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Presentation Presence

A software vendor gave a sales presentation at my office today.

The vendor sent two people to present – a sales guy and an engineer.

The sales guy started the pitch with an overview of the software. Sounds great, says us, but we need a bunch of technical details to know if it’s worth pursuing. This is a critical piece of software, it will interact with a lot of internal systems, and so we need to know what we’re getting ourselves into.

So we ask a bunch of questions which the engineer answers to our satisfaction. Probably 30 or 45 minutes go by, mostly a back-and-forth between us and the engineer. He knows his stuff, and he seems to enjoy telling us about their technology.

The sales guy doesn’t have much to contribute, which is fine. Or rather, it would have been fine, if Mr. Salesguy would have appeared to be paying attention, or at least not acting distracted and bored.

Instead Mr. Salesguy checks his email. Checks his voicemail. Fiddles with his pen. Fools around on his computer for a while. Does a lot of things that tell me he doesn’t care about this sale. All with a look of “Get me out of here” on his face. Which doesn’t exactly inspire confidence or help the sale at all.

What’s the lesson here? When you make a sales pitch / presentation / demo / whatever, make sure that every single member of your team is devoting 100% of their attention to the customer. Even if you’re not currently speaking, even if you’ll never speak – act interested! Better yet, BE interested! And if you can’t get interested, then you probably don’t need to be there in the first place.

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