I wake up every April’s Fool’s Day with a bit of a pit in my stomach. I am easily one of the most gullible people on earth. Although I am gullible, I do learn from my mistakes. So, every April Fool’s Day, I put a big sign on my computer: “Today is April Fool’s Day”.  
The sign reminds me to take everything in with a bit of caution, to slow down and digest before I react. By the time I am caught up in my day, I quickly forget that I am the ultimate target for what could be the best April Fool’s prank on record.  One of the things that makes me such a good target is that my co-workers are educated, they know me too well, they know what will get be going, and how I will likely react to whatever masterful plot they throw at me.  
As a decision maker for a restoration/remediation firm, you will be approached by a wide variety of opportunities in which you can buy or engage. Services, products, and equipment, there are a variety of things to sell you. The presenters are educated and know your touching points and they may even know how you will react. They know what problems you have and understand the industry. Being a good and educated sales person is by no means a bad thing, that is not what I"m saying at all, it simply makes the point that buyers should be cautious and thoughtful.    
Some of these products and services are good, some even great, some mediocre, and some maybe completely worthless. So how do you handle all this without missing a great opportunity?    
You may be one of the brightest in the industry and/or the savviest of a business person; however, when the right presentation comes along at just the right time, you could be vulnerable. The two areas that I believe we must be most cautious are the promise to increase sales and new products.  
So the next time you're approached by a new salesperson for a new product or service you've never heard of, and promise to increase your sales, take these items into consideration.
With the promise of increased sales:
  1. If it's too good to be true, it probably is. There are so many products, services, courses, and other types of propositions that will claim to increase your sales, get you leads, get the phone to ring, etc. When times are a bit slow, it is tempting to accept any opportunity to get more work. Always stop and ask yourself: is it really that easy? Many times, if something sounds too good to be true, it is. 
  2. Do your research: We are fortunate today to have a wealth of information available to us via the internet. Use it to investigate the “opportunity” to make certain it truly is an opportunity.  
  3. References: There is absolutely no shame in asking for references and actually calling them. Make sure you are getting what you think you are getting out of the relationship or deal.
  4. Ask around to industry friends: Restoration and remediation professionals will be happy to share thoughts and experiences with you.  
  5. Is it right for your company? There are really great opportunities, expertise, courses and more to assist you with growing your top line. Be sure to find the right things for you and your company and do your homework.  

With the promise of a "groundbreaking" new product:

  1. There is a constant stream of new products on the market.  Some are amazing and some are less than amazing.  
  2. Ask Questions: Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions about a new product. What kind of environment or surface did you do your efficacy testing?
  3. Read and Understand: Take the time to read and understand the chemistry and ingredients. Review the SDS on the product and take that into consideration.
  4. Ask for references and check with industry friends: The same concepts apply to new products; talk to other professionals. Speak to your long-term and trusted business partners and suppliers about the new product.
  5. Field Test: Ask to field test the new product.  
  6. Positive: Chemistry and technology are evolving at a rapid pace and we must stay current as professionals in our field. Those who embrace and stay on top of emerging technology gain a competitive edge.  
As restoration and remediation decision makers, we are presented with many opportunities. I encourage you to explore all the opportunities. Seriously, there are a lot of wonderful sales people in this industry who know their stuff and won't steer you wrong. No need to become a cynic, but it is best to proceed with caution and do your homework. As a decision maker, your organization, the careers of your staff, and your customers, depend on your prudence and caution.                       
A note from R&R Editor Michelle Blevins: There has been some recent concern about a possible bogus company targeting restoration companies. With just a little research, I located negative BBB reviews, concerning threads on an industry online messaging board, and other activity that could suggest this company perhaps not following through on its promises. So please, protect yourself and your company. Rely on industry publication, experts, business owners, and even the internet to check things out before jumping aboard a new bandwagon when something doesn't seem quite right.