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Spoiltchild Design

Always a bridesmade...

The Chamber of Commerce Awards on Saturday were a very enjoyable event. Great food, great company and free flowing wine all night.
Of the five awards we were nominated for we came away with none. But to be honest I probably came away with something more valuable.

The entire process involved the initial application form and a written presentation of no more then 10 pages covering the business, its history, current status and future plans, covering the various categories entered. Its basically a business plan and having never done one for Spoiltchild I found it a great exorcise. If you have never done one, or its been a few years, I would recommend having a go at it again. Its great for standing back and taking stock.
At this stage Spoiltchild excelled. The judging panel were impressed. We ended up being short listed for an unprecedented five nominations out of the six entered and jokingly referred to as the Leonardo DiCaprio of the chamber awards. Must be because of my boyish good looks!!

So on paper Spoiltchild looks like a good business.

Second stage of the judging process was a mystery shopper for the customer service category. No problems there.

Third and final was the verbal presentation earlier in the afternoon of the awards to a table of the Judging Panel. Spoiltchild went from hero to zero in ten minutes of painful “ums”. Padraig Warren, the Judging Panel Chairperson and a lovely guy to talk to, was great for coming up to me after the awards and explaining exactly where I fell down. It was clearly the presentation. I couldn’t sell me or the business. If this was a client I would have lost them and lost money.
I am and always have been a quite and (too) modest person. Not so much shy just quiet. Sure, get me on a few subjects and I can yak away but there are some situations I just hate and presenting to the Panel was one of them. I sweated that presentation for most of the week.

While Working for myself has forced improvements they haven’t been enough. Quiet doesn’t sell. Modest certainly doesn’t sell. I always knew it was one of my weaker skills. I even attended a one day presentation course earlier this year which was one of the harder things I have taken part in.

However these awards have made it clear to me just how much of a weak skill this is and how vital to the business it is. Verbal presentation is my main business weakness. It is what I need to tackle if the business is to succeed in the future. I think to have fully identified that makes the awards one of the most worthwhile things I have done in a while. Now I need to do something about it. Any recommendations?

  1. Hey Alan, congrats on so many short-listings!

    I’ve worked with a fair few web design companies over the years and presentation / communication skills is somewhere they all struggle.

    And in some cases it’s a real pity – because the company and person is really good and provide a fantastic service.

    I’ve no problem saying that Spoiltchild Design is ‘hot’ at the moment. I think you know it too – you’re doing great work. But you need to capitalise on it – and that means SALES. And sales mean PRESENTATIONS, MEEETINGS, SEMINARS and all the things poor communicators hate to do!

    I do have a suggestion / solution for you though – don’t go it alone! Bring someone with you who has GREAT communication skills. Doesn’t even have to be an employee. You could get a consultant to help you for a while, although that may be expensive. OR you could make a partnership with a complementary firm. That person will be grateful for the client introductions you provide – and his end of the deal will be helping you complete the sale.

    I’ve seen this work well before, if it’s done right.

    Ed Byrne    Nov 15, 09:17 AM    #
  2. I’ll give you some coaching lessons ;-)

    Modesty and shy are words often ascribed to me.

    I think it all comes down to confidence. As Mark Twain once said the secret to success is hard work and fair dealing, if you can fake that you got it made.


    Brian O'Neill    Nov 15, 03:04 PM    #
  3. Is there no edit facility in comments?

    I meant to say Modesty and shy are words NOT often ascribed to me.

    Brian O'Neill    Nov 15, 03:05 PM    #
  4. aw alan i know exactly where you’re coming from. i see so many chancers in this game with successful businesses because they can talk the talk and then hugely talented people like yourself can lose out just for being great at what they do and not so great at the marketing bull.

    but the good news is that with a great portfolio that keeps getting better, your work can do most of the talking for you. :)

    you still need to get your name out there though and the sales pitches are unavoidable. the business guys who make decisions have high level knowledge – you need to sell yourself to them in terms they understand – talking and powerpoint are what these guys are all about…

    i’m sure that some of your friendly clients who are endlessly plugging you on etc would be happy to give you some advice.

    the industry needs more quiet doers and thinkers and less chancers! good luck :)

    Janine    Nov 15, 08:55 PM    #
  5. Less chancers … dead right Janine! It’s a disaster for honest business-people in the Internet industry that there’s so many people literally scr*wing their clients. Gives the whole area a bad reputation and lack of trust.

    Ed Byrne    Nov 16, 09:23 AM    #
  6. Alan, I am with Janine on this. Great work and passion win through for me – marketing speak and presentation polish is just gunk.

    The awards were an artificial situation and really of no relevance to your interaction with a possible client.

    So – bring your knowledge, portfolio and passion to the table and stay comfortable with who you are.


    keith bohanna    Nov 16, 07:53 PM    #
  7. Unless you can communicate the passion and great work its not a lot of good.

    I agree it was an artificial situation but it is an important skill and it is something I need to work on. Thanks for the great word on our work though :)

    Alan    Nov 16, 09:11 PM    #
  8. Keith, unfortunately the best service doesn’t always win through. Look at all the commenters on this blog … how many of them are prospects for Alan?

    In an indstury will hundreds of companies SAYING they are the best, how are companies to select them? The majority of businesses just don’t have the Internet savvy to find the best supplier – it’s often the local one or ‘friend or a friend’.

    Good sales and marketing skills that REPRESENT a GREAT company will help I think.

    Ed Byrne    Nov 17, 10:03 AM    #