If you have heard any of my podcasts, or read my columns, you know that a pet peeve of mine has been the lack of contact we have with sales reps. This topic came up again a few weeks ago and sparked my interest. I have always been able to understand that I work at a small (but well known) college. Certainly, we are not the biggest customer of many of these companies. When the topic came up a few weeks ago, I was speaking with @avgreg from UCLA. He was telling me that they do occasionally get called on by sales reps, but not vey often. This is UCLA, a huge school, with lots and lots of classrooms.
So, as Jerry Seinfeld would say “What’s the deal?” Are sales reps having a hard time getting to realize that by far and large we (Tech Managers) are doing our own installs? We spec, design, program and fix our own stuff. Many of us do it all on or own. We use what we have always used, many times because it is what we know, as compared to what we think is best. We don’t know what we don’t know.
Today, I had a visit from our sales rep from a major manufacturer. It was invaluable. Not just as a sales pitch, but to give us ideas for the future. It was helpful to know where this company is going.
The thing that stuck out the most to me however, was that the rep told me several times, “use me.” By that he meant, to call him whether I needed tech support moved to the next level, whether I needed design help, or simply if I wanted to verify what a product does. I think that is a place where we tend to fail as Technology Managers. Without giving reps a free pass, they do have a lot of customers and a lot of territory. They simply can not be at your door all the time. But, this particular rep has always been quick to answer e-mails, and connect me with the person I need. So, as he said, I need to use him more.
I can not seem too soft though. In fact, the rep that visited from this company, and one rep from another company are the ONLY TWO companies that have sent reps in 10 plus years! If you are a rep and reading this, now is the time to strike! I am designing rooms right now for this summer. By the time InfoComm comes around, most of this will be done, much will be ordered and it will be too late to switch. If you are a projector manufacturer, read carefully: we are open to new models on our campus.
Let’s see if my phone rings.