RE: Vendor tricks (was Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool))

Subject: RE: Vendor tricks (was Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool))
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: Mike Stockman <mstockman -at- gmail -dot- com>, "techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 2010 12:23:48 -0400

Mike Stockman wisely observed:

> Changing topic slightly, I just just looked at HelpServer's
> site in response
> to this adformational post below, and I couldn't find any
> pricing. At a lot
> of companies, budgets are tight, and I don't like wasting a
> lot of time
> getting to know a product only to find that I can't get it
> approved because
> it's way out of my range.
> So in this case, I'm not even going to bother downloading the
> trial version
> of HelpServer; the feature set looks good, and I *am*
> shopping for a content
> management/publishing/collaboration tool, but it's *not*
> going to be any
> product for which general pricing information isn't readily available.
> My recent shopping has been mixed... maybe 3/4 of companies
> have pricing
> information, 1/4 don't, but that's a WAG. But making me email
> my data or
> call and go through formal introductions just to answer the
> question "What
> do you charge per seat?" makes me think working with the
> vendor will always
> be a struggle. Or am I being unreasonable?

If they accidentally act that way, there's a possibility
that future relations would be more open and forthcoming.

If they act that way as a matter of policy, then no...
the relationship has been defined from the outset at a
company level, and that's how they'll always treat you.

Think of snooty waiters at snooty restaurants - the food
might be great and the surroundings posh, but if you are
made to feel like a bumpkin or interloper, you won't
likely want to return. Or, if you want them to pretend
that they respect you, you can overtip, but all you are
renting is pretense.

Back at the vendor websites, if you are made to jump
throug silly hoops at the very outset, you have just
had all future relationships defined for you. That's
how they will always treat you. It's either policy or
the company culture. Either get used to it or find
some more congenial competitor.

Given how many very legitimate companies have no
problem posting their prices - including volume
discounts and instructions to call/e-mail for any
special situations not covered by the web page,
I have no patience for companies that guard their
prices like some secret treasure.

If they want to convey an atmosphere of haut-haut,
where the experience and the cachet of their
wonderfulness is what is important, and details
about vulgar money are to be relegated to lesser
mortals at some other time... well, they've just
informed me what I'm paying for, and it's not
the functional value of their product. It's air.
Hot air. I don't care if they used only the
finest and most exclusive electrons when composing
their software - I'm going to be running it on
very plain, ordinary, non-exclusive computers.

Actually, I'm not. I'm going to buy from somebody

Now, taking your digression to a further digression,
I'm reminded of a pet peeve of my own.

I can talk with people just fine - do it all the time,
in fact. But I'm not quick on my feet. I'm the classic
forehead slap ten minutes after the encounter "I shoulda
said..." "I forgot to ask..." I'm that dweeb in the
meeting who interrupts the current topic to ask about
something you thought was closed ten minutes ago.
Or, I write an e-mail later about it and you wonder
why I didn't just bring it up in the meeting -- well
that's because I didn't think of it until the meeting
had moved on and I didn't want to be that interrupting

I write for a living. I've been at it so long that I
basically think through my fingers on a keyboard.
While I'm writing one sentence, it's reminding me
about three more things to say or questions to ask.
I'll often stop in mid-sentence and jot some keywords
so that I don't lose those bright ideas or questions
while I go back and finish the original sentence-in-progress.

When I want to make some kind of progress in a
situation, or remember (or have a record of) what
was said by whom, then I prefer writing. As far as
I'm concerned, the spoken word is worth the paper
it is printed on. Which is to say, not much (possible
exception for court transcripts).

If I contact a company via e-mail, asking for
product/service details and price info, I want
them to reply in kind. I absolutely do NOT want
a "friendly", breezy reply telling me that they
got my message and will be ever-so-happy to talk
with me and answer any questions I might have,
and what number should they call, and when would
be the most convenient time?

I used e-mail, or your bloody-annoying web form,
in preference to picking up the phone, because
that's the kind of guy I am. I resent social
manipulation. Either it works and I feel pressured
and heaped with unwanted "obligation" to reciprocate
- all those little conversational 'concessions' that
sales people are trained to seek as they try 'close'
after 'close' after 'close' - or it doesn't work,
and I'm too busy inside my head sneering at your
ineptitude to pay attention to the few useful things
you might let slip. Because I used e-mail, you should
have the grace ... or the sales smarts ... to humor
me and reply in kind. You can keep providing your
phone number (it's in your damn 14-line sig), and
the fact that I keep ignoring it should tell you to
remain in e-mail where the [potential] customer
is more comfortable.

If YOU (Mr. or Ms Salesrep) are more comfortable
with the spoken word, and your patter and learned
technique are all geared toward that format, that
is really not my concern. Don't burden me with your
comfort zones - accomodate mine.
Give me bullet-point e-mail answers, or give me
extended e-mail explanations as to why the bullet-
point answers are not appropriate. Be as charming
and persuasive as you wish...... in writing.

And I absolutely don't want to be chatting with
somebody on their crackberry while they maneuver
Manhattan traffic or while they stand in line
for airport 'security'. Sit at your desk and
type. Or sit in your hotel-room and thumb the
crackberry keypad.

Make it look like you gave it some thought and
are taking me seriously. And don't give me
canned answers that should have been on your
website in the FAQs.

- K

The information contained in this electronic mail transmission
may be privileged and confidential, and therefore, protected
from disclosure. If you have received this communication in
error, please notify us immediately by replying to this
message and deleting it from your computer without copying
or disclosing it.


Use Doc-To-Help's XML-based editor, Microsoft Word, or HTML and
produce desktop, Web, or print deliverables. Just write (or import)
and Doc-To-Help does the rest. Free trial:

Explore CAREER options and paths related to Technical Writing,
learn to create SOFTWARE REQUIREMENTS documents, and
get tips on FUNCTIONAL SPECIFICATION best practices. Free at:

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Please move off-topic discussions to the Chat list, at:

Vendor tricks (was Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool)): From: Mike Stockman

Previous by Author: RE: The Ancestral Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan
Next by Author: RE: OFT: But close to Re: Another warning label for the recordbooks...
Previous by Thread: Re: Vendor tricks (was Which would you prefer and why? (Help Tool))
Next by Thread: A couple ways to supercharge Gmail

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads