Tips and Tricks for your Product Demos

September 9, 2013 | Don Pottinger

Getting a potential buyer to agree to give up precious time in their schedule to watch your demo is a huge step in the sales process. But the demo is often the make-it or break-it time in the sales cycle. The demo could be the deciding factor for your contact so below are some tips and tricks to help ensure you’re giving an all-star demo.

  • Be prepared. You may think this goes without saying but preparation is key to a product demo.
  • Product demoTest your equipment. Are you using a computer, phone or camera? Test them all beforehand to make sure they are all working properly. Are you showing a website or cloud app? Test the pages and app for performance issues PRIOR to jumping on a call, there’s nothing worse than having to claim a “slow internet connection” when your app isn’t working properly.  
  • Know your product. Many sales reps may think this is a no brainer but really KNOWING your product and space builds your creditability and thought leadership. Not only should you take the time to learn about your apps’ new features but having some base technical knowledge goes a long way too.
  • Know your competition. Just like you would never go to battle unarmed, going into a product demo and not knowing who else your prospect is evaluating can come back to bite you. By knowing who you are up against you can position your product to highlight your strengths where you know your competition is weak. Remember not to bash you competition, keep it classy and beat them on product, knowledge and even friendliness.
  • Know your prospect. In the day and age where so much information is available via social media, make sure to do your homework on your prospect prior to the demo. Don’t be creepy about using social findings during the demo, but there may be a chance to subtly make a personal comment that could lead to a great connection.
  • Customize it. Generally you should follow a predetermined outline you’ve practiced and prepared for, but make sure to customize each demo based on research on your prospect, their company and their specific needs. Focus on what your prospect is trying to achieve through the use of your product and highlight those things.
  • Tell a story. While doing your homework and knowing your product inside-and-out is key to preparation, it can often lead to a major pitfall during a demo: ‘feature throw-up’. Being proud of your app and product goes hand-in-hand with being passionate about what you are selling, however, not every prospect needs to see and hear about every little detail of each feature. By developing a story around your prospect’s pain points and sticking to it while giving the demo, you will increase your close rate by making it more relatable.
  • Make it interactive. I LOVE to talk and I know most sales people share that character trait with me but sometimes we just need to shut-up and listen. Being prepared and having a general “script” to follow is great to have, but remember to listen to prospect feedback and questions to respond correctly–DO NOT just jump into your next outlined point.
  • Go with the flow. You can never rehearse too much but make sure to leave room in your demo to be flexible. For example, someone may need you to repeat some information, go into more detail or even ask you to show a feature you weren’t planning to show them. Leave some wiggle room for the unexpected.
  • Have a back up plan. Inevitability we have all used the line “it wouldn’t be a demo if something didn’t go wrong.” While we can have everything prepped ahead of time, we are still talking about the cloud and sometime things just don’t go as planned. By having screen shots of what you want to show or even a product demo video prepared in place of a live one you may be able to avoid your prospect even picking up on the fact that things aren’t going as planned.

What else have you found helpful for your product demos during the sales process?