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Meeting with vendors: Less is more

In Bob Artner's latest column he wrote, "...in my experience, if a company brings in a huge group for a presentation, the odds are that the twenty-something guy running the projector who never says a word...will end up being my account rep."
Do you agree with Bob's viewpoint? What's been your worst vendor meeting experience? Join this discussion for the chance to win a laser pointer.

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More is Less...

by Brian F Wilson In reply to Meeting with vendors: Les ...

Yes indeed, 'Less is More', but try and get a 100% attendance from 'Less'.

In a large corporation such as mine, trying to get every one of the key-minimal-persons together is the same room at the same time is close to impossible. You will have atleast 10-25% absenteeism from your core members. This cannot be avoided unless you are planning months ahead of time.

My only recomendation for keeping the roster small and having a good turnout is to go with 1 representative from each required group and make sure that everyone has a backup that they can send if they are unable to attend.

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It all depends

by Lju In reply to More is Less...

I agree, in a large company it is difficult to get attendance from a finely tuned cross section of key persons. However, in a company like mine (Public Library) run by people who know very little about the finer details of chosing a product there is no choice but to have more. The management and the IT people both have to be there.. as well as the representatives of each department which the product will have an impact on. (Circulation, Technical Processing, Shipping/Recieving, Bldg. & Grounds, Librarians, etc.) Sometimes our meeting room doesn't have enough chairs for all the people!

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How DO you get them to attend?

by BobArtner - TechRepublic In reply to More is Less...

You make a good point - it's often hard to force attendance at vendor presentations, expecially when you're working across departments.
<br>
<br>I'd be interested in learning what tricks IT managers use to solve this problem - how do you get people to attend, if they don't work for you?
<br><br>Bob Artner
<br>TechRepublic

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BIgger isn't always better

by Kile Mullen In reply to Meeting with vendors: Les ...

Last year, the school district I work for was evaluating new
phone systems. The evaluation committee was four people
with occasional attendance by other interested partys. One
vendor brought TEN people to their presentation. Our
account repand her tech sat through the presentation just like
us after introducing her manager who then took over the show.
One person was there simply because he was a graduate of
our district. The whole point of the presentation was to
impress us with the power and majesty of this company. We
weren't impressed.

The company that did get our business, besides having a
decent solution, recognized the importance of not
overwhelming a prospect. When we went to visit them, we
were introduced to all the people we would be working with
one at a time with only the account rep. and the tech rep.
staying for the entire meeting. We couldn't help but notice
that although the district manager and local sales manager
greeted us when we came in, they quickly excused
themselves. After that there were never more than three
people from the vendor's group in the room at any one time,
including the account rep and her tech person. That said to us
that the people in charge had confidence that the people we
were working with had the answers we needed and that any
thing they could contribute was just window dressing.

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For the vendor... but not the vendee

by TTate In reply to Meeting with vendors: Les ...

As an end user or vendee, I think it is important to have a good understanding of who the vendor is that you are talking with to begin with. Why would I invite someone in that I don't know enough about to seriously consider doing business with them?In today's technology environment, read that as internet websites, newsgroups and other user forums, there are many ways to find out how a vendor performs and what their offerings are really capable of.

Meetings can often be shortened by askingquestions that the vendor is uncomfortable answering and keeping their 'feet to the fire'. Know as much as you can about who you are talking to, what you want from them and when you want it. Be agressive! No one else can do the negotiating for you.

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Darragh's Law:

by ddarragh In reply to For the vendor... but not ...

Or, the substance, value & relevance of the vendor presentation is inversely proportional to the number of vendor representatives & the slavish adherence to PowerPoint presentations.

Artner's Law, Corollary 1.1.1.b. And the silent rep you receivewill be replaced by an even quieter, less competent rep within 30 days.

PS. I believe in *low tech* presentations that involve & engage the participants. I once used rubber ducks (yes, the bath tub kind)& five years later, I still hear favorable comments even from people who only heard of it second hand!

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Thoughts on Darragh's Law

by BobArtner - TechRepublic In reply to Darragh's Law:

I think you may well be right about the PowerPoint - I'll pursue that in a future column.

<br> What strikes me about a lot of those PowerPoint presentations is how tightly scripted they are - as if the rep is terrified about the consequences of having to think for oneself.

<br> Bob Artner
<br> TechRepublic

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Presentation from heck

by scott.cargill In reply to Meeting with vendors: Les ...

I just got out of a vendor presentation from heck. We are looking into replacing all of our hand-held computers and invited some vendors to come in.
This one company sent 4 personnel. One did the talking, another ran the notebook presentation, another counted celing tiles, and the fourth one constantly interupted us all with his ringing cell phone.
After Mr. Cell Phone took about 5 calls at the conf. table, our company president got up, snatched the cell phone from his hands and deposited it in the trash can.
At least THAT got everyone awake for a while!

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What a great story!

by BobArtner - TechRepublic In reply to Presentation from heck

I have two questions:

1) Did that vendor get the business?
2) Did the guy ever get his phone back?

Bob Artner
TechRepublic

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Answer to questions

by scott.cargill In reply to What a great story!

No, the vendor did not get the business. What is a shame is that even though that vendor had more of a product line to choose from and was a little less expensive, our company management didn't want anything to do with them solely on the presentation disappointment from the bad salesmen.

Yes, the guy with the trashed cell phone did retrieve it out of the trash can on the way out.

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