Recommended Suppliers Thread, Question in Purchasing and Trading; We have existing business relationships with a small selection of suppliers who are reliable, cost-effective and deliver on time. Until ...
2nd November 2006, 08:01 PM #16
We have existing business relationships with a small selection of suppliers who are reliable, cost-effective and deliver on time. Until they foul something up badly, or we need something they can't provide I don't go looking.
New suppliers are chosen based upon recommendations from people I know and trust. While your (correctly targetted and succinct) sales literature may make me aware of you as a contender, it (and you) will not be a major deciding factor.
Don't chase me. Ever. Don't make follow-up calls. If I'm interested or want further info, I will contact you.
NEVER chase the headmaster if I'm not available - you will lose all future and any current sales.
I am never not busy.
If I say I'm busy, don't stay on the phone for long.
If I say why I'm busy, it generally means that if you had any clue, you would realise now is a Bad Time and apologise and hand up immediately
2nd November 2006, 09:27 PM #17
First of 2 posts from me tonight on this matter ... first is a personal comment ... later there will be a general comment about good practice for suppliers on the forums.
Personally I like to have a list of suppliers ... I rarely turn a contact down. There comes a health warning with this. It is a buyers' market and I pick and choose who I ask. If I say call me back in 4 months that does not mean call me back in a month and double check.
For major projects I will tend to go directly to manufacturers and ask them for their preferred reseller in my area. This is my usual approach for HP / Toshiba / etc ...
The comment that goes with this is usually that I explain the the Edu team of a company that I don't care who we go with as long as it is the best deal at the time and should we find that we are being stitched we will not only fail to use that reseller in future we will disregard the manufacturer for all projects for one year. This has been very successful.
With minor purchases (printers, scanner, cameras, etc) I create a shopping list and send that to 5 suppliers and ask for prices ... I usually go with the lowest overall unless there are a few high cost items that vary in price widely.
For onsumables we do the same ... we purchase very term in bulk and we sometimes split them toner and ink but more often than not they are combined.
We only accept the first price offered. If a company lowers their prices to get the business and then puts them up next time round they lose ... but we win.
If a supplier contats me I will ask for their details and then say whether we have anything on the go ... and when to ring back.
They only speak to one of 3 people ... they may speak to me, but that is increasingly rare ... they may speak to my NM ... because I am lazy and make im do the work ... or they may speak to the website manager as she is kind enough to do chunks of the paperwork for our orders. If they try and approach the Head he will pass them on. If they keep contacting him then he tells them to bugger off as he has no purchasing power on the IT budget :-D That is the remit of my and the Business Manager. If he hears of a good deal from another school or a flyer he will always pass them on and leave it to us to decide.
We do have a few preferred companies ... but these are usually from tenders we have put out. We do this every year for the desktops and laptops ... we did a big one for the network infrastructure 18 months ago. This does not mean we are tied in, and if prices go up we shop around ...
The whole emphasis is that we are happy to have people contact us, but not hassle. We are happy to work long term but not when it is abused. Most of all we are happy when companies try not to tell us that we are not doing it right or that they can sort *all* our problems when they have not even set foot in the school.
There are a few companies I will not touch due to very bad experiences of myself, other staff on the team or NMs I know and trust. These are very few and I tend not to publically mention them as just because I have had bad experiences it does not mean everyone will.
I like helpful companies that will research things for you ... you say that you want to do x, y & z ... and you want product a to do it ... I like companies that give me the details of product a, but also suggest product b ... as long as they give us product a as well ... to make comparisons and make up our own mind.
I don't like bribes ... I don't like hidden charges (delivery etc) ... I don't like being told that a 7 day quote is really valid for 30 days ... only to find it isn't.
And most of all ... I don't like suppliers that use the school name without our consent to try to sell to other schools.
2nd November 2006, 09:51 PM #18
Many thanks for all of your replies so far, they are very helpful. For those that arent happy with my topic or posts, I apologise. We are looking in to ways to advertise on this site but I see at the moment, the advertising module isnt quite ready. Once this is available, we will look in to paying EduGeek to advertise on this site.
