Great article by Dan Tynan in InfoWorld about the 6 dirty tricks that vendors pull in selling IT to customers. While I agree with most of these and will comment on them in minute, let me also say that as PT Barnum said, there is sucker born every minute. Rather than blaming the sales guy or the vendor, buyers need to smarten up and fly straight. Fool them once shame on you, fool them twice shame on them. Anyway here are the top 6 dirty deeds done dirt cheap according to Tynan:
- Dirty vendor trick No. 1: The magic demo – We have all seen or heard this one before. The demo that makes the product look like it was made for you. Usually this is because it was made for you. Frankly I like to see a demo on a live system and let me click around if I want to. Personally I very rarely let a sales guy get beyond the first slide before I take the presentation where I want it to go. But if you are going to sit there like a lamb being led to slaughter, well you get what you deserve. Question, question, question!
- Dirty vendor trick No. 2: Underbid, then overcharge – Oh I hate this one! If the price is too good to be true, it usually is. There is nothing free in life. It amazes me how many people think they are going to get something for so much less than makes sense and then are surprised when the vendor sticks it to them. One of the things we do at StillSecure is a full SOW on any services and full schedule of maintenance and upgrades that are included. Frankly as a vendor I hate surprises too.
- Dirty vendor trick No. 3: The customer headlock – I call this one the “Cisco Maneuver”. You know the story come in with your own people on site, own the network, make them totally dependant on your people to run the network. Oh while you are at it, turn on as many proprietary technologies as possible. Make it damn near impossible besides cost prohibitive to even think about switching vendors. Yeah, also give away one part like the NAC stuff for free to sell more switches and ACS radius servers. You have never seen a vendor do that before have you?
- Dirty vendor trick No. 4: The billing "mistake" – You have seen this one. I go over all my bills with a magnifying glass. It amazes me how many big companies make mistake, after mistake. But that is only half the story. How about the practice of reserving the right to boost yearly maintenance by more than the agreed %. Look at the fine print of your renewals. You will see the vendor usually has the right to a 5 to 10% variance over the agreed to maintenance %. I think it is just slimy and hate it. But again you should be responsible enough to go through your own bills.
- Dirty vendor trick No. 5: The forced upgrade march – Another one that gets me going. Why is it within three months of buying the product the new version is out. Worse yet is when the vendor says they will only support the new version, so you can use the old version at your own risk and good luck to you. At StillSecure all upgrades and updates are included while you are under maintenance. But certain network hardware vendors love to pull this one.
- Dirty vendor trick No. 6: The clueless customer – More accurate is the divided customer Sales folks and vendors are very good at figuring out who to play against who and who signs the checks. Playing factions off against each other is a way to slip a quick one in.
With all of these though, the you can fool some of the people some of the time but not all of the people all of the time rule applies. Sooner or later people wise up. But until they do, these dirty tricks will get you if you are not vigilant. So in honor of dirty tricks done dirt cheap, I give you some AC/DC: