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Tips for getting samples of materials

  1. Dec 29, 2011 #1
    If you are a student, or a budding entrepreneur, your R&D budget may be limited.
    But it is during this time that getting your hands on material is most important!
    I've had some success with (what is basically) e-begging so I'm sharing my strategies with anyone that can make use of them

    1) be honest ("Engineers shall act in such a manner as to uphold and enhance the honor, integrity, and dignity of the engineering profession")

    2) Know (more or less) what you want, and what you plan to do with it.

    3) Do your research. Now that you have an idea of what you want, you can look for manufacturers (NOT distributors/resellers/etc) of the product. This is where your google-fu must be strong.
    things to find out before asking for stuff (write it down if you have to)
    the name (brand name, if possible) of what you want
    the size of the product
    the corresponding serial number
    the customer service email
    if you can, the name of the C.S. representative you're trying to contact

    4) be respectful, courteous, and CONCISE- these are businesses that you're talking to. one person may be dealing with dozens of emails a day.


    hope this helps!
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2011 #2
    I've always had more luck actually talking to people. Being personable is becoming a lost art, but most representatives try to be helpful once they feel some bond with you or your work.
  4. Jan 2, 2012 #3
    care to elaborate on your response?

    as an INTJ, it's hard for me to relate to establish "bonds" with people. i would much rather work on the platform of professional respect.
    i imagine there are a lot of INTJs in engineering, but I have a feeling that when you contact the customer service department, you'll be talking to an HR drone- basically the antithesis of an INTJ.
  5. Jan 3, 2012 #4
    Worst thing anyone can ever do is take one of those bloody stupid tests. Put yourself if a nice little box and say 'sorry can't do this' it's not in my nature.

    I don't like phone calls to people I don't know, but becomes easy after you just get on with it. It's fairly amazing how quickly stuff gets done after a single phone call vs email tennis.
  6. Jan 3, 2012 #5
    the worst thing is to take the test to heart without any self evaluation. since I am able to think for myself, I used it as a tool to be more aware of my strengths and weaknesses.
    but let's get back on topic-

    would you care to share an example script, or prompts for what to say on the phone?
  7. Jan 4, 2012 #6
    A script? Bit odd as there isn't a one sized fits all approach to getting free stuff.

    What you are after.
    Elaboration <if necessary>.
    Contact information.

    Basically exactly the same as what you put in the email. The only thing you have to do is not sound miserable or monotone, a jolly but professional tone is best.

    I'd also never say 'I only need x' in an opening mail/call. The word 'only' trivialises the request, and approaching numbers may put people off if it's more than they are willing to give.
    Just work out if they are willing to help, then approach the quantities later. Getting less than you want is better than getting none of what you need, especially if its free.
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