Trust Me! Does That Put You On High Alert Like Me?

When someone says “trust me” my radar goes off.  “I don’t know how it works, but “trust me” it’s better than anything you can imagine.” Those words take me to that place where I think that they don’t know for sure what they are talking about and are trying to sell me on the idea they’ve given me. So how do you address the “trust me” responses you get?

Asking for details. If it’s a process, ask for the recorded limits that have been done. For our industry, it may involve time to complete a project, length of liner ever completed, does the process meet all of the industry standards, or what is my final “out the door” costs? Many of these questions will help you determine everything you need to know. For example, I’ve been told a lining system could complete a job in an hour! Wow, that sounds pretty fast, but in examining the details, the vendor was talking about with everything on site, line opened and cleaned, and someone to standby while the liner cured, his hour was actually too long for the amount of work he should complete with all of those other things done. Educate yourself before listening to the sales pitch. The more you know, the better your odds of being able to flesh out the BS.

Another example of “trust me” involved the length of liner ever completed. Another vendor that the guy could easily line 400′ of line with his system. So when the customer bought the system and it was delivered, they found the 400′ shot had to be divided up into 3 individual shots to complete the work. So in one respect, the vendor was correct, he could line 400′ of pipe. The customer thought all in one shot, but the vendor left out the part that his equipment could only hold 160′ of material at a time. It was costly for both the vendor and the customer. The customer tied up a crew and equipment and didn’t get any work done. The vendor lost out because the equipment and materials were returned.

Linoleum Calibration

Another “trust me” moment comes when asked it the process a vendor was selling met industry standards. He said absolutely it met the standards. The omission here was about the part that if the customer modified the equipment to meet the standard, then it would meet it. He provided a linoleum roller and no vacuum pump for vacuum impregnation as the ASTM industry standard called for. So buying a linoleum roller could spread the resin in a tube, leave air bubbles in the “wetted out” tube, and not meet the specifications the industry has adopted left the customer to find out that on his own. So why did the vendor offer a linoleum roller? To be competitively priced, he couldn’t afford to offer a calibration roller and vacuum pump and be competitive in the market place.

The final example I’ll relate is the final costs to get the process to me. Another customer got a price quote for equipment and material. When he asked if all the costs were included he was assured with the “trust me”, you have everything you need included”. He was right that all the equipment and materials were included in his quote, but his quote left off a couple of things. Training – extra, freight – extra, set up – extra, and sales tax – extra. When the customer got his equipment delivered he ended up with extra charges that were over $5,000 from the “all in quote” he’d originally received. When he called the vendor to get clarity, they told him they had no control over the government tax issue and that no one could expect the freight company to deliver for free. When asked about training, he was offered several options. The option on his invoice required him to fly across the country to their training facility for several days at their facility and did not include airfare, hotel, meals or local transportation that he’d have to pay. If he wanted them them to train him on his site, they’d have an up charge from their “in house” training price. The final straw was what about the “set up” fee. The response was “you’d surely want the equipment assembled by us to insure that everything worked properly. We could send the unassembled equipment, but you’d have to get special tools to put it all together as many pieces were speciality parts that can only be assembled with our speciality tools.

What we’ve learned today is the “trust me” statement may send a red flag that needs a little more clarification before proceeding.