Why Sales People’s Product Demo’s Suck and What to Do About it!

Product demos and trials seem to be the thing these days, especially in the world of SaaS (Software as a Service). Everyone wants to get there hands on the product before they buy.

So much so, it has become part of most sales cycles. Customers want to see, touch and feel the product now. They want to experience what they are going to buy. They want to experience how it feels and how complex or easy it is to use. They want to see if it can deliver on its promise or if its more hype than substance. Product demos and trials have quickly become standard operating procedure in sales today and this trend shows no sign of abating.

A demo or trial should be used to validate your claims as a solution and as a tool to deliver a compelling story on how your product will impact their sales organization by solving or eradicating a current problem.

The unfortunate result of this demand for trials or demos is that sales people suck at them. They are rushing to the demo as way to sell the product and this is a big mistake. Demos and trials are not sales tools to highlight the product or service. They shouldn’t be used to showcase all the cool features and benefits, bells and whistles. That’s not their purpose, yet too many sales people use them in this way and that’s a problem.

A demo or trial should be used to validate your claims as a solution and as a tool to deliver a compelling story on how your product will impact their organization by solving or eradicating a current problem. In other words demos and trials need to be constructed as a way to demonstrate how your solution will solve their specific problems now! Not as a way to demonstrate features and functions.

What’s the difference? Most trials or demos go like this; “Now this is our portal page, this is where your employees build their modules and store their portfolios. Next, I’m going to show you how they can share documents.” Blah, blah blah!!! No one gives a shit.

A real demo should start with one of the specific problems or challenges the customer or prospect said they are having. They sound more like this; “During our previous conversation you stated your team was having a difficult time sharing documents and collaborating was difficult. In this part of the demo we want to show you how you would be able to share documents easier and increase collaboration without breaking your current file structure and maintaining federal compliance.”

Shitty demos focus on your product and its features and benefits. Killer demos focus on the customer or prospect and their problems and challenges. It’s that simple.

The best way to stay on track and deliver killer demos and trials that focus on the customer and not the product is to request the evaluation criteria before a demo or trial is given. In other words, when a prospect requests a demo be sure to gain agreement on what the prospect is going to evaluate, how they are going to evaluate the demo, and what outcomes they are looking for. The key here is to put some rigor and focus around the demo or trial. You want to know how the demo is going to be judged a success and how they will determine if the product is for them. By knowing how your client is going to determine success of the demo or trial and what they want to see allows you to customize the experience to deliver what they want and NEED to see. Knowing how your prospect is going to evaluate the demo and or trial prevents needless energy from being focused on the wrong thing and ensures your selling to their decision criteria.

Don’t rush to the demo and don’t use the demo to demonstrate the product or it’s features. Use the demo to show how it will solve the actual, real world problems your prospect is suffering from.  Use the demo to make the customer feel as if their problem is disappearing right in front of you as you give it. Get the customer feel that if they implement your product or service right now all their pain and frustration will melt away.  That’s the kinda demo you want to give.

No one gives a shit about your products bells and whistles AND neither should you.  The only thing anyone cares about is; will it make their world better and that’s what the demo should do — answer YES! to that question.

In the end, whatever you do, don’t screw up the demo.


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