How you introduce yourself matters

How you introduce yourself matters

Sales engineers, has something like this ever happened to you?

It’s your first call with a new customer.  After the typical chit-chat that all meetings start with and reviewing the agenda, now it’s time for introductions.  Your sales partner goes first, introducing themselves.  Then instead of having you go, they introduce you with something akin to the following…

“This is <your name here>.  They are here to answer all your technical questions,”.

If you’ve been in presales longer than a year, you have probably experienced a variant this situation. Most likely it annoyed you, but did you ever consider the position that introduction puts you in?

In two short sentences, your salesperson set you up for failure; should you fail to answer ‘all’ the customer’s technical questions your credibility is immediately in doubt.  In those same 12 words, your business partner also painted you into a corner: you’re here to answer questions.  Nothing else.  Whether the customer team consciously or unconsciously picks up on this, the expectations have been set.

If you weren’t annoyed when this happened to you, aren’t you now?

There are other introductions that I’ve heard sales folks give their partners that are even worse.

“This is Shannon.  She’s my technical support,”.

That one may be my personal favorite for shudder factor alone and yes, it really did happen.  For what it’s worth, I’ve heard salespeople introduce themselves as equally badly as well.  A salesperson at a former organization once literally introduced themselves in the following fashion –

“I’m Jonathon and I’m here to take the check when you buy.  Paul is here to do all the hard work until then”.

The good news is that situations like these are incredible opportunities to strengthen your relationship with your sales partner by working through some light conflict.  Most likely they didn’t think through the words they used.  Possibly they were trying to be funny with customers that they already had strong relationships with, as Jonathon was in that last cringe inducing example.  

It is improbable that they intended to paint you in a negative or limited light.  The salesperson who called Shannon tech support almost cried when she shared that she felt demeaned.  If this ever happened to you, it is very likely your sales partner had the best of intentions.  

You talk to them, they agree to let you introduce yourself on the next call and never call you their personal tech support again.  Now it’s up to you to introduce yourself in a professional fashion that showcases the value you bring and causes the customers to lean in in that next call.  No pressure, huh?

When you introduce yourself, it is likely using one of the following variants:

“Hey, I’m <your name here>.  I’m the sales engineering to support you,”.


“Good morning, I am <your name here>.  I’m going to talk to you about <your technology here>,”.

Both are all right, but they don’t help your audience understand the incredible value and expertise you are bringing to the discussion.  In addition, when this conversation is successful and leads to more meetings, it doesn’t guide them in how they can anticipate working with you in the future.  Almost every company has some variation in not just the title we go by but what we actually do in support of  our customers that all but requires us to articulate our value and how we engage.

Believe it or not, how you introduce yourself sets the foundation for how others perceive you from then on.  It can take a considerable effort and time to change that first impression.  There is a paradigm I’ve used for years built on top of Simon Sinek’s Golden Circle that has served my teams well.  Let’s walk through it.

The Art of the Introduction

The use of the word “Art” is intentional.  Introductions are more art than science.  Yes, they can have structure (and there is a structure below to share), but when we apply that structure, it requires a feel for audience.  Think through the following:

  • Are they open to humor or is this a very strict crowd?  
  • Where in the sales process is this opportunity?  It may impact what you share.  
  • Do you already know which attendee you should be building a rapport with?  How do you start that off on the right foot with them?

Now that you have a feel for the tone of the conversation and potentially who you need to truly be addressing yourself to, ponder these three critical topics:

  • Why should the audience engage with you or even listen to you?
  • How should they anticipate working with you today or in the future?
  • What is your role in today’s call?

In a perfect world, you will answer all three of these questions in a concise introduction that sets you up for success when it is your turn to interact on the call.

What likely has a better impact on your audience?

“I’m Oli and I’m the sales engineer on your account,”


“I’m Oli, an expert on deploying video technology.  Today, I’ll be showcasing how our solutions solves problems like the ones you shared.  Moving forward I’ll be your technical partner helping you understand how your organization can leverage our technology and best practices to <insert business objective here>,”.

