Thursday, October 11, 2007

How not to sell market research

I couldn't believe this one when I saw it. My superior at Comcast is responsible for millions of dollars of market research budget allocation. He's someone I've known and respected in business for about 15 years now.

Recently, a marketing research vendor with whom we're not currently working got about 10 minutes of our time on the telephone. My boss informed them that any business that seeks to win a new spot on our Approved Vendors list had to complete a request for information, after which they may be invited to sign a non-disclosure agreement and a general services contract. Apparently that was too much to ask for this particular researcher, who replied by e-mail with:

Thanks for the time, but truthfully, you're not interested and you'll be a waste of my time. I'm sure Comcast will continue to be successful simply based on the cable component. It won't be based on your consumer research and product offerings that you'll bring to the table.

Wow. Thanks for your pro bono analysis of our company's market position, delivered with such grace and politeness. Glad we won't be working together! I'm going to spare from public identification this individual and his firm. If you're dying to know who it was, you can contact me privately by e-mail.

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At 11:02 AM, October 12, 2007, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 11:31 AM, October 12, 2007, Blogger Gregory Kohs said...

Above comment removed, being that the unsolicited site being promoted has the following policy for use:

If you provide (SITE) with an email address that will result in any messages (SITE) may send you being sent to you via a network or device operated or owned by a third party...

No thanks. Not on this blog.

At 6:06 PM, October 14, 2007, Anonymous Paul Banas said...

Glad to see you're back and posting. I agree that a market research supplier that sends a note like that isn't worth your time of day. I don't think there is a major research client out there that doesn't demand some form of written accountability from their business partners. It's good to know there are plenty of fish in the research supplier sea.

Paul Banas, blogging at

At 12:11 AM, January 23, 2008, Blogger Laura Mandala said...

I've seen the unfortunate trend of research firms hiring sales people to sell research methodologies of which they often know very little. (At the same time, we researchers aren't always the best at selling. It's a rare breed who can "sell" research to another researcher.)

Researchers on the client side are looking for people they respect and trust, who can help them think through the issues, develop creative and sound solutions, and help communicate the results and implications to their internal clients.

We usually don't find people like that from a "cold" call. I suggest that research firms train their researchers to "sell" rather than teaching research to a sales person.

Also, to enhance sales, I would recommend researchers on the supplier side join professional associations and Industry groups to which their prospective clients belong. Not only does it increase the common base of knowledge you have about their industry, it enables you to establish the relationship and credibility which are critical building blocks in the sales of research services.

At 3:51 PM, October 27, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

someone wrote an article in Quirk's on the mistakes market research suppliers make when they try to pitch potential clients - not as egregious as this - but a helpful article

At 5:47 AM, July 06, 2009, Anonymous Messi said...

While people may have different views still good things should always be appreciated. Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

At 4:39 PM, November 11, 2009, Blogger Ismael Ahmed said...

Greg, thanks for posting. Looks like you caught that guy having a bad day. Still, he should've been more respectful and realize a.) you blog b.) it's good business because who knows who reads this. I'm sure he doesn't want that to get back to him. Not good customer service or salesmanship.

Keep writing!


At 10:32 AM, February 24, 2010, Anonymous Keerthi said...

Thanks Greg and others with comments sharing how and how nots - Can we have more on this please?

At 8:58 AM, July 15, 2014, Blogger yuvraj kewate said...

wow, that was a shocker. I cant believe people still have this casual and unprofessional approach to business. I am glad you guys didn't worked with them.



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