Sales, Sales, and Sales

Throughout my design career, I have met many people from different companies, Audio/Visual companies, lighting design firms, general contractors, or kitchen companies, during the initial contact, I always met the people who sounded very knowledgeable, they always presented themselves with great knowledge and also very persuasive. Their sales and marketing skills were excellent and always made the impression that they are trustworthy and professional.

However, after working with some of the companies for a while, I started to realize some issues occurred such as the things were not coordinated or followed up properly, and when the clients and I questioned about the issues, they always showed the great skill to calm you down and ensure everything will be fine with sweet, smooth, and very diplomatic talks, and when the clients and I finally realized the issues were more serious and complained to the owners of the businesses, then all over the sudden, those talkative people just disappeared, instead, the real knowledgeable people started to show up at the job site to solve the issues, and when I asked them why we had never been told about all these problems earlier by those sweet talkers from their companies? they basically said “Oh! He/She was just a sales, so he/she would not have known all these!” What?! a sales? I was very serious here about the issues, and the whole time I had been talking to a sales?!

I had to admit I got fooled few times like that, the people from certain companies I had dealt with were actually sales, but they talked so smoothly, I mistakenly thought they were the actual engineers or technical people, but the funny thing was, those real technical people and engineers usually were the people with few words.

Lesson learned: those who talk the most usually the ones know the least. When I hire anyone from now on, not only I want to know the company owner or the front man but the people who will actually do the work. Sometimes when some businesses are well-known, it is not because they are really good at what they do but because they are good at marketing. We must overcome this blind spot when hiring any professional.