What has happened to our beloved plastics industry? Credibility, accountability, and professionalism, are words you only find in the dictionary or in a Trivial Pursuit game, nowadays. They have no meaning when it comes to discussing an application with a potential buyer, particularly when auxiliary equipment is involved.
Knowledgeable and technically savvy salespeople have long since given way to the inexperienced salesman who sells strictly on price. Typically these people ask the customer, “What has my competition quoted?” and respond with, “We have that, too, but at a lower price,” even though what they're offering might be more expensive and not exactly suited for the application. These types are, sad to say, rampant throughout our industry.
Unfortunately, some customers have bought into this tactic as well. They know they can ask several suppliers to quote an application and take what they have learned back to their current vendor and say “make this for me at this price.”
Suppliers are reluctant to redesign their equipment, but they do so in order to consummate the sale, with the hope that many more of the machines will be purchased so they can capture the loss on the prototype — which rarely happens, if at all.
Auxiliary equipment buyers here in the United States should take a lesson from their peers around the world. These buyers give their potential vendor one opportunity to quote and then make their decision. They keep the information they have gathered confidential, because they still are credible, and accountable, and professional.
For those buyers who consider a supplier's proposal “open game,” it will come back to haunt them, because the remaining few knowledgeable people who submit proposals will begin to invoice them for consulting fees, or reject the proposal request altogether.
The “me-too” approach to selling, not found in many Sales 101 courses, is doing all of us a disservice.