Monday, January 9, 2017

Vendors and some frustrations

Being a small business owner means that I am going to have my mobile device on most of the time. Off hours are when you can get the emergency calls from clients with issues or you are just trying to focus on getting some of your own tasks completed. Vendors seem to think that everyone should be available to read email or answer phone calls all the time.

We have been dealing with some vendors lately and they just don’t seem to understand that there is a limit of how many notifications and phone calls I want to get from you. So here is a list of some of our frustrations with vendors.

  1. Send too many emails – there is a limit to how much I want to receive from a vendor. If you have something new to tell me great but don’t keep telling me the same information over and over again.
  2. Too many reminders about event or webinars – send me an email about the event and one reminder closer to the date of the event. Do not send me constant reminders about registering for an event/webinar. If I am not interested or unable to go I will not be registering just to say I registered for the event. Also, ensure your system knows that I have already registered for the event and then stop reminding me to register for something that I have already registered for.
  3. IT people have their work devices on all or most of the time – don’t send emails in the evenings or on weekends to ensure it is at the top of the email list in the morning or worst yet on Monday morning when I can be dealing with more IT emergencies than normal. If you email me on the weekend because you have a system that you can schedule when things are sent you just show that you don’t respect potential clients/resellers.
  4. Don’t assume a domain will result in big business as it might be my personal email address that I registered with and not work – it is amazing how many vendors think because your email is an ISP email address you work for them. We have received calls from vendors assuming we worked for Rogers because our personal email account was with Rogers. Yes this could also happen with the and subscribers as well. An email account with internet providers cannot guarantee that you work for them.
  5. Know the holidays of where you are phoning – If you are a regional sales rep ensure that you understand all the statutory holidays in the areas that you are phoning. There are a number of American companies that seem to forget that our holidays in Canada are not the same as they have. We recently received a phone call on a statutory holiday and the person was amazed that I quickly could say they were from the States. Yes, once again showing that even with a title of sales rep for Eastern Region it doesn’t mean you know what the Eastern Region is other than it is Eastern North America. Please if you are going to be calling an area outside either your state or province ensure you know various holidays. Put the holidays in your calendar so that at the beginning of each day you can check to ensure you are not calling someone who isn’t at work but you are calling on their mobile device.
  6. Call during normal business hours – preferably between 10 and 4 – this time is listed because the first hour of a day is trying to clean up emails and such that have landed after you walked away from work the last business day. Also, the first hour is when you are juggling the various emergencies that can land when clients discover issues when they start their day. The 4 pm is because by then most of the front facing work is done and it is now time for the small business owners to try and wrap up for the day themselves. We had one vendor that really enjoyed calling between 5:30 and 6 pm when he was driving home from work. Great for him as he was being productive but of course it meant it either interrupted us making dinner or interrupted the work that was getting accomplished for clients.
  7. Know the size of the business you are calling – this means checking a website to get a little bit of an idea about the business before you call. Also a lot of small businesses go to conferences where the products are for bigger business because we are the trusted advisors. Don’t ask me “Why I went to conference x” because I would have gone for a reason not just because it was something to do.

These are some of the frustrations that we have encountered when dealing with various vendors. Some vendors are great and respect our schedule and some don’t. If you are a vendor and you really want to make a good impression on a potential client or reseller do a little bit of homework before you can. You will get a lot further ahead if you have. You will always find vendors that understand their regions and potential clients and value them. Also, when you get that call during a time that isn’t good let the vendor know and why you are upset as this might be the only way they learn.

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