So much rides on sales demos, and so much can go wrong.
Indeed, so critical are demos that no list of effective B2B sales tips would be complete without mentioning demos and what can go wrong in the course of one. While few demos are flawless, there are some mistakes made during demos that are so egregious that they will destroy the possibility of a sale.
Take this firsthand account from Peter E. Cohan at Great Demo! of a doomed demo and see if you can spot the fatal mistake:
“The demo went stunningly awful when, after 35 minutes of actual demo, the customer interrupted and said, ‘You’re showing stuff that is all associated with XXX; we already have tools to deal with that. We had asked to see how you handle YYY – would you mind moving to that?’
“The presenter could have rescued the demo at this point by (1) apologizing and then (2) asking a few Discovery questions about the YYY topic, before moving the mouse any further… However, what do you think happened?
“Sadly, the presenter simply changed scripts and commenced his ‘standard’ demo for YYY… Stunningly awful! Needless to say, they didn’t get the business!”
Did you catch it? When the customer has to remind you to personalize the demo for them, you know you’re in trouble. Yes, you’ve succeeded in embarrassing yourself, but you’ve sent some distinctly terrible signals to the customer.
First, you’ve signaled that you didn’t care enough about them to learn what tools they already have. This could’ve been as easy as chatting with whoever did their discovery call.
Second, you signaled your cluelessness when you failed to notice that what you were presenting wasn’t resonating with them, not enough to elicit a response.
Lastly, your decision to cling to the standard script signaled a gross lack of preparation or familiarity with the demo. How can you help them understand a product that you barely know yourself?
Ultimately, an inability to personalize your demo for your customer’s unique needs tells customers they can’t rely on or trust you.
Luckily, few salespeople will crash and burn this badly, but, to co-opt that famous Edmund Burke quote: “The only thing necessary for the triumph of unpersonalized demos is for good salespeople to do nothing.”
So you owe it to yourself to learn the art of the personalized demo. Start by learning your demo so thoroughly that you can focus entirely on adapting it for the customer’s needs and modify on the fly accordingly.
Then, with every upcoming demo, take the time to learn the customer’s needs. You can’t personalize your demo if you know nothing about them.
Finally, once the demo begins, be listening for questions and concerns that might take you away off script but closer to what matters most to the customer.
And once you’ve mastered the art of the personalized demo, turn your attention to your companies supporting assets around demos: Powerpoints, videos, etc. Ask yourself: Do these assets provide sufficient flexibility for personalization? Are they so rigid as to hamper personalization?
If you are willing to do the hard work of personalizing your demos, you will find that, as you move on to later stages of the sales process, you’ve earned sufficient trust and confidence to ask them to advocate for your product and move other stakeholders to an agreement.
To learn how Consensus delivers personalized sales demos to each stakeholder, click on the orange “Watch Demo” button below.