The Power of (Staples’) Tech Sales Reps – NO to McAfee and Symantec YES to it’s Own Brand

When a customer shops online, they often know what they want, read their own product reviews and make their own decisions. Offline, when shopping in a retail store for example, the influence and suggestions of the technical sales representative is powerful.

Staples offers several anti-virus (online security) products. Norton, McAfee and it’s own Staples branded anti-virus solution from Panda Software
A customer was recently in Staples looking for an anti-virus solution and the sales rep said, don’t buy McAfee, don’t buy Symantec but buy our brand. Why? Well, he answered our software is what the government uses (I guess he meant Panda’s anti-virus version) and it’s bundled with all of these features.
I’m sure, however, the Staples’ profit margin was much more selling the Panda version than Symantec or McAfee and that’s one reason I suspect that influenced the sales reps guidance.
Lessons learned: 1) Vendors when you sell retail remember to educate the local sales rep and give then incentives (Intuit does this well) 2) Customers although your local sales rep will often know about technology they might not have your BEST interest at hear.