Last month I had two speaking engagements with the same company back-to-back.The senior business leader who was scheduled to kick-off the session had a flight delay, so he asked his sales manager to step in for him. He returned to introduce me to the second audience himself.
I was struck by the differences between the two introductions and the impact that they had on both the audience and me.
In the first introduction, the sales manager (who I know well) had prepared by studying my bio. He carefully and accurately reviewed the highlights of my background with an impressive recall. He stated my work history, my overseas experience, the type of clients with whom I work and the name of the book that I authored.
In the afternoon session, the senior business leader introduced me quite differently. He talked about how I had coached him and the impact that I had on his career. He told the audience that I am not just an expert in sales, but a true partner and friend. He provided some statistics on how my company had helped his previous employer increase their close ratios. He ended with a funny story about a deal that we had worked on together and won.
The audience was raptured and became almost visibly excited to hear what I had to say. Heck, I was even excited to hear what I had to say!
While the second intro may have been a little exaggerated, it effectively set the stage for a lively session in which people were tuned-in and ready to engage. The credibility box had been checked and the audience was predisposed to receive value from what I was about to say.
In contrast, the first session required me to work a little bit harder to get to this same place. And while we made progress, I believe the second audience had an overall better experience - largely because of those first few minutes and the manner in which I was introduced by the senior leader.
This concept applies to sales as well. How one colleague introduces a prospect or buying committee to another colleague is critically important and can make the difference between a successful interaction and a mediocre one. I often see this opportunity overlooked. A person may hand over the floor with a statement like "Now John is going to talk about our X process."; rather than something like "I could not be more excited to hand over the floor to John. There is no better expert that I know of when it comes to X, and our clients just love working with him - I know you will too. John?..."
Not only does the second introduction set the stage effectively for John's discussion, but it also demonstrates comradery which will positively impact how the overall team is perceived.
Next time you are introducing a colleague to an audience be sure to seize the moment. Consiously plan to boost her credibility by:
Bragging about her expertise, experience and/or accomplishements (it is much easier and more effective for you to brag about her than for her to brag about herself!)
Demonstrating your personal enthusiasm working with her through your tone and word choice
Providing third-party validation by emphasizing positive feedback from colleagues and clients