The Two Traits of Good Vendor Reps

Let’s talk partnering today.

As I’m sure you know, technology solutions for training are multiplying almost monthly. New vendors are appearing almost as fast, along with countless new products and services.

No one can keep up with it all. Reading the training journals and finding knowledgeable people among the many vendors who are trying to sell you something are the best ways to fill in your own knowledge gaps.

So what should you be looking for in a vendor’s representative? Two major traits.

First in importance is recognizing the individual who seems to care about your challenges. Does that person listen, or does she talk incessantly about her own company and its products? Does he know your industry? Does he understand the process that your company uses to achieve success? In other words, is the focus of the conversation on you and your challenges or is it on him and his interest in “closing” you?

Close behind in importance is the vendor representative who understands the benefits of her product or service that specifically helps you meet your training challenge. If she doesn’t tailor her pitch to your needs, she either isn’t listening or she doesn’t understand.

Be wary of the salesperson who recites all the features and benefits of his product as that will be a real tipoff that his knowledge level is only skin deep. He really can’t help you and his lack of true understanding will probably be reflected in insufficient support after the sale.

Once you find a sales representative you can trust and respect, do your best to partner with him. The ultimate benefit is a two way street that benefits both of you. The more you support his efforts, the more service you will get – and the more success you’ll both achieve.

— Bill Walton, Founder of ITC Learning