I must admit, being HOD/ICT for more than 5 years, I gained a fair bit of experience, in dealing with vendors. Yes, also came across a wide range - greenhorns as well as er... :P
Realised something - as I wear different shoes, what I say does matter, at least something just I realised.
In school, the vendor will try to sell the item/service by citing how other schools have been using it, what impact it has generate, and lots and lots of FOC services being offered. So, we're also at a position to ask lots of information, how other schools are using the item/service, how they manage the resources as well. Vendors have somehow become our info media - to transfer the info.
Being at HQ, I realised vendors may see us differently. They are talking to someone from HQ... probably someone who's going to give them some indication what's going to take place in the school! In fact, there are a few things all of us should observe:
1. Do not do comparison of products in front of vendors, when possible
2. Do not upfront comment the product they just demonstrated the use is a better one. Avoid being quote - I think is very important.
3. Do not say "I would recommend..." - beware that they may take that as an endorsement!
4. Do not say something that one is not sure and it is not reflective of the actual situation in the schools (-at-large) - it misleads or in fact, if the vendor knows the market well, what does that tell about you?
5. Forget about the school we come from! And forget how 'disadvantaged' one was while in the school. Because this notions distracts!