Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Mixed Messages

Great news! I have the whole team together for 2 hours for you to present your solution to them. Words that should chill you to the bone. It is hard enough to present a clear concise message to one person. Now you get to do it to a group, all with a different agenda, all with different technical knowledge. Without them falling asleep.

This type of meeting is ideal for the client, one lump of time for everyone, and then they are done. In fact if they have multiple vendors pitching to them, they may block out the whole day, order pizza, and watch demo after demo.

This is a sales nightmare on ice. Are you first? Last? Which is better? (future blog) The truth is it doesn’t matter. The client might as well throw darts to choose, because everyone will be so mentally tired there is no way they can properly assess the solutions.

You have a couple of options to consider. Say no. Schedule separate targeted demonstrations.  Accept one big meeting, but break it into smaller logical groups of people, by department or use case. Have each group show up as they are needed. Or do as I normally have to, the way the client wants. Let me talk about this one.

Risk assessment. What is or biggest risk? Being boring. Get too technical, half the people eyes roll up. Keep it too simple, higher level employees think you are an idiot. Concentrate on one department, others start thinking of Facebook. Simple solution.

Workflows. I don’t know what you are selling, but I guarantee it is more than a collection of features. Don’t demo features, demo process workflows. This allows you to engage all your audience, no one has a chance to get bored. They get to imagine how they will be using it. By showing a logical workflow, you stay out of the weeds, but have presented something that is appreciated by the technical people. By all means take questions, but dodge landmines by offering to explain 1 on 1 for highly technical questions. Don’t let your message get mixed.