The demo is a central part of the sales journey. The sale relies on this one moment of perfection – or does it? There’s actually more to a successful product demo than an hour-long presentation. A good demo should be conceived like a race. Anyone who took PE as a kid knows that you don’t just step onto the track and start running. There’s a lot of hard work that goes into preparing for that moment the gun goes off. The actual race is just a small part of a longer voyage. You can think of sales like a running race with three stages: the warm-up, the race itself, and the cool-down period. Nail all three stages and you’ll likely be on your way to forging a new client relationship.
How you prepare for your sales demo may be even more important that the moment itself. When an athlete fails to stretch her muscles before the race, she doesn’t perform as well.
- Understanding your customer. The first step is to empathize with your prospect. From the potential client’s perspective, there may be a lot of risks to implementing your product. Think about possible concerns so you can address them when they come up. Or you can seriously impress them by addressing potential problem areas before your audience speaks up.
- What is it they need from you? Performing thorough research greatly assists in this process. Use customer intelligence to determine prospects’ focus as a company. How does your product benefit them? Use this brainstorming session to generate questions for the sales pitch.
- Get in touch. Better yet, you can write to prospects before the pitch occurs. Ask them what they would like to hear from you. According to Ryan Harnedy writing for the Backupify blog, it is surprising how many salespeople skip this gesture.
- Practice makes perfect. Run through the demo and make sure it goes smoothly. Many athletes visualize their race before competing. Why not do the same?
The big day
You’ve completed your training and warmed up, and you’ve got your strategy all planned. Now you’re standing at the starting block ready to go. Here are some tips to nailing the race:
- Get excited. According to Harnedy, your demo should have “wow” moments. These are the elements that make customers love your product. While you may want to save these moments for the end for a strong close, starting with them can set the tone for the rest of the presentation. Not only will this method energize you, but your prospects will likely mirror your excitement.
- Know your product inside out. You should be able to answer any questions that come up. If you can’t do that, you shouldn’t be on the demo floor.
- Tell a story. People respond to narratives. If you structure your demo like a story, your prospects will be more engaged and more likely to remember what you told them.
- Be interesting. Keep the focus on you by cracking appropriate jokes. This will also break down the barrier between yourself and your audience.
Concentrate on getting your prospects excited about your product and maintain your energy all the way to the finish line.
The race is over, but if you don’t take careful steps now, your muscles are going to ache or risk damage. The sales journey is almost over.
- Keep your eye on the goal. Anticipate the moment when you can close the deal. According to Babette Ten Haken for Salesforce, you need to consider your potential buyer’s corporate culture and timeline. Know what’s happening and be proactive.
- Be a thought leader. Ten Haken also recommends developing yourself as an informational resource. While the prospect is waffling about his decision, make him aware of your in-depth knowledge of your field. Impress him and your company will remain on his mind, even if your product isn’t the right fit for him at the moment.
Running the sales race can be exhausting, but if you envision the demo as a marathon with three stages – not just a sprint – you will have a more efficient journey.