How about between these two?

“My name is Carolynn, and I am the SE partnering with Sandy, your account executive,”.


“My name is Carolynn.  I help financial service organizations such as yours explore automation to streamline painful manual tasks.  I’ll be digging into the problem you were sharing with Sandy the other day to help come up with a solution. Moving forward, I will be your trusted advisor to ensure that <Company Name> gets the best value for its investment in automation”

At first, it takes a bit of effort and planning to deliver a quick, meaningful introduction.  What often works well as you start to adopt this approach is to write or type these three questions into the meetings notes document.  Then type out your answer below each.  Lastly, below the three question write out two to four sentences that weaves all three answers together in a cohesive manner.

Here’s an example:


Why should the audience engage with you?

I’m an expert on security and compliance for customer communications in the healthcare space

How should they anticipate working with you today or in the future?

I will be working with them to ensure the final solution meets HIPAA guidelines while bringing most value to their team

What is your role in today’s call?

Going to walk through our HIPAA architecture at a high level and ask questions to better understand your goals.

That turns into…

"Good morning, my name is Conor and I’m an expert on security and  compliance for customer communications in the healthcare space.  I’ll be working with you to maximize the value <Company Name> receives while partnering with your experts to ensure the end solutions meets HIPAA guidelines.  Today I’m going to be covering our HIPAA architecture and asking questions to better understand your goals and the present situation."

That may look like a mouthful on paper, but its takes less than 30 seconds to say.  30 seconds isn’t a bad investment when it sets the right expectations on the call.

Over time, building introductions in this fashion will become second nature such that they can be put together in a minute or so.  After years of using this method I continue to type an introduction at the top of my meeting notes under the heading of “Introduction”.  That sets the stage for underneath typing the name, title, and needs of each attendee on the call as a reference.  Speaking of customer needs, sharp introductions are not just for when we introduce ourselves.

Getting the most out of customers’ introductions

Especially early on in engagements, we can use introductions to set the tone of the conversation and even start the discovery process.

An easy way to glean more value from your customers during introductions is to simply ask that as attendees introduce themselves, they also share why they are here or what they hope to accomplish.  You will no doubt get some attendees who say simply, “I’m here to learn more about your product”, or not give up more details.  But that extra 3 seconds of the ask could be the difference between…

“Good morning, everyone. I’m Rebecca, the Product Owner at Fizzy Technology”


“Good morning, everyone.  I’m Rebecca, the Product Owner at Fizzy Technology.  I’m hoping to learn more about your product today because we have issues with the security of our software supply chain, and I hope that you can help.”

Now think what happens when you or your salesperson pipes in quickly to ask a clarifying question or calls back to it later in the conversation.  Solid gold discovery.

What’s even better is that once one person has openly shared as Rebecca did in the example above, other attendees are even more encouraged to share.  A very sharp meeting facilitator will volunteer which customer should go first as either the facilitator of the discussion on their side or the person whose most intent on it.

With all the introductions done, your team is able to tailor their message around the information that your customers have shared.  You are now empowered to later ask the attendees whether they got what they needed from the call and suggest next steps to move the opportunity forward which benefits them.

Variations of "what you hope to get out of the call" are only one of a number of ways your customer's introducing themselves can help set the call up for success.  They are my preference though because asking broad, open ended questions tends to yield better results than very specific ones. However, feel free to try variants until you find a few that work best in your business.

In Conclusion

This method may not be for everyone, but the time spent developing a well thought out introduction pays off in spades.  Customers now know how to interact with you and have potentially also shared what they are after.  You have successfully established credibility with your audience, letting them understand your value and set the stage for a partnership moving forward.  

Now the ball is in your court to execute on the plan you and your sales partner put together that moves your opportunity forward towards a mutually beneficial resolution.

Oh wait…you did have a plan for that call, right?  Right?  Something a little deeper than a list of topics to cover?  One that not only meets your team's needs but also that of your customer's so that everyone is satisfied with moving forward or in agreement not too?  

Need an approach for that?  I'll cover that in my next post.