I once stood up before a bunch of insurance company sales people.
My brief was simple: I was supposed to get them to understand why customers buy and why they don't. In other words, I could have simply done my presentation on The Brain Audit, and be done with it. But no, I wanted to do more. I wanted to personalise the whole darned presentation.
And so I dug for examples from the insurance industry
I did my research, I spoke to the company hiring me. In short I slaved to get something that would endear me to the audience. And you can see where this is going, right? Yup, it all went horribly wrong. All that work landed me in a bigger soup than if I'd just done what I always do—and that is to leave the presentation 99.5% alone!
As I stood up there and gave that audience example after example, I sensed I wasn't getting the rah-rah I was expecting
And in retrospect, that makes perfect sense doesn't it? There I was, an outsider trying to tell them what worked in the insurance industry. They obviously knew more than me. But it gets worse. In many cases, they knew of that specific case-study and they disagreed with the method that was employed. Or the case-study was from Belgium and they shook their heads saying “it would work in Belgium, but never in New Zealand”.
In short I'd walked into a trap of my own making
I'd tried to over-personalise my presentation and in doing so, took them away from the main topic of The Brain Audit. They would have been far more interested in why customers buy and why they don't, than listening to case-studies from this “industry alien”.
But do you not bring up a single case-study?
It's not that you completely ignore them either. You put in a few keywords. eg. If I were speaking to those who were in selling bananas, I would put in a few key words to get them to know that this applies to bananas as well. But I would go no further. The deeper you get into their territory, the quicker you end up in quicksand.
Temptation creeps in
Let's say you're presenting to an audience of coaches and the next day you're presenting to people who train dinosaurs. Well, the first day in your speech, you say: “And today we're going to find out how “coaches” can keep customers. The coaching industry is like any other. And we need to understand why customers buy and why they don't. And for coaches today, in an overcrowded market this information is incredibly crucial.
Now you've put in enough keywords for the audience to know that you are on their side. It's time to go on with the rest of your “regular presentation” and regular case-studies. And the next day if you're speaking to dinosaur trainers, well, you bring up “dinosaur trainer” keywords as well.
Temptation creeps in
You want to do your due diligence. You want to do better. You want to bring in case studies. But you're the outsider. Stay outside, and do the presentation that they signed up for in the first place.
Yup, avoid the temptation of catering.
All it does is get you into a load of trouble.