View Full Version : Teaching the boss

10-11-2007, 11:05 AM
Hello all.

I want to know there are other people out there with the same *problem* I have. At least so that I can have peace of mind that I'm not alone.

What is the best way to teach your manager/boss how to properly sell your skills without you A: sounding like an idot B: making them mad or C: both.

I was hired by a small graphic design company over a year ago to do video production and 3D animation as a way to augment what they can offer to clients. I had to start from scratch equipment wise and so far I'm about half-way to where I would like to be (small company, budget stuff, etc...).

It's taken me about a year to get back up to speed compared to where I was when I started because they only use Macs here and I jumped from a 3D Max/Premiere world to a Final Cut Studio/Lightwave world. I've already done some successful projects but I don't have enough yet to produce a good demo reel we can give to clients to show what we can really do without much explanation.

I do sit in most most client meeting that involve me but I get frustrated they start getting print confused with video/animation. I defenatly can't correct them in front of the client (did that once, not good).

Any ideas on how I could proceed?

Oh...I also do regular design work so I know some of all 3 worlds so to speak.


10-11-2007, 11:16 AM
can you be more specific? How does he get print confused with video/animation?

10-11-2007, 11:24 AM
You might try and approach it that any technical information the client asks, be referred to you. Though your boss is trying to do the right thing in answering the questions in order to close the client, the best approach - and clients will appreciate this - is to not answer the question but to state that these things be referred to the person in charge of that area. If you are sitting right there, then that is best.

I have a brother-in-law who used to be a technician at a company that sold chip testing equipment. He would be called in to assist the sales guys and they eventually started taking him with them on calls. This was so successful he wound up getting into sales himself.

I have been a client (as a filmmaker) at several companies that were selling me various technical services related to my production. This approach - of referring technical questions to the technicians who are to be doing the work - was common as a professional standard.

You should not be put into a situation of having to embarrass your boss. He should not put you in that position and I believe it should be understood up front. An agreement should be reached before hand.

Now how to get that agreement is another subject. It may be simple enough to talk to him about it from the perspective I have outlined here.

10-11-2007, 12:22 PM
What Surrealist said.

Basically, get your boss to sell you as "our specialist for video/animation" to the customer.
On a positive note it will also position the company as actually having somebody on board who knows what he is doing.

Now, without knowing what else goes wrong, write the stuff down and produce some "training" material. Checklists. Internal training with the excuse of improving the process internally and getting things done in less time, reducing friction.
Use that material to train your boss about the video world.

I'm not sure if that will work, but it might be worth a try.

Another thing would be to sit down with your boss and crit others work (showreels, whatever) - just so he knows what's out there, and it gives you an excuse to pinpoint issues that might come up later in a client meeting.

Mike - glad I'm my own boss, but I know clients like that.

10-11-2007, 12:49 PM
haha i went through the exact same bs at my old job. leaving that place was ultimately the best thing i could have done. basicall, if the guy that is selling your services doesnt know what you have to do to get the job done from start to finish and break out the costs accordingly, then your studio is doomed to failure before you even start. he needs to know what you have to do from start to finish. otherwise he will undercharge your services and establish an unrealistic pricing structure that will be impossible to alter if you let it go on long enough.

basically for the first 10 or so projects, he needs to consult you very carefully about pricing and timing and have avery good idea about how long things take. He has to learn from this experience and be able to comfortable schedule YOUR time that will ensure a successful execution. over promising will lead to failure. This isnt about being polite with your boss, this is about outlining these facts in a no nonsense way and make it clear that if he fails to catch on, he will lose money. and employees.

10-11-2007, 03:11 PM

I did create a list to give to clients that are wanting to do video/dvd production. It basically listed out the whole process of creating a dvd in the proper order. It had the side benefit of educating the rest of our staff on what I do, at least video wise. I will have to create one for animation now.


10-11-2007, 03:13 PM
Thanks everyone who responded.

I re-read my post and it's not as gloom and doom as it sounds (amazing what a lunch break can do to one's mood). I'm just trying to reduce/eliminate the knee-jerk reaction "Yes, we can do that." Later after the meeting: "Can we do that?"