How do some of the small shops stop the sales person from coming in the shop? I know larger shops have a front office and someone there that can stop them right there and deal with them there but the smaller one-two person shop is working away then look up and there they are. Now some are nice and in five minutes they are on their way but others do the whole sales pitch and just disrupt the whole momentum of what you have going on.
Whatís funny is when times were good we saw very few now the that things are slow now they are everywhere. I don't want to be rude to them because they can be helpful I will call you when I need you.
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor S:
I know how you feel, this can get very disruptive and annoying. How about posting a sign saying "No Solicitation Without a Prearranged Appointment" This should be sufficient to get the message across to them. I don't mind meeting with sales people either, but for them to assume that it's ok to just stop by unannounced and take up your valuable time is unacceptable. Chances are they wouldn't do it to a doctor or a lawyer, why should you be any different?
If they breeze past the office and come into the shop, I explain they have violated our safety and ask them to leave. I will not say a word but escort them to the door. Do not allow any two-way discourse, unless it is the broken sign line. When I am in the shop I am intent on my work and usually selling my time to my customers. These people come by and try to rob my time, and if they surprise me when intent at a machine they can be a real safety hazard
As others have said, these are mutually beneficial meetings. Tell them that you would like to anticipate their visit, on a regular basis, but with 24 hourís notice. This makes you a professional, who seeks industry updates and meaningful interaction with your vendors, but on a scheduled basis.
Once you force them to treat you as a professional, then you have a two way conversation. It is not just the new products and glossy paper handouts. It is a chance to see what benefits this vendor can bring to your business. Do they exceed in quality, service or price? Are they the best match for your company? You should have many questions that go beyond the products they offer. This meeting can often be a negotiation. If they bum rush you, it will be a very one way street.
I don't think I would have ever thought to call a vendor up and inquire about this. In fact I probably would never have known about the material if the first salesman hadn't have stopped by to tell me about it. It was when the second two salespeople came by to talk about the same board that the price dropped $5 a sheet. I usually buy at least 20 sheets at a time and that's a $100 in my pocket for having been willing to meet with these guys. I guess the best business would be one that we didn't need to have any employees, salespeople, or customers.
I've been doing this type of thing for years and once the sales folks understand how I work they are appreciative as they can save some time by not having to stop and wait till I'm at a point that I can take a break and they know that if they email me information I will read it. We use the formal appointments to do business. They like it and so do I. Many of these folks are walking encyclopedias and if treated with respect they are only too happy to bend over backwards to try to help me out. A friendly, polite and respectful approach always wins the day!
One of my lumber salesmen always keeps me posted about stacks of miscellaneous material they accumulate. I usually buy 20 sheets or more of plywood that is marked down from $50 to $30 and use it for toekicks, etc. One of my lumber salesmen actually bought a kitchen from me. That's nice when it happens. I took that as a compliment. He knows a lot of cabinet shops and he picked me.
Salesmen are also a good source of recommendation for workers. They stay in touch with everybody and they do what they can to help you. Your success is their success. They want to keep you intact. They are a great source of information and so is the internet, as well as trade journals. Get your advantages where you can.
If an owner requests a call back at a later time or day, then that owner should plan to be all ears and devote undivided attention during that agreed time and day. A put off like that shouldn't be used as a test to see if the sales person will actually show up or for some other kind of game or test.
If you are truly very busy at the precise moment the rep calls on you, say so, but offer the 30 seconds for them to tell you why they are there. If what the rep says is intriguing, even the busiest of schedules or tightest of deadline should allow time either later that same day or week for the rep to return for a mutually agreeable meeting. It makes little sense to put off the rep for two weeks or longer to return. There is always time before working hours, after hours or at breakfast/lunch/dinner where you could meet with the rep, assuming you truly have some interest in what they offer.
If you have no interest or can see no way you can use what the rep has to offer after the 30 second commercial, say so. Don't waste more of your time or theirs on sending literature you won't read, asking for references you won't check, telling them to follow up in a couple week/months when you'll have some other excuse not to see them etc. I'd much rather know as a rep where I stand with a prospect. Yes or no answers are easy to deal with. Maybe will drive everyone involved over the edge and wastes tons of time for both parties.
Finally, if you treat the rep with the same level of respect you'd expect if the tables were turned, you might find that the rep may have a job lead for you or other opportunity totally unrelated to what they are selling. You never know what else another might say, but if you are rude and shut them down before your give them their 30 seconds, you might be passing up a beneficial/profitable opportunity.