Startup Selling Lessons Learned: The Projector
The Situation: Big meeting with a C-level executive at the top of the org chart. We’d been working with several operations managers to implement our software, and this meeting was set up to discuss how we might integrate other business units into our software.
- We should have previewed the room. No excuses here. We were onsite the day prior, and it would have been very easy to find the time to check out the room to see the physical set up and what presentation options we’d have – flat screen vs projector, etc.
- For situations when we won’t be onsite, call ahead to the executive assistant (or the meeting organizer) about the room details – explaining exactly what we’d like to do (i.e. demo software, show PowerPoint, etc.) and ask about room details – extension cords, adapters, room set up, etc.
- In the “call ahead,” it’s important to explain that you want to be prepared, and that you’re calling out of respect for the executive’s time. The assistant will absolutely appreciate that, and might even put in a good word for you – “Hey these guys are really great – they called me to make sure the meeting logistics were all set…”
We thought we were 100% prepared for the big presentation. We brought a projector with us and double-checked that all of the adapters, cords, and required electronic gizmos where included in the projection kit.
When we arrived to the cavernous conference room, we were even more excited to see a gigantic flat screen TV on the wall, so instead of using the projector, we were excited to plug into the flat screen and use it like a giant monitor.
Well, the adaptor for our projector didn’t match the connection cord for the flat screen, rendering the flat screen completely useless. We asked the executive assistant to call IT, and when he arrived, he confirmed by suspicions that they didn’t support Macs or have any Mac-related equipment.
So back to using the projector. Oh well, we said – “Well – that’s why we brought our own projector!”
Despite the expansive size of the conference room, there were very, very, very few power outlets! There was one next to the flat screen, and another just about a small counter top that was probably placed there to serve as a plugin for a food warmer. Seriously? Not a single power outlet in the floor. This was a brand new building that just opened three weeks ago, yet the conference room had no power outlets. Worse, the IT guy didn’t have any extension cords, and because the projector cord reached all of four feet, we couldn’t even use our own projector.
Fortunately, I was able to call a colleague who had borrowed my Mac adapter earlier in the day (I should have retrieved it from him earlier when I had the chance, but didn’t because I knew that we had checked our projector kit, and checked it twice, I figured I didn’t need it.) My colleague sped over from another building nearby and dropped off my adapter with two minutes to spare. Whew! Now we were ready, and pretty darn lucky.
And If you’re wondering how we did in the meeting, more on that in another post forthcoming… It gets even better, meaning that we learned more lessons. :-p