Salespeople Provide Market InformationDate: 03/01/2019
Purchasing managers and buyers frequently obtain valuable market information from salespeople. Even when the salespeople don’t volunteer any information, they offer clues about the market, and the industry they represent in addition to information about particular suppliers.
Sometimes you need to ask, but once the salesperson begins to tell you news, they go on to give details that can be very useful in making buying decisions. A talkative salesperson may repeat a rumor about another supplier that is having financial troubles or is reported to be going out of business. Don’t take this information lightly, although you are wise to confirm it with other suppliers or ask the mentioned supplier if their is any possibility that the rumor is true. In other words, take whatever you are being told seriously even though you are still skeptical of the information you receive from any source.
All kinds of information can be learned from salespeople. You may learn about legal problems that a supplier has regarding a product that caused an injury. You may learn about labor problems that may disrupt deliveries of the product you buy. You certainly would like to know of any government action that would curtail supply. That could include a prohibition against the use of a certain chemical or the discussions of imposing a tariff on the products you buy.
Although some salespeople are reluctant to discuss problems that competitors have, others are more than willing to do so. Many are more willing to talk about a competitor or the market when they are asked a direct question by a buyer. And it can be very revealing when the salesperson refuses to answer when asked a particular question.
Just remember to verify the information you receive. Be aware that a salesperson has an interest in providing the information that he wants you to know and that is in his best interest.