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Not all dirty tricks

By steve.ostler ·
I started reading this article because I expected to be edified. Instead, I left fuming at a list of uneducated complaints about the nature of software. I know that IT geeks everywhere (of which I am one) hate dealing with sales people, but that hardly means that everything they do is conniving and crooked. So here is my list of why we should all stop complaining about these things:

[The magic demo]
I've seen more than my share of these, and I know that they really exists. But for the most part, product demos are a legitimate way for a vendor to show prospects ways that his/her product can, indeed, solve some of your toughest problems. While flat demos alone are a poor way to sell anything, I hate to think that anyone would turn down a vendor upon hearing the words "would you like to see how it works?" To continue the car analogy shared in another wouldn't buy a car without seeing it work. Would you?

[Underbid, then overcharge] Yes, the old bait-and-switch technique. Again, I know many salespeople who keep this one at the ready. But I know more who honestly just want happy customers, and who honor their word. Sometimes, however, customers' goals change once their knowledge of a product changes. Just because the elevator pitch got you in the door, doesn't mean a vendor should be forced to sell you more expensive services for their entry level pricing. A customer who changes their goals after hearing the elevator pitch may, indeed, be asked to pay more money for better software in much the same way that someone shopping for cars might be initially interested in the base model, but decide later that heated seats and surround sound car audio are important enough to pay for. Generally salespeople are up front about changing costs, implementation fees, hardware requirements, and the rest.

[The customer headlock]
Of course we all hate this, but I wouldn't say this is a dirty trick. It's evolution. Developers work hard to provide ever better software. If it's valuable enough to use, then it should be valuable enough to pay for. Some software providers offer free upgrades as part of initial or ongoing fees. But the ones who don't aren't evil - they simply work in for-profit organizations (*gasp*). Come on, give these guys some credit, and stop whining about upgrade and switching costs. They are real, unavoidable, and most certainly not part of vendors master plans for world domination.

[The billing ?mistake.?]
Okay, this really is a dirty trick when the mistake is intentional. But let's not all start from the foundation that every mistake is part of a cleverly disguised plan to bilk customers for a few more pennies. If you're like me (and at least some of you probably are) you make actual mistakes from time to time. Talk to the vendor, resolve the dispute, shake hands, and get over it.

[The forced upgrade march]
So I ranted a bit about this in the "headlock" section, but I'll add just another couple of words here. Last time I checked, NO software was mandatory. If you don't want to upgrade, then don't. You will then get to choose to continue using old, unsupported software, or buy something different. You still have a choice, and it's a beautiful thing indeed. If vendors really wanted to stick us with a real problem, they'd stop improving their software and keep selling the old, outdated stuff. Which would be great, because I sure love my Windows 3.1. Curses upon Windows for forcing me to upgrade!!! Now I have to use Vista or Linux or (*urp*) OSX.

[The clueless customer]
You know the old saying "A fool and his money are soon parted?" Yep. Enough said.

So there is my rant. Most of these so-called tricks are simply unpleasant facts. You want to know real dirty tricks? How about hiding my car keys when it's time to leave. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about that when my vendors call. Sure there are reasons to hate talking to vendors...but this list sure isn't any of them.

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Can we assume this refers to the 'Vendor dirty tricks' article?

by CharlieSpencer In reply to Not all dirty tricks
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Yes, this is in response to 'Vendor dirty tricks'

by steve.ostler In reply to Can we assume this refers ...

Thanks for adding the link.

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Add " Sell to management, exclude technical people"

by robo_dev In reply to Yes, this is in response ...

I was part of a multi-million dollar wireless network install where the vendor who had the least secure, slowest, and most expensive equipment won the bid.


Golf and church.

The sales rep from company 'A' was a golfing/church buddy one of the senior executives. Case closed.

While us tech-weenies had made one decision, it was over-ruled. Even worse, the company had purchased more than $400K of gear used for testing and pilot sites....all wasted.

The $400K of gear that got thrown away was Cisco, btw.

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Had that same type of thing happen

by jck In reply to Add " Sell to management, ...

Worked in a place where the executive director and a supplier were church buddies/friends. We had a bid go out for PCs, and we were getting bids from Gateway, etc. Well, miraculously the ED's friend came in last...and at the lowest.

Of course, his PCs met all the specs needed. However since we didn't specify warranty, he only gave us...30 days.

Within that 30 days, we had 5 mice go bad...5.

I left a couple months after that. I could have had 3 years support/next-day parts delivery with Gateway.

Instead, I got this hack computer shop selling me PCs with the cheapest parts he could find and taking 2-3 days just to call me back.

That's why when I write contracts/bids now, it is to the "T". Nothing left out, everything specified...including delivery date, amounts, costs, specs, warranties, color, etc.

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