Last Updated Jul 2, 2009 8:48 AM EDT
Product demos are the hardest thing that most sales reps ever do. A demo has all the elements of a sales presentation -- with the additional burden of having to show off the product. There's lots to think about, and a lot can go wrong. With that in mind, here are 15 rules for making product dem...os more effective:
- RULE #1: Use the demo as a proof point. A good demonstration should reinforce the sales message and "prove" that the sales claims are true.
- RULE #2. Focus on the decision-makers. Make sure that the demo shows clearly what in the software for THEM!
- RULE #3. Don't try to show too much. Focus the demo on an appropriate goal, like "show the CFO how the ROI claims are true".
- RULE #4. Don't repeat yourself. Repetition doesn't add credibility. It just makes the demo boring. So don't show a feature more than once.
- RULE #5. Don't anticipate feature needs. Unless you are 100 percent certain that a specific feature is of interest, don't demo it.
- RULE #6. Test to see whether you're done. When you have given your demo, check to see whether the prospect understands and is satisfied.
- RULE #7. Never demonstrate to non-stakeholders. Demoing to all and sundry creates opportunities for something to go wrong.
- RULE #8. Take control of the demonstration. If you let the customer lead the demo, you could getting into areas that your product doesn't do well.
- RULE #9. Give demonstrations at the right time. There's a natural time in the sales cycle when the demo will have the most impact. Use it.
- RULE #10. Don't talk too techie. Focus on what the product will do for the prospect's firm, not on how your product functions internally.
- RULE #11. Scrap the jargon. Phrases like "best in class" and "bleeding edge" just make you look foolish, especially in front of a tech-savvy audience.
- RULE #12. Pay attention to the plot. A good demo tells a story with a beginning, middle and end. The plot ALWAYS stars the customer (not YOU!).
- RULE #13. Prepare for disaster. Provide, prior to the demo, a plausible excuse why it might not work, ideally one that can't be blamed on you.
- RULE #14. Have a backup plan. Have some other sales-oriented activity that can fill the gap if the demo encounters a problem.
- RULE #15. No spokesmodels, please! Hiring eye candy to do your demos just tells customers you think they're stupid and easily distracted.