Going down?

As a leader within your organization, I am sure that at one point or another you’ve had a discussion about your company’s “elevator speech” – this concept that you should be able to explain exactly what your company is all about in less than 1 minute.  Many companies take this quite seriously, and even practice and drill their C levels, business development team and others about what they should say and how they should say it.  Seems reasonable to me.

But what if you had A WHOLE HOUR to talk about yourself and your company??   Assuming you opted not to repeat your elevator pitch 59 times, then what?

I had the pleasure of sitting through two such “moments” today as part of the vendor selection process for an enterprise-wide ERP implementation (and yes, I know that’s redundant…)  It was, to say the least, illuminating.



So here’s my quick “top 5” things NOT to do, in case you:

  • a) find yourself in a similar situation
  • b) actually think any of my alleged “insights” are worth taking seriously

Drum roll, please!

  1. Don’t read slides to me that have the same content that is already in the response to my RFP.  I know I didn’t read it, and you know I didn’t read it, but still…
  2. Don’t tell me how many partner/customer/developer/consultant of the year awards you’ve won.  That’s like auditioning for a part in a movie, walking in with an Emmy statue, and asking me if I still want you to actually read the script…
  3. Don’t tell me “who reports to who.” In the unlikely event I can’t figure it out from the business cards you just handed me, if you do win the business, and the project goes south, there will be ample time for me to find out who your boss is and call her.
  4. Don’t show me a methodology slide you “tweaked” from ITIL, PMI, COBIT, Lean, Six Sigma, Seven Sigma or Eight Omega and tell me that’s what makes you different and better.  That’s like showing me an overhead photo of the Brickyard at Indianapolis, grabbing a marker and drawing an arrow that goes around the track in a perfect oval, and then tell me that makes you Helio Castroneves…
  5. Don’t tell me the project is going to take 6,473 hours to complete and if we start on February 3, we’ll be done on October 15 at 3:44 PM.    I know my requirements are 60% accurate; you know my requirements are 60% accurate.  Why not say there’s a good chance we could finish between Sep 30 and Nov 15, depending on what we learn about each other in the next 6 weeks.  Is that so hard??

Would you press 4 for me?


Explore posts in the same categories: Client Management, communication, Sales, strategy

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One Comment on “Going down?”

  1. Jason Says:

    Now that I’m sitting on the “other” side of the table (the opposite side from sell-your-soul-to-close-a-sale-consulting), I find I’m quite annoyed at all of these meetings.

    Something that I would put at the top of the list, in big bold, capital, flashing letters: LISTEN! Then in smaller, but still bold letters: just shut your mouth when the prospective client is talking wait three seconds of silence before speaking! Really, when the prospective client stops talking, count (to your self) one-one thousand; two-one thousand; three-one thousand. If no one else speaks, begin.

    I was in two meetings this week, listening to companies deliver their proposals. Both times we (my co-workers and I) literally could not finish our sentences before someone on the other side of the table opened his/her mouth to let us know how everyone in the company is incredibly talented/smart/detail-oriented. Mostly, the “answer” was a statement I was planning to make before asking a question.

    For example “Earlier in the presentation, you showed ABC reports…” At this point the sell-your-soul-to-close-a-sale-consulting guy jumped in re-describing the reports in even greater detail. At the end, I let them know that the rest of my question was “can they be exported to Excel”.

    Minutes wasted.

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