Are you purchasing exactly what you want, or being sold what someone wants to sell?

This article is a continuation of the article, Be a Better Buyer, in which we encouraged purchasers to be more discriminating and to demand more from their suppliers, more than just a better price. Upon further review, we’d like to add some additional perspective.


Have you noticed or succumbed to these “buy today incentives”? If you buy now we will include an additional this, that and the other; at no additional cost; an additional 3-figure value! Blah, blah, blah.

Thanks very much but, I prefer to keep quality separate from quantity. More is not better and in some cases it is worse. As a buyer, I prefer to buy just and only what I want, exactly what I want. Keep all the other stuff and instead, perhaps you could reduce my price?

Quality is performing as expected with minimal interruption, for a reasonable time period and at a reasonable price. And if for some reason it falters, the repair and return to form, is prompt and perhaps free?


Most W-2 employed sales reps are “captive” and they have a conflict of interest. They are paid to sell the product their employer builds and sometimes this payment is all or mostly commission.

Here’s the conflict — is the sales rep promising their machine is best for you because it really is best for you … or best for them? … or maybe for both?

Wells Fargo had an issue recently with their performance review process and compensation plan causing some of their people to sell some products and services that were best for the sales reps and for Wells but not so much for their clients.

And though I believe and want to believe that 99% of all sales people are honest and reputable, I also know it is very difficult to identify the 1% who are not.

This is the conflict that exists with “captive sales reps” – reps who can sell only their product line.

The other type of rep is the independent supplier – the company that represents a variety of products and services. They are sometimes called brokers or manufacturers reps or distributors.

These reps can be conflicted as well, but they have a larger array of products and services from different manufacturers so they at least have the opportunity to be an advocate for their customer. They can provide options and work with the customer to compare and contrast and choose the best option. They can fit the product to the client rather than fitting the client to the product.

Sometimes these independent reps are referred to as “middle men”, but in today’s profit hungry markets, might there be a place for these reputable people who know their industry and products inside and out; and who can ally with the customer to perform the due diligence to choose and select the best of all possible options?


The Apple company is a great example of a business that keeps moving us forward into new worlds and ideas. We almost immediately equate Apple with innovation and we are becoming more convinced of their foresight. More and more of us believe what Apple says is the next must-have device.

Innovation is not exclusively Apple. There are many innovations being introduced and launched every day and in your industry too. Every day, advancements are being made. And though they are usually captured and shared on line somewhere, unless you are looking for them, they may miss your notice.

There is value in having a relationship with an “independent supplier” who specializes in your business, and your equipment. They can be an extra set of eyes and ears to be alert for these new developments. And they have the time to study and even test these new ideas.

Though you can and do keep up with your industry and your business. You may read the trade journals and get updates on new ideas and new developments. And you can always start “googling” when the need arises. But when it comes time to consider new (or used) equipment, you might want to include an “independent supplier” as part of your research and due diligence.

As you specialize in your business, so do they in theirs.


Steve Gatter is an advocate and adviser to small business owners. His website is