He was about to accept the award of ‘outstanding innovator’ for his emerging company.
Present at the event were a group of invigorated entrepreneurs, keen to hear how their award-winning colleague started his business, gained momentum and achieved significant results.
The brand itself was prominent and well-respected.
People were expecting to hear a dynamic, exciting speaker.
But, the stark contrast between the brand and its leader took everyone by surprise.
As the CEO spoke, he shuffled papers and glanced at the audience. His voice was quiet and lacked vitality. There were many awkward moments. People toward the rear of the room hardly noticed that he was speaking.
At our table, three potential clients of the company watched, stunned. Concern and confusion filled their faces.
They were experiencing the extreme inconsistencies between an excellent promotion, an engaging sales process and the lacklustre presence of the company’s leader.
One, just about to sign off on their deal, decided to do more research. Another cancelled their upcoming meeting. And the third, newly signed up, wondered aloud whether they would receive what was agreed to with the national sales manager.
This event, still recalled by those who were there, occurred 10 years ago.
It is a relevant reminder that organisations must attend to the vocal and verbal presence of their brand representatives to ensure that they make and sustain the sale.