8 steps to delivering a killer demo – tips from sales-i

A good demonstration can make or break a deal. We’ve all seen a range of pitches and presentations. We’ve all hidden behind our hands in horror, but not often enough sat slack-jawed in amazement. Why aren’t we often impressed? How can you deliver a killer demo?

Honestly, it is very difficult to make the same content fun when you deliver the same speech eight times a day, five days a week, every month. There is a reason why only a few actors amaze us on day 187 of a West End show, we can tell that a lot of the words have lost their meaning to them.

We know how hard it is to create that magic moment between salesperson and prospect during a demo. That is why we have made an 8-point list to set you on the right track.

1. MAKE SURE YOUR PROSPECT IS READY
A demonstration of your product will require a commitment of time – yours and theirs. It also will involve a lot of information. Are they ready to take this onboard? Will they really understand it in terms of how they would benefit from your product?

They might be ready early in the sales process as they have done their homework on your company. Equally, they may be a returning prospect who you have dealt with before. However, chances are that they like the idea of what you are selling but haven’t really found out the basics of your possible transaction, these being product fit, implementation impact, buy-in from their peers and, of course, costs.

If possible, don’t waste valuable time with a full demonstration until you are ready to talk about the finer details.

It might be that you need to create an overview demonstration. This would be a very brief look into the product or service you provide to help bridge the gap between this interest and commitment period in the sales process.

2. PERSONALIZE THE DEMO
Ditch the set script. It seems obvious but so few actually take the time to create a demo specifically for each client. Once you have convinced a prospect to commit to a demonstration with you (online or face-to-face) your job isn’t done. You need to use the demo to show how amazing your product and show that you listened to their needs.

The demo is really your first chance to show your outstanding customer service. Making the content tailored to their business challenges will not only prove that your product can help solve these issues but will demonstrate that you (and your company by extension) make your prospects needs a priority.

A well-created demo will show the value of your company, not just your product, to a prospect. It will also begin to build trust in your on-going relationship. You need to prioritize addressing what your prospect wants to achieve with your product and make every moment of your demo count.

3. SET AN AGENDA AHEAD OF TIME AND AGREE ON IT WITH YOUR PROSPECT
If you have done your homework, and we hope you have by now, you will have a focussed plan on what you are going to cover during your demo.

Map out all of the issues your prospect has that they think your product can solve, plus the ones they may not have thought of yet and put them in order of importance. Remember that this is importance according to your prospect, not you or what fits best with your usual demo content.

Be clear in your pre-demo communications (and again on the day) of what solutions you are showing your prospect. If you can solve their biggest issues up-front in the demo you will have their attention for all the little extras you may be trying to up-sell. Also, having an agenda split into their concerns will allow for regular breaks to discuss each section with your prospect, keeping them engaged and the whole demo moving forward.

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4. DEMO, DON’T TRAIN
Even if you think you have done enough by switching the content of your demo around to address the needs of your prospect, that is just the beginning. Now you need to make sure you don’t slip into training them on the product. It is all too easily done.

OK, so don’t pretend you are aren’t guilty of this. You start the demo and before you know it you are talking through where you are clicking on the screen and why. Stop yourself here. What is the value of talking through the process with a prospect when what they actually care about is what the result of this process is?

Let’s go old school with an example. You are doing a demonstration of how versatile your new vacuum cleaner is. Do you talk through a prospect with how you plug the vacuum into the mains power? Do you explain how to change the nozzles and where they are stored on the machine? No, that is all basic information on how to use the product. They want to know what it does.

What you need to show is the product in action. If they have told you they have an issue with a vacuum working over different surfaces without lengthy attachment changeovers – that is what you do. Get vacuuming across every surface you can and make that process as easy and impressive as possible.

5. MAKE IT INTERESTING
We all appreciate a bit of razzle-dazzle in a presentation but don’t be tempted to go too far. Your presentation shouldn’t make a prospect motion sick so restrict yourself to a palette of effects, colors and fonts. Three of each is enough for most demonstrations. You are selling a product after all, not your design wizardry.

Remember that you are talking to another human being. Facts and figures are great. You can hammer them home for great impact but these reinforce the human element of you and your company brand. If a prospect doesn’t like you, they will rarely buy from you.

A great tactic to build this emotional attachment for your prospect is storytelling. Using relatable stories throughout your demo will provide a real-world context for your prospect. Placing them in a real-life situation, but one where your product can help them, will provoke a positive emotional response and build a stronger connection between the prospect and your product.

Finally, a well-developed story with the prospect and their challenges at the heart of it will be something they remember. The fact that your product saves the day in this story will be ingrained in their minds as you continue the sales process.

6. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
If you have fallen victim to training instead of presenting your demo in the past, you need to practice your new style. This may be easier if you have common issues that you often have to address in your demos. You can streamline your actions to demonstrate the ease-of-use of your product whilst not forgetting a single benefit in your verbal pitch.

Practice isn’t just for your performance. Make sure you have all the technical resources you need to make your demonstration perfect.

7. NEXT STEPS
You did an amazing demo! Congrats. Now what?

Well, you need to know what next before you end your demonstration. You need to get another commitment from your prospect before you let them go. When will you get back in touch with them? When will they be ready to discuss next steps such as involving additional people in the process, contract negotiations and additional services such as training and support?

You need to lock down a schedule of next steps to ensure you don’t lose momentum with your prospect after your fantastic demo.

8. ASK FOR FEEDBACK
Finally, don’t forget to ask them about your demonstration. You may ask directly in follow-up communications or via an anonymous feedback form from your company. The best way to make sure what you are doing is working is by asking the people you are actually doing the demonstrations for.

No one method will be perfect and that is why a process of review is critical to staying on top of your game and give you the best chance at closing a deal in future.

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