Friday, February 5, 2010

Myth #2 - The PI buys your product

Postdocs, grad students, and technicians use your products not the PI.  This is true whether you sell $400 antibodies or $300,000 microscopes. The PI might pay for it and approve it, but the end users will ultimately get you the sale.

Earlier I wrote about the myth of the lab manager, today I will attempt to dispel the myth of the PI.

Let me give a you a real life example from my lab that happened recently.  We have an extremely talented post-doc Ding Xu that realized we desperately needed a new HPLC to add some critical newly published techniques in our field. HPLCs are not cheap and would probably qualify as a capital purchase for most labs.  At the very least they would garner their own line item in a RO1 grant.  Ding talked about HPLCs incessantly at lab meeting and cornered our PI often to discuss.  He researched HPLCs, contacted companies to bring in demos, and showed the lab and our PI how powerful these new techniques could be.

We ultimately purchased a new HPLC from Biorad, which our PI signed off on, but it was Ding that made the sale for the rep.  The post-doc that actually used the product.

Thus the myth of the PI buying products. In very few incidences will the PI be the linchpin that gets you the sale even for capital products.  Convince the postdocs, grad students, and technicians and you win.

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