Going over their head

This is such an age-old problem, yet I cannot recall ever speaking to someone who had a genuine answer to it.  The scenario is, you’re selling to one person and things are not necessarily going your way.  So you must talk to their boss.  What do you do?

a) go over their head and risk forever alienating them

b) get them to go on your behalf, and expect them to be able to do your job for you

Neither route is satisfactory of course.  The text books implore you to take the first contact at the high level and earn your licence to roam, so the channel is always open should things stall.  Yet this isn’t always an option.  Think for instance, of when the dancing monkey is the one inviting you in, and the organ-grinder sits twenty floors above them.

One aim can be to arrange a joint approach, which needs quite a bit of hard-talking, as it still requires someone to make the call to secure the meet, so you’re kind of back to square one.  Coaching the oily-rag can help, as can permission to call the engineer following say a mail from said rag.

Recent exposure to photocopier resellers flags up a tool to jemmy open this door.  Have you a return on investment Ready Reckoner?  You can use it to verify there is a significant pot of gold at the bottom of your rainbow, and leverage the quest for findings, or indeed the figures themselves to gain that vital ‘big boss’ meeting.

In my experience, going over someone’s head unannounced hardly ever works.  The best bet is to prime your champ that the inevitable initial response will be ‘no!’, so manage expectations around a campaign of actions, rather than solitary isolated request.

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