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Amazing advice on how to plan a sales event

Joel Spolsky provides wonderful advice on how to plan a fantastic sales event.  Pay attention to the little stuff he suggests (music, nametags).

  • Serve coffee. Coffee contains caffeine, which makes people cheerful. If you’re lucky, they’ll attribute their cheeriness to your software instead of the caffeine.
  • Play upbeat music while you’re waiting for everyone to arrive. The kind of popular, upbeat, Margaritaville music Americans love to listen to when they’re on vacations in warm places. Give people name tags so they introduce themselves to one another and socialize while they’re waiting. Crank up the music so they have to speak loudly. Loud music and loud conversation and a crowded room adds up to the sensation that this is the hot event.
  • Cover the place in professionally-produced, high-quality logo stuff. We had brochures, pens, pads, and big FogBugz banners. Wall-to-wall kiwis.
  • Dress exactly one level better than your audience. Too dressy, and you’ll look like you think you’re better than your customers. Not dressy enough, and the audience will get the feeling that you don’t really care.
  • With geeks, it’s probably enough to put on a nice Banana Republic black jacket over your polo shirt or turtleneck. Do NOT, for the LOVE OF ALL THAT IS GOOD, wear any clothing with writing on the outside. I know how much you love your JavaOne T-shirt, with the happy little waving tooth. Wear that to your wedding or something, not when you’re on stage. Lose the sneakers, too.
  • Set the screen to 800 x 600. Make everything as big as possible. If you’re demoing an application that needs more than a half million pixels, go back home and redesign the app.
  • Notice the lights shining on the screen? That’ll be a problem. Find the guy who can turn them off. Sometimes there’s no switch for those particular lights. Find the guy who will come with a ladder and unscrew them.
  • Lock the doors until the room is ready. Otherwise people will start wandering in an hour and a half before the demo is due to start watching you change out of your beloved t-shirt, running around taping cables down on the floor, and putting brochures on every chair. This makes you look like a gopher and removes some of the authority you’re going to need to convince people to buy your software.
  • Bring someone with you to take care of mechanical details: passing out nametags, setting up microphones. The more people you have with you, the more legit you’ll look.

Joel has even more great advice.  Read the rest here …

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