I hope you don't think this topic is a cheeky way to get your attention and to try and draw you to our website - it is not. It's just a genuine attempt to find out the best way for us to go about our marketing and trying to bring in new business. I will remove the logo and the web address from my profile and hope this topic can be continued as your views are very useful.
2nd November 2006, 10:47 PM #19
I echo a few of the responces here, I don't mind getting prices for inks etc as its useful for various reasons already mentioned such as price comparison, alternatives. Offers can interest me, but none of these so called super lasting Toners and inks etc, they don't interest me. Genuine Real Free Samples of Inks and Toners are good, I don't mind them, and are good especially with inks and colour toners, I am always honest to the supplier if they are willing to give me a couple of colour inks or a set of colour toners I will be honest on the quality, output, page count etc and if the are good and the price is right for future ones then they will get the business but I am not always up for changing from my regular brand because yours are 8p cheaper, as I have been here before.
As has been said, when I say I am really rather busy, please get off the phone as quick as possible. I am probably sure that if I can hear on the phone the phones rinigng in your offices and people talking you have half a chance of hearing the other phones in my office rining, and the hammering on the door of children / staff needing attention and when you detect I am trying to multi-conversation with a student or colleague whilst on the phone to you hurry up with your paper shuffling etc as it means time is ticking on.
Anyway thats my instant thoughts. I will no doubt think of more later but that will do me for now.
2nd November 2006, 10:56 PM #20
It sounds like a lot of companies out there are selling consumables - remind me not to join this market, haha!
2nd November 2006, 10:58 PM #21
Its a huge thing, many firms ring up with that, even when its a side line for them when really they want to sell me some Dat tapes, hardware etc....
2nd November 2006, 11:25 PM #22
And here is the second post of the evening.
There has been a recent increase in the number of suppliers joining EduGeek and whilst this is a positive thing there are a few areas that need commenting on. We do have a number of requests for form 'partnerships' and we are waiting for Sir Alan to come along and offer to buy the site as a going concern for a cool £1m (only kidding) but until then we would like to pass on this message that we are atarting to send to suppliers who would like to do more within the forums.
"Thank you for your contact. It is good to hear that EduGeek.net is being mentioned more and more (hopefully in a nice way, but we know we can't please everyone). We are very keen to work with suppliers and as part of this EduGeek.net staff are working on an advertising module for the site. This has had a few delays recently and we hope to get it up and running shortly. Innitially we are asking suppliers that are interested to use this as a method of advertising within EduGeek.net. The contact details for this are firstname.lastname@example.org.
Other methods of raising the profile of your company include having a few of your key staff become members and take part in discussions, offering snippets of advice, help and ideas ... the good point on this is that you can include company details within a reasonably sized signature. If people like what you say they will contact you.
We would say that there are a number of caveats with this method. We do ask those suppliers that take part to limit their answers to generic solutions rather than, "give us a call as we can sell you this kit or you can pay us to set it up." As with most other groups of people we prefer recommendations from other network managers and technicians. This usually takes the form of, "we did this by doing x, y &z and had help from company A to do it ... if you are interested here are their details." This important thing is giving advice how to complete a task (or a taster of it).
We are keen to give plenty of opportunities to suppliers to raise their profile with EduGeek members and one method is sponsoring or assisting at regional EduGeek.net events. We are looking for partners to assist on the Technical Help Point at BETT 2007 and this may be an opportunity for not only EduGeek members but other schools to become aware of your company.
If you are interested in assisting at BETT or advertising in general please let feel free to let the Site Admins know.
If you would like to have more of an informal chat please feel free to drop one of the Site Admins a PM."
I hope this clarifies a few points and helps prevented discussions getting too heated on the forum, but we want to promote a positive atmosphere on the site.
2nd November 2006, 11:26 PM #23
bossman, you must of read my message wrongly. :?
