Counter People At Security Distributors Dont Know IP?

Someone recently observed to me that "they have counter people that have been there 15-20 years and they just do not understand IT no matter how hard they try."

Agree/disagree?


Truthbomb: Long-time counter people aren't typically the sharpest or most ambitious folks around. Those people quickly move upwards and onwards to more engaging positions.

Unless they are truly exceptional human beings who are fulfilled by answering thousands of calls each day, with the majority of those being:

  1. price shoppers
  2. callers complaining about the high price,
  3. callers bitching about how long it takes to be shipped locally, or
  4. callers demanding to be taken off late payment hold because they 'spend tens of thousands of dollars' with your company each month.

[Disclosure: I have been all four, within the same phonecall before.]

"Truthbomb: Long-time counter people aren't typically the sharpest or most ambitious folks around. Those people quickly move upwards and onwards to more engaging positions."

This holds true in many fields, in fact. I remember a long and involved discussion on another forum regarding the competency of mechanics at most big chain shop (Sears, etc.), and the general consensus there was similar: those who are really good at their jobs tend to move on to either higher-end shops, or start their own shops, leaving behind the rookies, and those who long ago succumbed to the Peter Principle.

As much as I like the counter people at my local distributor, I would never count on them for technical advice. I may occasionally ask "what sells often?" but I still do my own research, or if they have, talk to their support group.

Technology is evolving so fast that the classic legitimacy that experience has lent to an individual is no longer applicable in this field.

Additionally, 20 years ago TCP/IP networking skills were not nearly as prevalent in early education. Now you're useless troubleshooting a current gen CCTV system without them. So if you've not been agile enough to educate yourself, you're SOL.

"Technology is evolving so fast that the classic legitimacy that experience has lent to an individual is no longer applicable in this field."

+1 to this comment. This is the challenge across so many technology fields. Knowledge depreciates so quickly that if you are not continuously learning, the value of past skills/expertise compared to today's ones, is incredibly low.

I'm not sure about the lenght of time worked, but I do tend to agree that they typically present as not knowing very much. Or, it could be they don't like being helpful. Regardless, you would think these counter folks would be up to speed on the technology to keep you, the customer, well informed while at the same time making the "up-sell" to you to pass along to your customer.

Even with rapidly changing technology put aside, there should be at least a modest attempt made to keep up with the installers/integrators knowledge for the purpose of selling more or different items. And while we're on the subject, the online ordering is atrocious and labour intensive! Unless you know exactly what you want each and every time, trying to dicipher the online ordering system is insane. I usually waste a great deal of time before I shoot an email off or pick up the phone and call for a price quote. Sorry, my whine of the day.

How much does a counter person at ADI, etc. make? Roughly speaking? $15 an hour? $20? More?

I suspect that's also a factor. You can't expect to attract and keep very ambitious people or even people who are willing to study on their own unless the pay (or potential) is significant enough.

Also, I am looking at ADI's job openings and almost none of the sales positions require education beyond a high school diploma/GED. Beyond that, experience of 6 months to 2 years 'sales or technical experience'. Those are pretty light requirements.

i think you can only rely on the counter people so much and the rest is up to your individual company... after all you are the ones installing the final product and working with the customer they won't care if you tell them that the counter people gave you the wrong equipment... in regards to surveillance we don't purchase hardly anything from our distributors but that doesn't stop them from trying to sell to us... when we talk to them about ip surveillance they are extremely hesitant to discuss i believe because it is unfamiliar territory... i have referred several of them to this site so they can learn more... i whole heartedly agree with the above statements regarding training and education... you dare not sit latent in our industry long or you will get left behind...