For a user, if a product with its features and description is just a body then we can say that a demo gives it life. A product demo is more than a mere display or elaboration of features, it is a narrative. This narrative helps your client place the numbers, the feature list and the product descriptions in a context that is relevant to them. Hence a product demo should ideally tell a story, a story that your client wants to hear today.
In this guide, we’ll take you through the essentials of any sales demo, things you should keep in mind, what to include and what to keep aside and we will try to give you some practical tips on how you can ace your next one.
Why Do You Need a Sales Demo?
When you are trying to sell a product, your client is not just buying your product but also your expertise. They are also investing in your dedication that they become a successful customer and get a promotion for implementing your solution. They are buying more than a product, they are looking for a true partnership.
Product demos are a crucial tool for building trust and to lay a solid foundation for future partnerships. A good demo not only helps you close the deal but also takes your clients closer to what the actual product would be like, it makes them feel more informed and makes them feel that they know what they are doing. Trust me, that's a good feeling.
What Makes a Good Sales Demo?
Demos can be given to prospective customers to close a deal or even to a present customer to educate them about the product they just bought. Whatever the stage your buyer is in, they would need a demonstration from you.
This demonstration is your company’s take on your own product and even though all the product details are given on the website, customers want to know why you’ve made the product and why you want to sell it to them. What they essentially demand is your story. And any good storyteller knows that a story is rarely about the storyteller but more about the audience themselves.
Thus good sales demos don't have to be perfect for the product, they've to be perfect for the audience.
Big Mistakes to Avoid
Lack of proper planning
Plan properly. Do not assume things, even if you have prior experience and you think that you know the industry in and out. It always helps to conduct some client-specific research. Use platforms like LinkedIn, company website, Twitter and other digital platforms to learn about your client. Try to know more about the customer base of your client, the kind of solutions they offer and the value they bring to their own clients.
Knowing these things about your client will help you see why they might be looking for your solution, why your solution is best suited, how is it better than available alternatives, and how it can help them get things done. With proper research and planning, you’ll be in a better position to find out what challenges your product or service is catering to and how you can position it in your demo to make your point.
Proper planning not only helps you deliver a customised and relevant sales demo, but it also helps you to be better prepared for different scenarios and client questions. After your research, you can go ahead and plan the demo as per the set expectation or agenda of your client. You can be ready and prepared with a possible list of questions, with all the statistics and data, testimonials and case studies, that the client might need and demand during the demo.
Not knowing what’s expected
Clients want to know everything before they make their buying decision. They want to know the product details, available alternatives, support and maintenance options and so on. They want to be clear with the 'why' and 'what' of all buying options, they want to be aware and smart in their choices.
But the problem that many sales reps face is that their clients often do not always exactly know what they want to know.
Lack of such realisations clouds their expectations from the purchase and they have little to no parameter to either make a timely decision or to later evaluate their decision’s efficacy.
This is where sales and product demos come in. You want to capture the attention of your buyer and inform them of the things you think they would need.
How do you know what they need?
Because you have followed a rigorous discovery process. Sales and product demos can thus be challenging and without thorough research, one would have little idea on where to begin, on what to include and what to leave out.
Giving Too Many Details
Many a time we give out more details than we should. This happens not just in real life situations but also during sales demos. We don’t want to be wrong, we want to not to miss anything, and to cover things in as much detail as possible. This might sound correct in most situations but when giving sales demos, you should avoid giving too many details.
Giving details not relevant to your clients’ needs and demands can be counterproductive. The important features might get buried beneath the haystack of features that you list out and by the time you want the client to focus and pay attention, they might already be too bored and distracted.
Keep your sales demo precise and crisp. Address the questions people want answers to, not the ones you happen to know the answers to. Custom building your demo, upon proper research, is thus crucial to prioritise and present information during the demo presentation.
Sales Demo Best Practices
i) Asking Insightful and Probing Questions
The questions you ask your clients are your gems, your most important possessions. Listen carefully, be aware, assertive, and ask revealing questions. These questions will help you get closer to what your client has in their mind and will also help you define your product better in context to what is being expected.
Asking insightful questions is not only revealing for you but also for your client. They can also realize and pay attention to previously ignored things. Some leading questions can be:
- What is the current situation?
- What are the challenges in continuing with the present solution?
- What are your companies most important goals, presently and in the long-term?
- What do you expect the new solution to achieve and what features excite you the most?
ii) Using a CRM tool
Crucial data from your research, the answer to your questions, client requirements, competitor analysis, etc. can be very helpful for your present and future communications. Sales professionals should not only gather but store, categorise, and track this data properly.
CRM tools available in the market (like HubSpot, Zoho) let you store and track information at a central location. You can store crucial information relevant to future conversations, what problems you are solving for your client and so on.
iii) Do Not Rush through your Demo
Rushing through your demo i.e. trying to give all the details within the stipulated time can be a disaster. It is like watching a movie in fast forward just to tick it off your watching list.
Simplify your demo by highlighting the most important features relevant to the client. Make it clear that using your product is going to make their jobs and lives easier. Spend more time on those features and help your prospects understand the value of those features for their business.
iv) Following the 'Script'
As far as a 'script' for your demo is concerned, you should avoid extremes. It is not good to have no script, it shows your lack of research and planning. On the other hand, follow the script to the letter, you are doomed to sound monotonous and robotic.
Keep a broad script handy, follow a process that keeps a good flow to the overall presentation. But at the same time be open to client suggestions and spend more time on features you feel they are more interested in i.e. keep your script adjustable.
v) Observe and Understand
Pay close attention to your client’s engagement analytics to get insights into the buyer behavior. Notice how they are interacting with your sales emails and content.
These insights will help you identify what the buyer’s journey stage your client is in, you can know about prospect roles and relationships within organizations. This not only helps you frame your future communications with the client but is very crucial for understanding your buyer’s environment and hence helps in making the demo as relevant and as personal as possible.
Preparing your sales demo like a presentation will make you sound like a salesman. You list out the product features, all essential details, ask preliminary questions, follow your script and move on.
But a sales demo need not be that, it can be a story.
A story is more conversational. Follow a narrative, tell your story, tell them what you know and ask them what they want to know, you build trust because of your insights, you are dynamic not headstrong, you converse yet remain relevant.