First Impressions

I was being introduced to a crowd recently where the speaker wrote his own introduction of me rather than reading the bio I supplied him with. He chose one word, just one word, that inappropriately tied both of us to a brand we had nothing to do with. In doing so, rather than effectively differentiating himself from the crowded market he was in, taking advantage of my appearance in his city and leveraging the venue he had chosen, he commoditized himself.

Then he chose, a single, unspectacular work experience from my career, from 33 years ago, and spoke of it as if it was the defining moment in my sales development career. It could have been embarrassing but I know that once I get up to speak, the crowd will forget anything the and everything the host chose to say about me.

But it got me thinking. We prepare our salespeople to say certain things, talk about certain topics, and present certain products and services in certain ways. But do they? You’ve been on the road with them but what do they say when you aren’t with them? How do they flavor things when they’re on their own? If one word can forever reposition a company, how many times do they choose a word that would make you cringe? And if one experience can change someone’s opinion of your company, product or service, target market, quality, integrity or mission, how many topics do they choose that would make you wring their necks?

Management must do a better job reviewing what is said by their salespeople to ensure consistency, impact, the integrity of the value proposition and revenue.  Be sure your messaging is consistent!