"The mind uses logic to justify what the heart has already decided." -Roy H. Williams
The best way to get into the customer's mind is through her heart. Tell stories. Share values. Speak to the emotions.
On the flip side, however, the best way to hold yourself back is to make business decisions based purely on emotions.
As independent retailers, we've all faced this dilemma. The product that a new manufacturer promised us would never be in the mass market was just spotted on the shelf at your local Target store. You're mad. You just placed a $1000 order and now the product line is no longer "special". Or you happened to get an email from a flash sale site showing one of your favorite products on sale for what you paid for it.
Your first instinct is to flame the manufacturer on the discussion boards, cancel orders, deep-discount your on-hand inventory and vow to never carry that line again.
Stop. Wait. Take a deep breath. You're making an emotional response.
Before you make any decisions, do a little fact-checking. Are you still selling the product at the retail and turn-ratio that works for your store? Are your customers coming into your store expecting you to have this product? Do you believe in this product? Does this product fit into your image as a store?
If the answers to those questions are no, figure out a game plan to get rid of your excess inventory in a smart way. Find a replacement product that says yes. And move on.
Surprisingly, sometimes the answers will still be yes and you've just dumped a viable line and burned bridges on the way out.
There will always be manufacturers who do things you won't like. There will always be situations that frustrate you. The smart businesses, however, skip the emotional responses and make business decisions.
PS Remember that at the end of the day, you are beholden to two things - your customers and your bottom line. Make sure all of your decisions on both accounts are smart business decisions, not emotional reactions. Don't think that other manufacturers aren't watching how you react to these situations. They know who the hotheads are.