The wording in your product demo means everything.
I mean it; you cannot waste a single word because the best product demos are short, and sweet—and very sales driven. Part of my job as a scriptwriter is to watch our customers’ demos, which are usually presented by the best of the best in their sales teams. This got me thinking that it might be good to talk to our sales leads and see how they sell our product. I talked about how sales makes a company run in my last blog, and I wanted to learn why that’s true.
How do the best in sales sell products in a no nonsense manner? I came to find that their knowledge of sales coupled with my script writing was a pretty dynamite combination. So, I combined some of our ideas and came up with a few good tips that are typically applied in sales—but can also be used in script and demo creation.
Hook your audience
There are free doughnuts in the parking lot.
Did I get your attention? I hope so. In journalism, we call the first part of an article the hook. The hook is intended to draw your audience in and keep them reading your article. I think the “hook” idea can be applied to script-writing and sales as well. According to Entrepreneur.com, if you don’t hook your audience in the first eight seconds, you will lose them. A good salesman knows that if you don’t catch your the attention of your audience right away, they will hang up the phone—or in the case of a demo—shut off the video. That’s why scriptwriters like myself need to take a page out of the salesmen handbook and grab attention in only the first few seconds of our product demo.
The long and short of it is that we live in what my mother once called a “microwave” world. We want things done instantly—that’s why Twitter is so wildly popular--140 characters to “hook” someone’s attention or you are done. If you lose the audience while just reading the script, there’s no way the product demo itself will be good. It would no longer matter how great your product is, or how great the video graphics are. If your script hook doesn’t call for attention, and keep it, you will be dead in the water and you’re better off not even doing the project.
Solve a problem for the audience
This is a strategy that I use every day in my script writing. I know I referenced our CEO Garin’s blog before, but what he’s teaching is so valid. When most salespeople demo a product, they want to show you how the product works. You could spend an hour or more of your life learning how a product works, when you’re not sure you even like it. That’s where solving a problem comes in. I start all of my scripts with problem solution statements. The main object is to tell the audience up front what problem the product solves. I use problems that appeal to people in the industry and relate to their frustrations and serious issues with the problem. This grabs attention and helps the audience know if this is really something they want and how important it is to them.
Now, you might think I'm crazy using a problem as selling point, but I think we run away from our problems too easily sometimes. The Harvard Business Review blog in The Power of Defining the Problem, says, “How many times have you seen an innovation program deliver a seemingly breakthrough result only to find that it can’t be implemented or it addresses the wrong problem? Many organizations need to become better at asking the right questions so that they tackle the right problems.” I think sales and scriptwriters alike need to embrace the power in the problem and sell people on solving the problem rather than just telling them the benefits and features of a product.
Leave them wanting more
I addressed sales and the “call to action” a few blogs ago, and how at the end of every introduction script I write, there is a very sales driven call to action. They usually go something like this: “We’ve got lots more to show you! When this video ends, tell us what is most important to you and we’ll personalize the rest of this demo to your unique interests.” Yes, it’s a call to action, which should engage your audience, but it also serves a whole different purpose--it leaves them wanting more. You’re telling them—“hey! I have more to tell you, but you need to stick around if you want more.” Leaving your audience wanting more is one of the oldest sales tricks in the book. In fact, Another great HBR blog titled, The Power of Restraint: Always Leave Them Wanting More, related a story about a CEO of a motion picture company that truly engaged his staff in a meeting and left them wanting more: “Precisely at this high point of excitement, around the 25-minute mark of the meeting, Mr. Chairman glanced at his watch and announced that he had already taken a meaningful amount of their time and should leave now. He asked them to follow up if any of his thoughts stuck. With some bewilderment goodbyes were said, and that was it — meeting done and wrapped up in just under 30 minutes. But, of course, a long-term relationship ensued.”
This story illustrates the principle of leaving people wanting more perfectly. You want to engage people enough and then at the high point, bow out gracefully. This way your prospect wants to call you—or set up another sales meeting because they are so engaged by you and your product. It’s the same with the script. You want to whet your audience’s appetites enough to have them take your call to action and listen to more of your automated project demo. If you leave your audience wanting more, it almost guarantees a sale or successful product demo.
So, let’s look back to my initial question of how do the best in sales sell products in a no nonsense manner? I guess there is no short answer. Though hooking your audience, solving a problem for your audience, and leaving them wanting more may not be an exhaustive list, it’s a good start.