How Should I Deal With Sales Representatives?
Since they are a valuable source of information, you are encouraged to seek information from them about their products and services. Please keep Purchasing informed of your future needs so that we can assist you in locating suppliers and developing purchasing schedules. To help you in dealing with suppliers, we offer the following suggestions:
a) Whenever possible, contact more than one supplier. The more alternatives you consider, the more likely your final decision will better suit your needs.
b) Provide the same information to all suppliers that you contact for your specific need. New York State laws give every supplier an equal opportunity to compete for your business.
c) Look at the total cost of ownership (e.g., maintenance, operating costs, useful life, etc.).
d) Remember, that in accordance with the NYS Public Officers Law, you are prohibited from accepting gifts or payments from suppliers.
e) Ask for product demonstrations. Most suppliers will be happy to comply.
f) Utilize the skills and knowledge of the suppliers to identify product capabilities. Specifications should be based on performance. What do you want the product or service to do?
g) If the sales representative asks you to sign a contract, order, or letter of intent, refuse to do so. Refer the representative to Purchasing. Since all contractual terms and conditions have to be approved by the Vice President for Administration, you are protecting yourself and the college.
h) Once you decide on the product or service, start the purchasing process. Keep in mind the purchasing limits and requirements noted in What are the limits of purchases?.