Product demos are tough. I mean, really tough. Depending on your sales funnel, it may be the first time you get some real face time with the prospect. After watching countless product demos and speaking with our sales team, I’ve compiled a list of best practices that will transform you into an unstoppable demo powerhouse.
1. Make sure your prospect is ready to demo
This is a no brainer. However, it's so simple it is often overlooked. Demoing too early is a surefire way to hit the self-destruct button on your sale. I get it though. Your product is awesome and you want to show off all of the features. Take a minute to slow down. Talking with the prospect and discovering where they lie in the buyers journey will give you a good indication of whether or not they are ready to see your product in action. A great salesperson will provide value to the prospect at every stage of the buyer process while advancing them through the sales funnel. Good questions and actionable follow up appointments will ensure the prospect is ready and gets the most bang for their buck.
2. Set a clear agenda
People don’t like big surprises and remember, your prospects are people too, not just $$$. Set a clear agenda ahead of time outlining the benefits you will be discussing with them. Make sure these benefits are relevant to their needs based on your previous conversations. This is a good time to plan where you want the prospect to be by the end of the demo as well. The demo is not an excuse to stop selling; The prospect needs to be further along in their buyer’s journey, not just more knowledgeable about how many buttons your product has.
3. Schedule your time appropriately
Time yourself demoing and get a good idea of how long it takes to get your main points across. Start to ensure your appointment is scheduled appropriately. Don’t schedule an hour when 30 minutes will do. Your prospect’s time is valuable and they are taking the time to meet with you. At the same time don’t forget that your time is just as valuable as theirs. Selling time is limited throughout the day and you want to be selling as much as possible. If you want to learn more about limited sales time, read this post on how demos eat up time.
4. Set some goals you want to achieve
It's important to set some goals ahead of time that will help advance the prospect down the pipe.
Dan, one of our rockstar account executives here at CONSENSUS™, had some great advice for providing a great demo. Set some personal and sales goals over the course of the demo. I’ll summarize for him:
- Have an engaging and interesting conversation with the prospect. Work days are long and having a great conversation makes the work day more fun. It also helps build a relationship.
Teach the prospect something they’ve never thought of before. Having the prospect express something new to them is a great feeling, it’s much better than lukewarm agreements or head nodding.
Get the prospect to verbally express some enthusiasm. The best part of a demo is when the prospect says “that is really interesting” or “that’s great! that’s exactly what we need.”
5. Research, Research, Research. Then Research some more.
This cannot be stated enough times. Know your prospect, their needs, and their company inside and out. Try to use their language, talk about what is relevant to their unique needs, know what their brand is all about. The more you can demonstrate what you know about them the more impressed they will be. If you want to reach super-stardom, skin your demo with their branding, that way they will know exactly how it will look and feel after implementation. If you are using a screenshare demo, have their website open at the very least. This will demonstrate to them that you took the time to look at and research their company.
6. Be flexible: Have a playbook
Another piece from Sales 101. Be flexible with the way the conversation goes. If a prospect is clearly interested in a subject, by all means continue discussing and expanding upon that area. Likewise, if the prospect is nodding off, rework your messaging and get them reengaged. It is helpful to have a list of strategies written down for possible scenarios, objections, and questions so you can respond quickly and on the fly. Working off of a script is not a dynamic or effective way to handle a prospect's questions and possible objections. The script approach is a great way to get ejected from an office or call.
7. Open with a strong value proposition
A compelling hook is a great way to start any presentation. Keep the value proposition as short and sweet as possible. Prospects should understand the value you bring to the table in 90 seconds or less. The value proposition reorients and anchors the prospect (since your last discussion may have been weeks ago).
8. Show the goods. Don't take the scenic route.
Depending on your product, the buying panel you demo to might not be the end user...They might not even look at the product after implementation. This makes it even more important to focus on benefits and features that are only relevant to their high level needs. Giving a lengthy tour of all of the features like images, graphs, reports, buttons, spreadsheets, analytics, automated campaigns, videos, e-learning, etc is a great way to have the buying panel lose interest and disconnect from your message. I was bored just from listing those possible features. Drill down to the specifics and nitty-gritty details only if it is requested.
9. Be creative and stylish
Use powerpoint, prezi, video, or other tools to make your presentation look as stylish and impressive as it deserves to be. Not feeling creative? Recruit someone from your marketing or creative department to make a sleek, well designed presentation. Make sure to test it out an an audience before you use it. This is a good idea because it can keep your creativity in check. If you aren’t familiar with current best practices of video or design, it can be tempting to let your imagination run while and fill the powerpoint with tons of effects and animations. This can backfire and make your presentation look gimmicky and amatuer. Your presentation should leave people in awe with a standing ovation.
10. Don’t let your product demo feel like “the demo”
The last thing you want is for your product to feel like a used car or television. What do I mean by this? We’ve all dealt with these kinds of salespeople. They try a hard sell approach, use the ABC (always-be-closing) mantra of sales, and spend the conversation raving about all the whiz-bang features. These sales types ignore what you say and use up valuable oxygen. Don't do this to your prospect! Your product is the solution to your prospects daily stresses and headaches. Demos are still a great time to ask questions and learn more about the customer. Use questions to personalize the experience.
11. Set a follow up with actionable next steps
I discussed this a little bit in the first section of this post but I want to restate it because it is so crucial in the sales process. The demo is not the time to stop selling. You have the prospect’s undivided attention. Prescribe solutions that will solve their problems. Make sure your demo sticks to them like an extra helping of oatmeal in the morning. When you follow up, the prospect should be out of the evaluation stage and should be ready to make a purchase decision.