Originally Posted by bossman
In no way was my post having a go at what Dan posted, infact I agree that he did the right thing as a company to gauge exactly how people in our postition feel about the number of phone calls we receive in a week. My post was generally intended to have a go at the companies that are not interested in hearing the views of the customer or having the customers interest at the forefront of a discussion but those that are happy to line their pockets with money that is available in education. More so these last couple of years then ever the number of cold callers has increased due to more money being made available in education for ICT.
3rd November 2006, 01:10 AM #24
Now I feel I can take your question seriously Dan. Thanks for updating your profile. It did feel like you were slightly overstepping the mark. Whilst I welcome suppliers etc onto the forums, this thread treads the line IMO.
Originally Posted by Elky
Sales is a funny business isn't it. I've always regarded the proffession as somewhere below a snakes belly in the general order of things - just so's you know where i'm coming from.
Seems it's an in-built weakness, to get philosophical, as children we're stimulated by adult encouragement to sway our likes, must be for some natural defense mechanism, then the sales profession seems to feed off that.
Personally, i'm always swayed by what seems to be an honest aproach. Any whiff of BS - and I recon I have a good nose for it - and I'm either outta there or taking the P badly. Not to say I don't build up a good relationship with some sales ppl., just it's all part of the game innit??
How about starting another thread on sales techniques and how best to avoid the obvious pitfalls. You employ any tactic possible to get as much cash out of us as you can - that's the nature of your job.
Oh yeah. What I always want from any technical sales rep is sound technical knowledge. Those ppl seem few and far between, and a gift if you find one. I want YOU to tell ME what the best deals are at any given time, not ME do all the legwork for you. That's sadly all too often the case.
3rd November 2006, 01:26 AM #25
Sylv3r, I don't think Bossman's comment was aimed at you.
3rd November 2006, 02:10 AM #26
I think it was at least partly aimed at me... and I disagree with Bossman
I was being honest about my opinion of what the post author had written. I didn't think it was discourteous at all. Like I said above, I felt the line was being over-stepped.
3rd November 2006, 10:38 AM #27
Ok. It seems the most popular way of suppliers reaching you is through the good old fashioned way of a brochure, leaflet or flyer through the post. 3 times a year, we print a small A5 brochure just showcasing some of the products we offer. We then mail this to 42000 educational establishments nationwide. It is wrapped in clear polystyrene with the address on the back, marked FAO The IT Manager.
We think that an extremely large number of these don't ever make it past the secretary, receptionist etc which is why we like to then follow up with a phone call to try and find out if it reached the IT department. Sending out this many brochures is very costly so we like to make sure it's got to the intended person.
Are there any ways we can improve on the way we send this or whose attention we mark it for etc so it has more chance of reaching you? Obviously the more brochures we can get through to the IT departments, the less we have to try and follow these up.
Again, any comments will be appreciated.
3rd November 2006, 11:32 AM #28
mark: i will be as honest as you and yes it was aimed at you, not in a bad way may i say as i do believe you were being honest in your reply.
It was the manner in which i percieved you had come across in, i think we ourselves are better mannered than some of the other so called professional people we come into contact with, and in being so we should be courtious and professional and not stoop to their level of unprofessionalism ok.
3rd November 2006, 11:33 AM #29
Title dictates behaviour?
3rd November 2006, 12:20 PM #30
In my case, I do not like taking phone calls, partly coz I am always busy, but mostly because I get pushed by the caller and I am not in a position to give a decision about equipment, etc. When I have a requirement, I research it and produce a shortlist which I submit to my boss.
I find email the best contact, as I will always read it, and I keep details of things that I think may be of interest in the future.
Re sending out brochures, sometimes school websites list staff names so you can be more accurate. At least then the IT manager throws it away rather than the receptionist!!
Getting other schools to agree to using their name would be a good one, as I would be interested in some kit that a local school had used, as I could contact them and see if they are pleased with it. BUT GET THEIR PERMISSION FIRST!!!!
And PLEASE don't ring me when I have said there is nothing going on. A quick contact email is best.
I think that's it.
May I say that I think this topic is a good one, and I am pleased to see suppliers trying to tailor their services to our needs, rather than the other way around. And the original post was polite and deferential.
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