April 12, 2010, 1:52 PM
“Do you *really* believe that there’s some stored up conflict that exists between us? There *is* no us. *We* don’t exist. So who do you wanna hit, man? It’s not me. Now whaddya wanna do here, man?” – Martin Blank
Before I begin, a couple thoughts…
1. I can’t believe this hasn’t been done already.
2. I can’t believe this guy still exists…[facepalm]
So I was asked to speak at a customer event last week and then go to a hockey game. Great turnout, everyone was dressed casual, jeans, hockey jerseys. It was a casual night and a fun crowd…but the catch! They had to listen to 3 talking heads. And no, not the good David Byrne ones. Us. Sales guys. Talking to a techie crowd.
<rant> See, I learned a LONG time ago, techies understand sales guys exist and they know we have a job to do, they also know that we don’t know shit about technology. At least not at their level. So if you are going to speak to a group of techies, don’t pretend you are a techie. They can smell their own, and they will eat you alive. And on top of that, techies HATE shitty marketing slides that don’t say anything.</rant>
With that being said, I was asked to speak last.
Well, guy number one gets up, says his peace, quick and dirty, got his point across, everyone is happy. Then…”that guy” shows up.
Suit, check. 40 slide presentation, check. Yes, I said 40. I mean, after slide 3, you might as well have put up a video of Menomena in German and the crowd would have been more in tune…
Literally by slide 20 the crowd was gone. Heads down. Guys getting up and leaving. The VP of the company looks over at me and gave me the look…
…and I understood.
So literally 35-40 minutes later (I swear, I wish I was kidding). It’s my turn.
I sat in front of the group, nodding and basically said, “Yea, it’s the price you have to pay to get free hockey tickets…”
So then I say, “I have good news and bad news…”
“The good news, I am not using this!” (pointing at the screen, I literally scrapped my entire presentation last minute)
“The bad news, I am a Red Wings fan!” (I was in Pittsburgh)
…and for the next 6-7 minutes I hit them with everything they needed to know about my product. I hit them with the high points and closed out with, “Hey, we have a hockey game to go to, we will have plenty of time to talk shop, so if you want to talk more, we can discuss over a beer…”.
The feedback my customer got was that everyone appreciated my candor, my honesty, and the fact that I respected them and their time.
In retrospect, did “that guy” actually think those guys were going to absorb anything he was saying? They would have been lucky to remember 2-3 things…so why bother bombarding them with everything and the kitchen sink?
So if you have to give a presentation in front of a crowd, keep it simple, hit them with the high points, give them a compelling reason to contact you in the future, and please, we are begging you, don’t be that guy.
Until next time…