Sales Jeopardy! at RailsConf!

Posted by Nathaniel on May 16th, 2007

So the tricky part about proposing a talk so many months in advance is that you never know what you’ll have learned (or not learned) by the time the conference actually rolls around. Back in November when I proposed my RailsConf talk, I was thinking that by now I would’ve reduced my sales and marketing efforts down to at least a general outline I could share with those at the conference. Boy was I wrong! The more I work to land projects, the more I realize that at least in this business, each sales process is unique as a snowflake. Yup, that’s right, the “MVC” pattern I put in the abstract is really clever, but turns out to not be very useful, at least for me.

So where’s that leave my presentation on Saturday? Never fear! Because while snowflakes are each unique, they do share common properties. So what I’m going to do is switch from focusing on a process, and instead do my best to pass along the tips, tricks and rules of thumb I’ve picked up over the last year and a half of selling Terralien. I might not have a useful system for selling custom software, but I sure have a lot of great “lessons learned” that I think everyone at the talk will find hugely valuable.

Upon figuring all this out, I was left with one problem: how do I structure the presentation? I mean, c’mon, every presentation needs a gimmick, right? After much mulling, I struck upon the perfect approach a few days ago, and instead of doing a plain old boring presentation, we’re going to do a super-agile game show! That’s right, we’ll be playing Sales Jeopardy!, with actual cash prizes to boot. Of course, not being a rich TV show, the prizes will lose a few zeroes off the usual Jeopardy pay-out, but hey, somebody might be able to at least buy themselves dinner ;-)

Hope to see you on Saturday in Portland!

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