Not too many things surprise me. This one did. Here is one of the fastest ways to lose a sale and I’ll bet this salesperson didn’t even notice.
I was at a business lunch this week where the presenter was talking about her business. She developed business presentations for companies. She showed her work and it looked very impressive. Her work product was professional, intelligent and persuasive. The business professional sitting next to me leaned over and said, “Wow. I could use that. “ He then followed with, “And what is her name again?”
That’s when the sale stopped.
She put down her work and glared at my neighbor. She announced to the group, while looking at him, “I’m presenting now. If you would please be so kind to listen to me I will show you the same respect when you present.”
Yikes. I’ll bet he hadn’t been talked to that way since he was in kindergarten.
Since he was a gentleman, he said, “I’m so sorry. Please continue.” Later he confided in me, “Even though I need what she sells, I’ll never buy from her.”
She made a major mistake on several levels. It is never appropriate to embarrass anyone. It’s especially wrong to do it in front of a group.
Second, a presenter has to take responsibility for his own communication. It is the presenter’s responsibility to engage the audience.
It’s also reality today that there will be people in your audience who can’t hear because the acoustics are bad(as in this case) and need to ask for help. Other times, audience members are bored and check their mobile phones. Some might even fall asleep. I’ve seen it all and I would never call anyone out for doing anything while they are in the audience.
Next time you present you can go by the 80% rule. You are doing fine if 80% of the audience is paying attention. Just leave the 20% alone unless of course, you want to lose the sale.