How Not To Win My Business via Karen Eng


I realize this is PR (possibly even paid PR), but still…

Erin Chan Ding, Special to the Tribune, writes:

When Karen Eng meets with potential clients, she often totes along her iPad so she can show off a prized photo. In it, she stands beaming on a boat, raising the tail of a short-nosed swordfish she’s just reeled in off the coast of Maui. It weighed 40 pounds.

In her world of engineering, one predicated on prototypes and programs, this is Eng’s way to place the focus on relationships.

“Almost every single time,” Eng said, “I go in there, and you have your slot, from like 10 to 10:30 a.m., to present. The people before me and the people after me are two men. …

“And they wear khaki slacks or black slacks and a blue shirt and a white shirt. And so there is this, whatever you want to call it, standardization that goes on.

“And then I show up, and I have, like, this (iPad), and I go, ‘First of all, I need to show you, I caught this fish.’

“Or I’ll say something like, ‘One of my favorite things in the whole wide world is nacho cheese,’ which it really is. That kind of personalizes it, you know, versus just getting started, straight up, like a presentation.”

(click here to continue reading Executive profile: Karen Eng –

When vendors pull this crap with me, I am irritated more than charmed. I don’t tell the vendor because I try my best to always be unfailingly polite, but I’m thinking, “Why the hell are you wasting my time with this twaddle?!”

I don’t care about your kids, your kids’ soccer game, your fishing stories, whatever. Get to the point first, if there is time left over at the end of your presentation, I might be willing to hear about your non-work life, but save it until then. In this type of meeting, I’m not looking to make friends, I’m looking for solutions for business problems (whatever they might be).

In other words, if Ms. Eng came into my conference room, and spent most of the time allocated for our meeting talking about nacho cheese and big fish she caught, I would most likely not hire her. Building strong relationships with vendors is important, true, but prove yourself worthy first.

1 thought on “How Not To Win My Business via Karen Eng

  1. Dr. Eng says:

    Interesting remarks, Mr. Anderson. First of all, it was unsolicited when the Chicago Tribune asked to profile my company & me. So let’s agree our merits landed me the profile. Second, when I’m connecting to my (potential) clients’ A/V projector, my screen saver is a great memory. If you’ve presented at a client site for the first time, you’ll understand that there can be an awkward silence while setting up so when it pops up- it breaks the ice for the few seconds prior to your presentation loading up.

    I wasn’t privy to proofing the article so accurately, I was at a nacho cheese manufacturing facility presenting our services. It was an applicable 5 second comment, and (WOW), I am currently doing some great work for them as a vendor.

    What works for me may not work for others, but hey, I am worthy.
    Dr.Karen Eng

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