Tuesday, July 17, 2007

One Suit, One Geek, One Girl

I've been in the position of needing to buy a lot of IT services and equipment over the years, and I've had a lot of visits from vendor pre-sales teams.

It's uncanny the number of times you get a team of three (the number you can comfortably fit in a Mondeo with luggage on a long journey?):-

* A Suit - a usually older, smiling man/woman in a tailored suit/trouser-suit wearing an expensive watch/dangly jewellry. His/her sole purpose is to spout empty weasel words ('Total Cost of Ownership', 'Synergy', 'Speed to Market'). He/she's usually the one with the Gold Amex, so good for some food and plenty drink at least, so not a total waste of space..

* A Geek - Lost-in-space tech-head with an IQ of 190, who knows the product inside-out and back-to-front. Plus he actually knows how to work the projector. I say "he" because they are almost always male.

* A Girl - Young, smiling, helpful. Often looks good in a skirt. In a small vendor company, the girl can also double as the Suit or the Geek. But I swear, in a large number of cases, the Girl was there purely to look good in a skirt. She had neither technical prowess nor weasel smarminess. Why was she there ? Why not send me a spare geek ?

Here's my question : do IT companies use attractive girls to sell product to mostly male decision-makers ? It's hard to imagine that the same techniques used to sell cars at a motorshow or lager at a Grand Prix could really work with accounting software, but maybe I'm totally naive. Or a sexist throwback - my mind is totally open on the subject.

Personally, I'd want three geeks every time - but how typical am I ?

For the record, I've worked in IT for and with women of awesome intellect and charisma, whos laptop power cables I was not fit to carry. Sending women of that calibre I wouldn't have an issue with. But why send me girls ?


Kenny said...

Do I detect a tad of cynicism? :)

Don't forget that I'm the geek my old companies used to send out. And I look crap in a skirt.

Anonymous said...

They do it for all technical sales I'm told by my male collegues, but I've never seen it happen myself when I check out technology so I take it with a pinch of salt.

Unless the deliberately decide that they won't send me a skirt because I'm female, but that is very presumptive ;)

Stan said...

Makes my head spin - does it work I wonder ? Can't believe there are enough seducible IT movers-and-shakers to justify keeping an army of bimbos on the payroll.

Kenny said...

An army of bimbos or Kennys in short skirts? I know which I would choose.