Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Skip the Middleman

Before I get started, let me explain that in the post title, Skip refers to the verb part of speech, as in 'omit', not some yuppie weenie with a 3-series BMW.

Several years ago I had a very good job selling software. Decent base salary, good commissions, occasional travel to tradeshows in interesting cities: New Orleans, Los Angeles, Orlando, Las Vegas, Atlanta. Not Peoria or Schenectady. Although Kansas City was kind of scary, and Minneapolis was on the cusp.

Anyway, while I worked there, the company was sold to an out-of-state, up-and-coming dot.com concern flush with cash from irrationally exuberant venture capitalists. In the deal, we got a new sales manager. Terry was his name, probably drove a 3-series BMW. He supposedly had an MBA, had held some very high-powered sales management jobs, and I think he was a member of the Management Book of the Month Club. But, as my Dad might say, the guy couldn't pour piss from a boot with directions on the heel.

Nonetheless, one of the books we were required to read was Selling to VITO. Despite the seeming intrigue of Mafiosi, and being authored by a guy named Anthony, the basic premise was that, in sales, you should forgo large expenditures of time and resources with low-level functionaries in your prospect's organization, and instead go straight to the [Very Important Top Officer] decision maker.

Simple enough concept to understand.

Business and work can be a lot like the schoolyard. There's bookworms and slackers, jocks, stoners, band nerds, drama queens, goat-ropers, and freaks.

And bullies.

And if you find yourself being tormented by a bully, you could go to your BFF, or maybe the room monitor, or the teacher. Unless of course, the teacher is your tormentor.

But, the lesson from Selling to VITO seems clear here: Don't screw around with low-level administrators, bureaucrats, and dipsticks. Don't even waste your time in the Principal's office.

Go straight to the Superintendent or School Board President, and blow the problem right out of the water.


Anonymous said...

There's the whole chain of command argument that the school superintendant slaps you in the face with. you get a deaf ear if you don't follow the "proper " channels.

sometimes the whole system is part of the problem!


todd said...

You're right, Dew. So, until we graduate what do we do? It doesn't seem to matter what the teacher does when the principal and supe all support her.

Anonymous said...

How about a friendly call to Channel 5 to go ask the Mayor if she knows what's going on in her school system?

todd said...

Sometimes the school board actually comes to your school to talk about it!