After reading Greg Ferro’s ( @etherealmind ) hilarious blog on fashion tips, I thought I would add my own experience and put together 5 rules for Account Executives ( aka. Sales Guys ) to follow when helping their SE’s ( aka. the brains ) to do put their best foot forward. Part of your job as our handler is to make sure that you mitigate the little eccentricities that get in the way of the dashing brilliance that we unleash in each and every meeting you bring us into.
So without further delay…
We SE’s have lived a hard live. Although we were blessed with an natural intelligence and an uncanny wit, our ability to understand networking mostly comes from our childhood experience playing with our imaginary friends.
We don’t dress like this on purpose. We really don’t get that certain colours don’t go together, or that comic book camera ties are never, ever, EVER appropriate. (unless your son or daughter buys you one and INSISTS you were it the whole day!) If you make fun of us, we won’t like you. If we don’t like you. We won’t work for you. Keep that in mind.
We are the brains, and if you don’t treat us nicely, there may suddenly be a lot of dead air after you introduce us at the beginning of the meeting. Or even worse, you might find that the only service you get is SAaaS. Smart Ass as a Service.
Advice your SE on body appropriate attire.
SE’s are a special breed, and we don’t always get that certain clothes don’t belong on certain people. Depending on how bad your SE suffers from lack of fashion, you may be able to give him some small tips, or you may have to take him shopping. Once he understands that his lack of style is working against him, he will let you dress him in a too-too if he thinks this will help make his point heard!
The best example of this happened a few years back. We had an manufacturer come in to present to my SE team on their product. This guy was brilliant. He VERY clearly knew the product inside and out. He was articulate and passionate, but unfortunately, the 42″ muffin-top that was dropping over his 32″ pants had caused sensory overload, preventing us from even hearing the words coming out of his mouth.
My Point? It doesn’t matter how smart your SE is, if his fashion style prevents us from hearing what his message.
Body Language and Hand Gestures:
We’ve already established SE’s are not social animals. Many of us spent large parts of our adolecense connecting to BBS’s on 2400 baud modems. I even had friends who could whistle modem tones. ( We thought he was soooooo cooolllll!!!!!!). This means that we probably didn’t interact with many people, and definitely not enough girls. So we never learned some basic social rules. This includes appropriate hand gestures and body language. Your job is to help guide us in the right direction, let us know what works and what doesn’t. ( please refer to rule number 1! We don’t know any better!)
Funny enough, the best example that comes to mind was the same guy with the muffin-top. Same meeting in fact. So you can imagine how bad this was looking already, but then add a set of hand gestures that looked like a combination of KRS-1, Marcel Marceau, and a Shaolin master. By itself, this was bad enough, but the fact that he stopped every couple of minutes or so to wipe his sweaty palms on his man-boobs.
He looked like a mime stopping his act to play with his nipples.
Do you think that anyone could have REALLY heard what this guy was talking about? We were a room full of SE’s and we could barely stop ourselves from laughing out loud, let alone pay attention to the words coming out of his mouth!
Point: If your SE suffers from mimism, tie his hands together. If that doesn’t work. Video him and make him watch it on mute. He might even tie his own hands together at this point.
Warning: He may also try to cut his own hands off. A twenty-four hour watch may be required after the initial viewing.
You are not a bus driver
As a general rule, we SE’s don’t like buses. I’m sure you’ve heard the example ” But what if he gets run over by a bus?”. These saying comes from somewhere.
We don’t like buses. we like them less when they run over us. and even less when our friend, you the AE, are at the wheel.
If you are planning something, let us know in advance. And please don’t ask us questions in front of a customer if you don’t already know the answer. We will most likely answer that question honestly. and you may not like the answer or the delivery, or both.
Lunch is Good
When we go for lunch, you pay. Always.
If you should ever doubt, please refer to the first rule.
3 thoughts on “5 Rules for growing your SE”
For me, my wife will always tell me when I need to change clothes. As for lunch, you are spot on. The engineer never pays and can order appetizers. And salad. And dessert. And coffee.
As someone new to the SE ( sales engineer ) game, it’s nice to see you’ve already picked up the most important rule. 🙂
I’ll admit it, my wife helps me too.