There are more ways to get a demo wrong than there are ways to make it compelling and useful. If what you sell requires you demo for your prospective clients, the following eight laws will allow you to rule your demo—and improve your odds of winning.
A Demo is a Sales Call
The first—and most important—law when giving a demo is to operate as if it is a sales call (because it is a sales call). When you get this wrong, you behave as if the software is going to do all the selling for you (entering from the left). When you approach the meeting as a sales call, you start with the outcomes the software generates for your clients (entering from the right).
Because the sales call includes a demo, you are likely to have different levels of stakeholders in the meeting. These stakeholders need different outcomes, and the four levels of value to speak to this fact, treating all levels as necessary. The end users care about the product and need to know it works. Other stakeholders want to know about the experience working with you and your company. Still, others care about strategic outcomes.
Your ability to link what you share to the outcomes is what makes for a successful sales call, even if you call it a demo.
Like any sales call, a successful demo starts with a strong opening in which you 1). Thank the practice and the stakeholders for their time, 2). Share your agenda, 3). Suggest the next steps you will ask for at the end of the meeting, and 4). Invite the stakeholders to share with you any adjustments to the agenda they may want or need from you.
The pro tip here is to preview how you intend to speak to the individual needs of the different stakeholder’s needs. The more you demonstrate you understand each individual’s needs and concerns, the more effective the demo, and the better the sales call.
It also doesn’t hurt to have a sense of humor.
When you are meeting with a group of people from your dream client’s company, you want to acknowledge them and learn a little bit about how you might best serve them. Start by asking for the attendee’s name, title, and how long they’ve worked for their company. If you have done enough discovery that they know what to expect and you know enough about their needs, you can ask them to share what they need to see from a demo to be confident it can meet their needs and improve their experience.
The more productive you are at making sure everyone gets to see and hear what they need to be confident in changing, the more effective your sales call (demo).
Confirm Decision-Makers Attendance
One of the significant problems you run headlong into when you provide a demo is that the person with seniority and authority often goes missing. What most people do when this happens is plow through the demo without addressing the fact that the person you need in the room is absent; pretending it is okay may be polite, but it doesn’t do anything to improve your chances of winning without a person you know is critical to the process.
You ask if the person can join you, and if they cannot, you ask if someone can confirm a follow-up call where you can bring them up to speed. To make this work, you have to identify the person that will help you acquire that meeting and ask them directly for help. You do not have to wait until the meeting ends to recruit their help.
Start with Why Change
It is natural to want to dive right into your demo. That is what you believe your contacts are there to see. You are better starting off by sharing the reason your product or service exists in the first place. You expect too much of your product or software if you believe it is going to answer the question, “Why should we change what we are doing now?“
Differentiate your product or software by explaining how it improves your client’s lives by eliminating the difficulties they struggle with as it pertains to the outcomes they are charged with creating. However, it is important to remember that different stakeholders will have a different view of what that value is.
Tie the Value to the Future State
You might say something like, “You know how you have that one problem that causes you to have to do this difficult thing using that cumbersome process? Here is how we get that outcome without all that effort.”
Alternatively, you say, “You know how you have struggled to acquire the new clients you need and have experienced more churn than you believe is warranted? The outcomes we help our clients generate reverse these trends.”
The demo is not going to connect the dots between what you do and how it benefits your clients. It is your job to show them the connection between what your product or service does and how it ensures the outcome your dream client needs from you. This is pure sales. The demo helps support the conversation; the conversation doesn’t support the demo (see law number 1).
Confirm the Value
You want to ensure that the stakeholders are tracking with you and agree that what you are showing them will help them produce better results. One of the outcomes of a sales call is to ensure it was valuable for your clients. You also need them to share their questions and concerns, which means you must ask for them.
Schedule Next Steps
No sales call is successful if you don’t gain a commitment to do what comes next. This is as true for a demo as it is for every other sales call you might make. You want to control the process, sharing what works best for your clients after a demo—and when they want the better results you just spent an hour or more discussing with them.
Follow these laws and make your demo the best sales call your dream client has ever experienced.
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Filed under: Sales