Sales People Should Never Do A Demo Under These Circumstances

Read this closely.  It’s critical. It may make your stomach a little queasy but, you’ll get over it.

You don’t owe anyone a demo. Just because a prospect or buyer asks for a demo, you don’t owe it to them, and therefore you don’t have to give them one.

Demos are NOT webinars.  “Demos should not be used to demonstrate your product, but rather to show how your product can affect your buyer’s business.”  And it’s for this reason that you should never, ever give a demo if your prospect or buyer doesn’t agree to a discovery process first.

Without a robust discovery built into your demo process, you CAN’T give a powerful demo.

I know, I know, you’re thinking, what it if the prospect or buyer won’t do a discovery process? Then don’t schedule the demo and politely let them know that a 30-minute discovery call is required before the demo, to ensure an effective demo that maps to their needs and requirements.

A demo without a discovery process is a waste of time.  If a buyer wants to see the product, but won’t give you the time to do discovery first, point them to your company’s weekly product webinar. If your company doesn’t do a weekly product demo webinar, ask them to start.

A robust discovery process is about understanding the needs, motivations, issues, problems and challenges of your buyers current situation. It gives you the foundation for crafting a customized, targeted demo that allows the buyer to see how the product will fit into their organization and how it will solve their personal and unique issues.

There is one additional element to this demo thing.  Do NOT attempt to do the discovery at the same time of the demo. Doing discovery for 5 or 10 minutes at the beginning of the demo is foolish. It steals valuable demo time, and it’s almost impossible to customize the demo on the fly.  It’s a messy approach. You can’t get enough information about their business, they often eat up more than five or ten minutes of the call, making the demo feel rushed. Schedule the demo separately and set up the discovery process at few days before the demo. This way you have adequate time to evaluate the information and create a killer, customized demo from what you learn.

A sick demo process looks like this:

1) A weekly “open” demo via webinar – This is an open webinar that walks prospects through the basics of your product. It highlights key differentiators, features, and benefits. Its purpose is to give buyers early in the process a chance to “see it,” without burning too sales time.  It’s open to multiple participants, and folks can sign up via the web. It also acts as a lead generator, capturing names and contact info of participants.

2) Discovery process -The objective of the call is to get a solid understanding of what’s driving the buyers interest in your product and service and what problems they are experiencing. What do they want to fix? The discovery process should be 30 minutes for most companies. Longer than 30 minutes is a big ask for that early in the sales cycle, shorter than 30 minutes makes it difficult to get enough information.  I’ve heard of some companies having success with 20-minute discovery calls, you just have to be very diligent to make them work.

3) Demo – The demo is your chance to show the value of your product or service to your buyer. It should be no more than an hour.  It should focus on no more than 3 or 4 key features that directly align with your customers needs as identified by the discovery process.  It should anchor the customer in the value of your solution for solving their unique problems and challenges.

I recommend scheduling the discovery and the demo at the same time. This makes it feel like a complete process or program, not two separate meetings. It’s best to schedule the discovery process three days before the demo.  For ex: “It would be my pleasure to do a demo for you. Our demo process consists of two steps, a 30-minute discovery process to understand your business and how you’re currently doing (insert business process here), and then a customized demo afterward. This ensures we maximize the demo experience showing you only the features and capabilities that matter most to you and your business.”

If the prospect says no to the discovery process, then politely send them to the webinar. Suggest that if, after that, they want to see more, it might make sense to them to the discovery. Whatever you do, do NOT do a demo without a discovery call.

You don’t owe your buyer or prospect a demo. Just because they ask, doesn’t mean you have to give them one. Don’t get out of wack, your buyer needs to invest in the sales process just as much as you.

No discovery, no demo!