Putting lunch before business
I love celebrating a completed media buy with a sales rep over a nice meal and good conversation. It is a definite a perk of the job. On the other hand, I almost never go to rep lunches before the deal is completed.
Please don't ask me to lunch while we are negotiating. It feels inappropriate having business on the table figuratively while we are literally at the table. Not all buyers agree with me, but I would like to believe that the really good ones do.
Offering to buy me clothing
This might be the most controversial of all the mistakes I have identified. Sellers naturally want to impress buyers and create a good relationship. However, sellers sometimes offer inappropriate gifts, such as new shoes or jeans, to buyers they hardly know.
I am not saying this is ethically wrong; however, I think it can cheapen the buyer-seller relationship. It has always made me uncomfortable to accept gifts from vendors with whom I don't already have a good relationship. Certainly if I haven't already done business with them, I would never accept such an offer. There is a fine line between a thank-you gift and begging for business. Indeed, so many salespeople use this tactic that some buyers cannot remember who bought what for them. Unless the activity furthers the relationship in a meaningful way, I would recommend against it.
Andrew Ettinger works in digital media planning and buying in New York.
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"Pick or choose me" image via Shutterstock.