Being involved in technical sales, it’s easy to forget that the specialized vocabulary I use every day is gibberish to many people.  At Van Air Systems we casually toss around phrases like pressure dew point, compression ratio, and molecular weight.

When speaking to a customer who might not be an expert in compressed air and gas treatment, it’s wise to step back and explain technical concepts in layman’s terms.  As a rule, there’s no such thing as a dumb question.

And yet every rule has exceptions.  I dug through the archives and came up with the top 10 such exceptions.  I hope you get a chuckle from these questions that, yes, I was really asked.

Number Ten

Customer: I have a regenerative desiccant air dryer from [competitive brand] and they no longer make parts?  Does Van Air Systems have these parts in stock?

Me: No, unfortunately we don’t.

What I really thought: Apart from desiccant and some filter elements, there are very few common parts used from dryer company to dryer company.  It’s like going to your GM dealer and asking for Yugo parts.

Number Nine

Customer: I need price and availability on a refrigerated dryer.

Me: We no longer offer refrigerated dryers.

Customer: But can I still get one from you?

Number Eight

Customer: Is that your industrial price?

Number Seven

Me: That’s the list price.  You get a 10% discount.

Customer: So how much will it cost me?

Number Six

Me: That air dryer is in stock.

Customer: Great, what’s the availability?

Number Five

Pasted verbatim and in entirety from an email: “hi can I please have a pricxe and avail;ability on element.”

Number Four

Customer email: I need price and availability on the following, see attached drawing.

[There’s no attachment; we’ve all done this one.]

Number Three

Paraphrasing an emailed RFQ: We currently do not have a specification for the system.  We don’t yet know the operating pressure, temperature, or flow rate.  With your years of experience, can you estimate what the dryer will cost?

Actually, this type of inquiry comes in quite a bit.  Usually it occurs when a non-technical person is asked to write a budget for air system equipment.  We always need to know the pressure, temperature, flow rate, and dew point requirement to begin discussing an appropriate dryer choice.

Number Two

Customer: What’s a phone number where I can reach you?

Me: 800-840-9906  [I said this trying tactfully not to skip a beat, because he’d called me.]

Number One

Customer: How much does the fifty pound bag of desiccant weigh?

Don't misunderstand - we love our customers, and we work hard to make sure they feel the same way about us.  That doesn't mean we can't sometimes laugh a little, right?

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