People often joke about hiding from sales reps, but the fact of the matter is that valuable opportunities are lost when scientists disappear into thin air.
Think twice before attempting your own vanishing act; a brief chat could reward you with amazing deals, introduce you to faster, better technology and keep you in the loop about a favorite product’s life cycle.
Here are several reasons to meet your sales reps with a smile:
Share common ground
You may be surprised to learn that many salespeople have already walked several miles in your shoes. That’s right, they’re no stranger to the bench and understand exactly what it takes to conduct research and troubleshoot stubborn equipment! Use this common ground to bounce ideas around: enlist their help in brainstorming new and innovative solutions for unique challenges, even if it’s for something as routine as optimizing a PCR reaction.
A good sales rep will draw upon their knowledge of the company’s lineup of products and services to help make your life easier. A great sales rep will introduce comparable options from their competitors (and, sometimes do-it-yourself options). What’s more, when you’re interested in getting a sense of what popular tools, kits and equipment is being used by other scientists on the block, you can ring up your sales rep to ask.
There are no strong-armed, high-pressure sales tactics here. It’s going to be a casual conversation between scientists. The goal is to build a professional rapport – after all, your success is ultimately their success.
Get a personalized quote
One great benefit of having a local representative is that they are the friendly face who takes care of you from order quote to delivery, no matter how large or small an order. While an official order must go through the proper channels at your organization, the sales rep is your local point of contact in case you need to get the ball rolling to return something big – like a -80°C freezer that only cools to 4°C. Don’t worry about navigating through a phone-tree of customer service, let the rep be your guide!
Whether you’re looking for equipments, products, or even a service contract renewal, a personalized quote is the way to find out what special pricing is available at your organization.
Try new products
A local rep loved to bring us product samples for show and tell. Then they would conveniently “forget” to take it with them afterward, hoping that we would use it and love it so much that our next order would be specifically for that item – by the case! I don’t blame them for trying, and I appreciate their enthusiasm for all things biotechnology.
Nowadays, when policy precludes a lab from accepting trial or branded products as gifts, there may be ways to invite a rep to demonstrate new products. The key to this is letting them tell you about what’s new, what’s cool and how advances in technology, like an ultra thin glove, make it feel like they’re not even worn at all!
Find out when products get discontinued
Your rep has a measure of the industry’s pulse and can usually tell you what new items are coming soon (i.e. faster PCR equipment), what technology is being phased out (goodbye 32 bit software!), and what products are being replaced by something better (i.e. lab consumables, gloves, tips, etc). Consider that the rep that wears multiple hats: They’re the salesperson, troubleshooter, trainer and customer support. All in one.
As you make time to talk with your sales rep, ask them about your favorite products. For the lab that orders bulk items only a few times a year, this vital information may ease the transition from one product to another that is comparable.
But, wait, There’s more!
Still thinking about disappearing? Don’t leave a colleague to face the music one-on-one. Maybe you prefer to meet with a representative on your terms and your schedule, rather than balancing time-dependent data collection and feigning interest during an unscheduled lab call.
Grab your colleague and pay a visit to one of the frequent product shows near you. This is an invaluable chance to put names to faces and learn more about the companies with which you do business!
Still don’t want to talk with sales reps? At the very least, please say hi and grab a promotional flier with their business card. It’s for the lab. Your lab manager will thank you!