Don’t miss these 5 factors at your next product demo

Product demos can make or break your business, especially in the technology space.

If you ever thought that delivering a sales pitch with a presentation needed work, adding a demo takes it to a whole other level. Very often, a product demo follows an eloquent sales presentation. The sales/business development team would have just thrown everything except the kitchen sink at the customer and guess what, the demonstration is the kitchen sink!

If product demos are part of your sales process, then here are 5 tips to help you deliver an awesome demo to knock everyone’s socks off.

Get the right person

Who should be delivering the demonstration?

Too often, we see an engineering/QA team member thrust into the spotlight to deliver the all-important demonstration. However, these team members chose their profession because they didn’t want to be in the limelight and they usually do not have the stomach for the pressures of client handling. Therefore, this is the wrong person to use for your demonstrations!

A demo should always be delivered by the sales team. This is non-negotiable. The sales team should have the confidence, knowledge and competence to walkthrough the product and showcase its features and value to the client. If the sales team is not able to do so, it points to a deeper challenge in that your sales team may not fully appreciate what your product does and this could be holding them back in their sales capacity.

Plan everything

Usually, when you prepare for a demonstration, you have a sense of what you are going to be doing. You know what you will click, which pages will load and what you need to do on each page.

However, very often we forget to plan the little things. When doing a demonstration, it needs to go like clockwork (or it should seem so to your customer). Every awkward pause, every silent moment is a loaded statement to your customer that the product is not easy to use or something is wrong (and they should not buy).

Therefore, next time when you are preparing, try to plan everything down to the smallest detail. If your demonstration involves filling out an online registration form, ahead of time decide on what name you are going to use, what phone number, whose email, etc. And when you practice make sure to use the same! This ensures your system won’t throw out an error message when you type in the text, and you can flow through the demo so seamlessly that your customer will feel confident the product is easy to use.

Tailor the demonstration 

Never walk into a demonstration with a generic or an unrelated scenario. If you are selling an ERP solution to a construction firm, don’t use examples of a grocer. Your customer is paying you to tell her the solution to her problem, not the grocer’s.

Narrate the mundane

Most product demos become awkward because of the long silences during the demonstration. Having an on-going commentary of what you are doing keeps the audience engaged.

If your system is taking time to return a result or load the next page, explain what is happening in the backend. For example, you could explain that the system has now sent the customer code to the database, and the database is searching through the records and identifying all the transactions that are related to this particular customer and will then be sending back the complete list.

At the same time keep in mind, you do not need to keep a narrative going for the entire duration. Silences are okay, what you do not want is the customer to think that ‘something unexpected is happening’.

Prepare for the unexpected

Unfortunately, no matter how much you prepare, Murphy’s Law may just kick in at the wrong moment to ruin your demonstration. It is important to decide ahead of time what your catch-all statement would be to excuse the issue.

A catch-all statement is something you can say to buy time or pardon an error that has taken place and, if required, restart or postpone the demonstration. Now, I am not advocating that you should lie or try to hoodwink the customer but if an unusual number of issues keep arising, it may be considerate to tell the client that something is not right and reschedule – saving the clients time and giving you an opportunity to make a better impression next time.

It is important to remember that demonstrations are usually the last element of proof a customer needs before agreeing to invest in your product. Therefore, being lazy with your preparation could hurt you badly in the wallet.

Hope you find these pointers helpful when you deliver your next demonstration!