A local Special Effects "wannabe" walked through our doors this afternoon with "a new product" that he wanted us to distribute. Before telling us anything about his product he told us we had to sign a 3-page non-disclosure agreement. Next, after we told him what we though of his NDA agreement, he told us his new product was a "peel and stick" pyro product that was still in beta testing. Then he told us he was going around to local special effects technicians to try and sell the "new product".
While we admire initiative, this guy qualifies for today's "SILLY HAT AWARD" for making the worst sales call that we have ever experienced . . . on behalf of a product that he couldn't discuss . . . that he didn't have a sample of . . . that was not market ready . . . and to top it off, he couldn't tell us how much he wanted for his product!
While we respect the company he works for, this guy made some really BIG mistakes today:
1) No business owner is going to take time out of a busy day to read some legal document handed to them by some guy that just happens to walk through the door unannounced, flogging a product that he is not willing to discuss.
2) Demanding that an NDA be signed before telling us WHY we would be interested in what he had to say is just downright stupid. Insisting that we sign the NDA implies he thinks we will steal his product.
3) Telling us that he was going direct to our customers with his new product then expect us to be interested in distributing it is also downright stupid . . . Why on earth would we stock a product that a manufacturer was selling directly to our customers?
4) Approaching us with an unproven pyro product "in beta testing" is not just stupid, it is dangerous, and it would be pretty dumb for us to even allow such a thing as an unproven, unregulated, unlicenesed pyro product into our building . . . but no worries in this case, because the guy making the "sales" pitch didn't even have a sample of the product with him!
5) Finally, he had no idea that the Federal explosives regulations were in the process of being changed, and the likelihood of his "beta product" complying with the proposed new regulations would likely be remote.
We distribute more than 6,000 sku's, and sell millions of dollars of product to customers in 46 countries around the world every year. Most of those sku's are made by the world's pre-eminent special effects manufacturers. Those manufacturers do business with us becuase they know that our ethical business practices and commitment to both service and quality are unequalled . . . AND because we always pay our bills on time.
Customers trust us to ensure that the products we sell are always of the highest quality . . . that they are safe . . . and that they meet all regulations prescribed by any regulatory body having jurisdiction. We would NEVER market a product that was unproven, and potentially unsafe, or manufactured by a hit-or-miss startup company that was represented by unprofessional people.
We do respect and admire initiative, and if approached, we are always willing to listen and offer direct honest feedback . . . even though most people cannot handle direct or honest criticism . . . but after 44 years in business if you are planning on walking through our front door, asking for our time, with the assumption that we are somehow going to cheat you, or steal your idea, then you probably should not be walking through our door. That is just not how we do business in this company.
Over the years many of our customers have come to us with their new business and product ideas, and we have always been open to listen, and willing to offer constructive feedback. However, if the first thing you do when you walk through our doors is to insult us, if you are not prepared, and you waste our time, you are not going to get a warm and fuzzy welcome from us. We run a serious business serving serious professionals with serious special effects products and do not suffer fools lightly.
The bottom line is that we told the gentleman, honestly, directly, and in no uncertain terms, that he and his product were "not ready for market" and wished him well with his mysterious new product . . . a product that experienced professional pyrotechnicians would likely never be interested in . . . a product that might not be safe to use . . . a product that will possibly never see the light of day.