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Best Posts Of 2013 ! Any Nominees?

Chris Dearing
Dec 31, 2013

This one is my favorite:

Undisclosed (#0021312) Manufacturer about 1 month ago Reply
(Answering for the benefit of the sales consultant finding himself/herself being heckled)
Sooner or later in your sales career you will meet Seymour. I call him that because no matter how much you give him, he always wants to "see more."
He's easy to recognize. He's usually male, and sits in the back of the room. He generally tends to lean back with his arms crossed, figuratively "blocking" you and your message. He's generally older, middle management, and thinks he is the smartest person in the room. And he's probably right. Not always, but he usually has little or no purchasing power. His only power is making you look stupid and he's really, really good at it. His questions, while technically correct, are often not pertinent to the discussion. He's trying to look smart to the audience or perhaps just being cruel to you for sport.
The best way to prepare for Seymour is what you should be doing anyway, which is to BE PREPARED. Know your stuff left and right, inside and out. Study, study, study your products, company, competitors, and industry. Get formal sales training. Don't "wing it" with your charm -- charm won't work with Seymour. And his BS detector is the best there is. You have to know your stuff.
(A side note: Any sales person who thinks they are good at "winging" a presentation only thinks so because they've never been GREAT by being prepared instead)
Assuming you are prepared, here are four ways to deal with Seymour:
- Answer his every question and concern. As his name suggests, this will be an endless effort. No matter how much you give him, Seymour will always want to SEE MORE. So don't try to answer all his questions -- there isn't enough time in the entire day. And you will never get anywhere by "getting back" to him later. He's usually not the decision maker anyway. There is no benefit to him recommending your product, and he's worried about taking blame if he does and then your stuff doesn't work, slick.
- Beat him at his game by winning the arguments. This requires the knowledge base to counter Seymour's arguments. This likely won't work because 1) You aren't as smart as he is; and 2) You will only create an enemy who will work as hard as he can to defeat you after you leave. He can't say "yes" to your product but he sure as heck can get other people to say "no" after you leave.
- Embarrass him. After one of his more damaging questions/comments, announce that you feel like you are on a game show. Address him as Alex Trebek for the rest of the presentation. If the rest of the audience doesn't like him, they will laugh at his expense and shut him up, but you will have created a really smart enemy. Not cool. Worse, they could rally to his assistance as one of their own and turn on you en masse. Also not cool. Yet another way was mentioned earlier in this thread. After you leave, complain to his superiors about how "toxic" his presence was and earn a really smart enemy for the rest of your career.
- Recruit him. Join forces with him. Give him what he wants, which is recognition. Acknowledge, sincerely, his expertise and get him on your side. This is easier than it sounds -- it's where he wants to go anyway. Grab one of his comments that suits you and respond with something like:
"That's exactly right, Mr. Seymour, and (then continue your message)."
"I'm so glad you brought that up, Mr. Seymour, because most people in this industry don't understand what you just said. Can you repeat that, because I think you explained it very well." Let him talk. Comment on his answer and, without pausing, segue back into your presentation.
"It's so helpful to have someone with Mr. Seymour's level of experience in the room who can help me explain a complex topic like..." (start introducing your next topic).
You won't be able to do it more than once or twice, but if Seymour throws you a curve ball you can't handle, say, "Mr. Seymour, some of our most senior developers were discussing that very item just the other day. Opinions differ, but I'm really interested in yours given your level of experience." Let him talk, compliment him on his answer, and segue back into your presentation. Chances are there is at least some part of his opinion that you can agree with and move on without giving a straight up answer (which is why you can only use this once or twice). He won't mind as he got to make his point which is what he was trying to do anyway.
When you get really, REALLY get stuck by Seymour, and you will, say something like, "That topic might be a little too advanced for this part of the presentation / this audience / the timeframe we have today. Let's talk one on one after the break." At the break, hustle out of the room to call your office and find out the answer to what he's stumped you with. Meet with him privately and thank him for his question. Deliver your answer, and without pausing for argument, ask him the favor of helping you explain some certain advanced concept when you get to that part of your presentation.
Until that topic comes up, he will no longer be paying attention to you. He will be formulating in his head what will most likely be a darn good explaination for you. Now he's working for you instead of against you. Delay the topic up until right before a break or the end of the presentation. Or otherwise limit his floor time by saying something like, "CBR versus VBR compression is tough to explain in the three minutes we have left, so I'm going to have Mr. Seymour help me out." Close him out by saying, "Well said" which it will be.
Once you acknowledge that he is the smartest guy in the room, he'll stop trying to make you look stupid. Chances are he will be actually helping you with your presentation at this point. If not, and Seymour is still making you look ignorant, it's likely one of two reasons:
- He's not heckling you; you really are ignorant.
- Seymour is a sociopath.
Assume the former. Go study and prepare for the next Seymour. You can't win them all.

Ari Erenthal
Dec 31, 2013
Chesapeake & Midlantic

I say the ignorant Samsung salesman saga should get the best of 2013, because the original guy came back after being bashed, asking for correction and instruction. That took a lot of guts.

Matt Ion
Dec 31, 2013

The voting system makes this sort of thing easy, doesn't it?

Another fun site to read, TechDirt, has a similar system, where posts can be rated "insightful" or "funny". Once a week the site owner posts his picks for Most Insightful and Funniest posts of the week, as well as those that top the votes in each category, and then at year end, he lists off some of the best-of-the-best.

Here's an example...

Chris Dearing
Dec 31, 2013

When I first read the undisclosed integrator's reply to John's post I remember thinking 'poor John, he makes some off-the-cuff remark about chopsticks and now he's getting called on it...'. But John shows he's not bluffing in this blow for blow gem.
John Honovich 5 months ago Reply
IPVM Administrator

Chopsticks Vs Forks.... really you pulled that one.. first off there are far more people who use forks in the world.... the china pop 1.3 billion geregistreerd via Argeweb poplulation does not trump the world population and most people in India (also a billion) use forks. so mute point and needs to be removed. let chopsticks stay in the metric for those who use it.... but not for this article.....

Thanks for the feedback. Two things:
The fork using population is far smaller than you evidently imagine. It's not just China that uses chopsticks, it's Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam and the 100+ million of them who emigrated to the West. Plus, the number of people who eat with their hands is significant. India, in particular the Southern part, is one. Indeed, ask Oprah about that. Not just India though. Sub-saharan Africa, the Middle East, Southeast Asia all have large populations who eat with their hands. Maybe more people use forks but there are easily multiple billions who do not.
The point is not whether forks are better than chopsticks or whether there are more or less chopsticks or forks being used. It is the opposite. Local preferences vary, for many reasons, whether cultural, logistical (warm vs cold countries), or financial. Focusing on global statistics belies differences that are critical to specific regions.

Undisclosed Integrator #1
Jan 01, 2014

Ok that Seymour one is really good - I did not see it. Thank you!

Christopher Freeman
Jan 01, 2014

Great Article

Many Training siminars,class's where this has happened.

While in the class or siminar the level s of education are usually way out of our league. Well Educated.

Sometimes it is really hard to keep your own ego in check while dealing with seymour or try to take him or her on in a debate.

But the poor instructors,Teachers . Hope they have figured out how to derail the situation and go on.

Sometimes seymour is you and me

As some people by nature have a desire to achieve, succeed, stand out. Be Known By all .

Horace Lasell
Jan 02, 2014

The voting system was established subsequent to the Seymour post. Prompted by this discussion, I have had the pleasure of being the first to rate the Seymour post +1.

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