Saw Guide Sales: Beware of these 4 tactics

POST DATE Mar 29, 2018


You wouldn’t BELIEVE what happened to me the other day. I’m still shaking my head. A customer called me up saying, “Udo, I just talked to a potential vendor who tried to sell me on their saw guides. He swore that they were state-of-the-art saw guides, the best in the industry—what do you think?” PLEASE.  If you know me, I’m sure you can imagine my response. While I love a good rant, this really blows my mind. But there was something about this conversation that struck me. It reminded me of a story (more like a cautionary tale) one of our salesmen told me years ago—a story that is both funny and not so funny. 

So, this salesman—let’s call him Bill—was out pounding the pavement and managed to get an appointment with the head saw filer/ QC person at a rural sawmill. Bill is an enthusiastic guy, to say the least. He sat down and do you know what he said? I’m still cringing. He said, “We make the best saw guides in the industry!” The crickets are still ringing in his ears. The saw filer just stared at him with a disgruntled look on his face before shooting back, “Yeah, you and the last hundred a**holes who walked through my door.” Now that’s what my customer should have said to that salesman!

When I heard this story, I roared with laughter. What reaction did he expect? We’ve all had salespeople walk through our doors and launch into a well-rehearsed speech proclaiming how amazing their products are. Have you ever bought into it? Yeah, me too. I’m still kicking myself. So when I say these products are sub-par at best, I know what I’m talking about. And let me tell you another thing—when it comes to saw guides, I know how to spot a doozie. 

So, how can you tell if the product a salesperson is pushing is “the best” or “overwhelmingly average”? Is their hair greasy? Are they smoking a cigar? Wearing a cheap suit? Wait. That’s all of them. So besides an excess of oil and musk, what are you looking for? Pay attention to these tell-tale signs:


1. Colour

Stop losing your mind when someone shows you a red, blue, or even a rainbow saw guide like it’s something special. It’s not. It’s an INFERIOR product. Period. Yes, it’s shiny and pretty, but—you know where I’m going with this don’t you?  

If a salesperson ever tells you they can sell you a quality coloured saw guide, hear my voice—have you got it? It’s calling bullsh*t. Coloured saw guides are indicative of an inferior anodizing process, and the only reason anyone uses this process is to cut costs, producing a CHEAPER, less durable saw guide. Red saw guide? Red flag. 


2. Price

The most telling sign that a product is overwhelmingly average is when the only thing a salesperson can leverage is price. Have you heard these colourful pitches? “This price won’t last long,” “but don’t you want to save money?” or my favourite, “at this price, we’ll be sold out by the end of the day.” Selling based on price alone is the clearest, sleaziest, most obvious sign that the salesperson doesn’t have confidence in the product they’re representing. They know it’s crap, so “I can get you a good deal!” and “We’re cheaper than the competition” are the only true statements they can dish out. Cue the used car salesmen speech! Are you picturing slicked back hair, gold teeth and a matching gold chain? Can you hear the spiel telling you that some junker is a good car and they can sell it to you for cheap? Yes, it’s that’s salesmen your parents told you about, and now I’m telling you—run the other way!


3. Special Descriptions

The market is pretty saturated. There is competition everywhere, so how does a manufacturer stand out? It seems like everyone is turning to “cool” descriptions, or as I like to them “meaningless marketing words.” You know the ones I’m talking about—empty, fancy-sounding words companies use to market a product when there is really nothing special about it. Do “Aerospace Grade,” “Military Grade,” “Extra Precision” and “State-of-the-Art” sound familiar? It’s well known that the Aerospace industry and the Military use almost all grades of aluminum, so newsflash: using fancy descriptive words doesn’t make the aluminum special. There is Precision or No Precision, so what the heck is Extra Precision? Meaningless marketing. And while we’re at it, throw state-of-the-art and cutting-edge in. You know I’m right. 


4. Lack of Technical Knowledge

This is the one that scares me the most. You go to order your saw guides and the vendor doesn’t ask you any technical questions, and if they ask you any, they’re simple and short. Questions a grade-schooler would ask you. If this doesn’t signal any alarm bells in your brain….well, maybe you’re book smart. 

A lack of technical knowledge relates to the first tell-tale sign I mentioned— it’s pretty much the same thing! They just want to sell you something cheap. They’re not looking to help you get the best product, and their lack of knowledge and masterful (yet empty) boasting contributes to poor productivity and even poorer products. 

I’m only scratching the surface here—there are way more than four tell-tale signs, but if you’re looking to spot the sh*t right away, these will do the trick. And they work for other products too—have you seen those Military Grade car commercials? Need I say more? I didn’t think so. 

So, what do you think? Want to share a story about your tell-tale signs or experience? I’d love to hear them. 

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