Product Reps – A Worthy Rant

From a blog post by Cherise Schacter, CSI, CDT. She serves in an administrative capacity in a large A/E firm and has some gripes about the way some product reps treat her. I concur with the advice she gives below:
  1. DO NOT assume that just because a woman is scheduling your lunch & learn, that she does not know what she is doing.  Likely I could teach you more than a thing or two.
  2. DO NOT ask me to order your lunches or go around and take individual orders for lunches.  We have as many as 6 lunch & learns a week sometimes.  I am pretty sure my rather large company did not factor into our operating budget doing your job for you.  We give you full instructions as soon as you schedule. Please read them.
  3. DO NOT leave your mess behind for someone here to clean up.
  4. DO NOT call me demanding that your Product needs to be immediately inserted in our specs because you talked to a Principal about it.  Name dropping one of my bosses is not going to get you into our Masters any faster.  We have procedures here and that boss will let me know when he wants your product incorporated into our specs.  If you are not in yet, there is a reason for it and I likely know that reason.  For example, maybe another Principal with whom you did not meet had a disaster on their project due to your product.
  5. DO NOT send me 30 pages of poorly written manufacturers specs and expect it is getting into my Master anytime soon.  Your company clearly has not taken the time to be a member of CSI or to learn the spec writing principles and language that is essential to specifications in the project delivery process.  I have spent as much as three days rewriting a manufacturer spec to make it usable in our CONTRACT documents.  If you want your products put in my master quickly, learn how to give me the specs the way I need them.
  6. When you come to visit, DO NOT talk to me like I am some kind of moron because you assume I am a flunky.  I don’t care if it is me, my Administrative Assistant or the janitor, I will not tolerate it.
  7. Manufacturers, at product shows, LOSE the slick used car salesmen in the 3-piece suits.  I can spot them a mile away and avoid them like the plague.  I want someone authentic and engaging who knows their stuff and will give it to me straight.  If your product is not for me, that is what I want to hear.  Be real and do not be pushy.
  8. At product shows, give me the information I asked you for.  DO NOT try to keep me at your booth for 4 hours telling me about every single product under the sun that you offer.  I have a lot of people to see.  It leaves a bad taste in my mouth when you try to corner me and I probably won’t stop by again.  If I ask you for additional information and to follow up after the show, you should probably do that.  Not one of you did from the last show I attended.
  9. At product shows, DO NOT assume that I am not worth your time because my badge says engineering and you rep architectural products.  Not only is most of my history in architecture and, for all you know, I may end up back there but I am also a leader in my very large CSI Chapter counting many of our local architects as friends.  My good opinion of you and your products, whether I spec them or not, might just carry some weight somewhere.
  10. Honey (I assume if you call me that, it is OK to call you that), my eyes are up here, in the middle of my face.  Please talk to those eyes, there are some brains behind them.
The bottom line here, you don’t really know who you are talking to, who they might know or where they may be going in their career.  It is in your best interest to leave behind a favorable impression with EVERY SINGLE person you meet.