Not a big deal, right? We’ve all seen this type of message on our computers. This time, however, the message popped up on my laptop 10 min into a customer presentation who had a hard stop after 1 hour. Hey, no problem – I’ll just delay it. Surprise! No option to delay or cancel the reboot. Gee thanks. (for those wondering, Close in the above image does not delay the inevitable)
It’s like I was given a notification that my machine would crash in 15 min. This was good and bad. It was good because I could continue my current flow until a logical break point, but bad because it was like having a fuse slowing running down on my screen which was more distracting you might think.
In Presales, even though we prepare for situations like this, when they actually happen, it’s always stressful. And when it happens in a way that you haven’t experienced before, it can really throw you off your game.
As usual, I had prepared beforehand – I sent a copy of my presentation to the Account Executive (AE), made them a host on the web session so it wouldn’t end if my connection dropped, and let them know the URLs to the sites I’d be using. However, because I was not in my home office, I didn’t have another machine to use for fail over, and my iPad couldn’t screen share with the conference provider.
After my brain raced for a minute upon first seeing the message (while still presenting), I calmly let my team know that my laptop would be rebooting in just over 10 min, and I asked the AE to bring up the demo URL. Once it happened, I basically demoed by proxy for 15-20 min until my laptop was back in action. And it went more smoothly than I expected.
In Presales, you must always be ready for challenges ranging from poor connectivity to a demo crashing. I’ve found that there are two key ingredients to managing (and hopefully avoiding) the associated pain: Prepare and Don’t Panic.
- Prepare for what you can control – have a fallback machine, demo screenshots, videos, etc.
- Don’t Panic about what you can’t – roll with it and just be honest with the customer. They are usually very cool about it.
For more Presales best practices and techniques, see the 3D Presales book.