In 1983, while representing Telex, I was working on an opportunity to sell personal computers to Noxell Corporation. Noxell is the company that manufactures Noxzema as well as the “cover Girl” line of cosmetics. I had worked the account for 3 years and had a large number of displays and printers installed. Additionally, I had established a very strong relationship with Jim, the VP of Information technology as well as several other folks in the IT organization. Jim was the final decision maker regarding any IT acquisitions. Noxell was exclusively using IBM personal computers at the time. My mission was to place an evaluation Telex PC at the account that would offer Noxell a less expensive alternative. The technical contact, as well as the individual who made the decision on PC’s was a fellow by the name of Roy. When I met with Roy, he seemed uninterested in taking a look at our PC offerings. There was no real reason, just simply a lack of interest. One Thursday evening at the monthly DPMA meeting I noticed that Jim, the VP and Roy the technical evaluator were in the meeting room. They were both engaged on conversations with other folks enjoying a pre-meeting cocktail. I walked up to Roy and starting chatting. After a few minutes I asked him if he would like to bring in one of our PC’s on demo. I said there was absolutely no obligation. Just simply run some applications and see how it performs. Roy had the response I just mentioned above; “ senior management doesn’t approve anything but IBM PC’s”
I asked Roy to sit tight for a few moments so I could track down Jim. I brought Jim over to Roy and then repeated what Roy had said: The fact that Noxell senior management only approves IBM PC’s.
Jim looked at Roy with a look of amazement and uttered the words I will never forget. Jim said; “ who the F do you think senior management is”; I’m senior management!”
The demo was installed the following week.