mail newsletter available to prospective clients. Above and beyond that, the most important thing is the way we treat our clientele. From first inquiry through order fulfillment, we want to make the gold investing experience as pleasant and rewarding as possible. We have a large and satisfied clientele and that's the way we want to keep it.
Q. How does USAGOLD / Centennial Precious Metals position itself among its competitors with regard to credibility, reputability and pricing?
MK. USAGOLD / Centennial Precious Metals has always been considered one of the most reputable firms in the business and it's always been that way. We have placed literally thousands of ounces of gold with investors and our repeat business and referrals are both very strong. That doesn't happen unless you know what you are doing and your clients know that you know what you are doing. If I were to sum it up, I would say we combine the first rate services and research that you would expect from a very large firm with the favorable pricing you would expect from a smaller, client-conscious firm.