“A demonstration is one of your best sales tools if you have a high-quality product. It helps get a prospect interested and excited about your solution, and is also an effective way to address the prospect’s specific product-related concerns.” – Neil Kokemuller
When it comes to demos, having an action plan is crucial in order to manage it successfully. The following suggestions can help both seasoned sales professionals and newbies alike to improve their demoing skills, and ultimately win the sale:
Offer the prospect an incentive for partaking in the demo. If they have registered for a trial prior to requesting a demo, consider the level of access they have during this period. Very often, trial versions of a product offer limited features, searches, or downloads. By giving them a reward for their involvement in the demo, they will learn more about your product or service, whilst also receiving the benefit of extra credits, extended trial period, resource tools, etc.
2. Be Prepared
Dedicate some time before the demo to learn as much about the prospect and their company as possible – social channels and the company website are great resources to start off with. For example, the company’s Twitter account will often display current events within their network, which can provide talking points during the demo (should there be dead air!)
If the prospect has been testing out your product or service before the demo, monitor their activity to uncover the extent to which they understand your system. A tool like Mouseflow is great for tracking behavior on a website – measured by clicks, scrolling, time on page, etc. This can provide valuable insights to the user’s pain points and where they might be going right or wrong. The information can subsequently be used during the demo to rectify any user experience or navigation issues.
3. Always have a Plan B
If you are engaging in sales demos over the phone, it can sometimes happen (trust me, I know from experience!) that a prospect has been invited to a demo, only to find that they can’t connect to the meeting due to firewall issues, or other situational problems. I have also had some bad experiences with join.me in the past engaging in system upgrades in the middle of a demo! Therefore, it’s recommend having an account with two conference call vendors, such as join.me, Cisco WebEx, Solgari, GoToMeeting, etc. and minimize the risk of being unable to connect with the prospect.
4. Demo Reminder
It’s always a good idea to send a reminder to the prospect 10 minutes in advance of the call. If it appears that they are a ‘no show’, just ring their number directly – they may have forgotten that they had a demo booked with you. Regardless, a courtesy reminder is a nice way to demonstrate organization when it comes to managing sales demos.
5. Know Your Product
Great, the demo is happening. Now what? Well, you need to demonstrate confidence in your product knowledge – know what you’re demonstrating inside out. A good way to do this is to form a close relationship with your technology or product development team. That way, you can stay informed of recent changes to your product and keep on top of the changes that are coming. It’s also worthwhile to note frequently asked questions, and have your answers ready. If you are thrown a ‘curve ball’ question which leaves you without answers, don’t panic. Just be honest and say that you don’t know, but make sure to take note of it and follow up with the answer as soon as you find out post-demo.
6. Know Your Competition
What you also need to know inside out is your competition. This means having a good idea of what makes your product/service stand out over theirs – note some key features or benefits that separate you from the rest. Chances are, if your prospect is prepared to buy, they have done their research and are not blindly choosing a solution to their problem. So be prepared to answer questions on the key differences between you and your rival.
If possible, find out about your competitor’s pricing plans. This will help you to defend any objections that the prospect may have with regards to costs. Also important to note is when your competitor is mentioned by your prospect; be sure not to talk negatively about them, as this can make you look petty. Instead, say: “They do a great job but we can offer XYZ which they cannot.”
7. It’s About Them
For those who truly love what they sell, it can be very tempting to spend the entire duration of the demo talking about the product or service. However, a demo should really be an opportunity to assess how the tool fits the prospect’s needs and solves their problem.
Make sure to ask questions throughout the demo to get a complete picture of the prospect and their company’s requirements. You may already know the answers to some of them, but the fact you are showing an interest demonstrates a good level of engagement between you and the prospect. Questions will vary dependent on the product or service that you sell, but ultimately, the goal should be to ascertain whether you are a good fit for the prospect’s company. Sometimes, it may be evident early on that the it’s a bad fit for your product. In these circumstances, there is no shame in ending the demo early to save both parties some time.
8. Prioritize Value and Benefit
Realistically, you will spend some time talking about features…it is a sales demo after all! However, it’s also important not to get too carried away with all the awesome things your product or service can do. Instead, try to emphasize how these features will make life better for your customer. Think about your tools, features and their corresponding value propositions, and how they can fit in with your prospect’s needs.
The level of education needed to fully equip the prospect with an understanding of your product or service will depend on how complex it is to use. Make sure to take your time and ask the prospect if they have any questions. If there are any nuanced aspects of your product, be sure to demonstrate them too. And be careful; it may seem like your prospect knows how the product works, but I have found from monitoring user web activity with Mouseflow that when they try out the tool post demo, mistakes are sometimes made that can shake their confidence. Be sure to reach out them to talk through the problems they’ve been having, and help rectify these issues – this will contribute to a more positive user experience.
A good way to tell if a sales demo is going well is if the prospect asks about pricing. If that happens, jump straight to the pricing page of your website. Also consider following these three steps during this process:
1. Focus on value for money
2. Wait for their feedback
3. Listen to questions
It’s very important to give the prospect time to think, they are not likely to give you an answer straight away. Also make sure not to oversell the benefits, as this may lead to them feeling mislead and they might want to end the relationship there.
11. Handling Objections
Although preparation is hugely important, it’s not possible to preempt every single objection the prospect may have during the demo. If they challenge you regarding your product, price, or service, listen to their concerns and be honest in your feedback. Offer solution selling, i.e. if your product is not the solution today, capture the reasons why. Is your product or service missing key features or data? If yes, don’t oversell them – pass the feedback on to the technology team or your sales manager. Meanwhile, assess whether the prospect can find value in the service today, with the hope that the ‘bells and whistles’ will come.
12. Follow Up
Be sure to follow up with the prospect when the demo is complete. This could involve setting them up on a free trial, scheduling a call back or, if you’re lucky, talk pricing with their superior and make a deal right there. This step will vary from sale to sale, but make sure not to forget about the follow up. And always be aware that it can take multiple demos before you close a sale.
To conclude, demoing is a crucial step in closing a sale, particularly in the B2B SaaS space. Customers rarely come in guns blazing and sign up straight away for a new product or service. The famous saying: ‘seeing is believing’ maintains relevancy – prospects need to be convinced and reassured that you have what they need.
Fortunately, sales demos usually consist of a relaxed business conversation, with an opportunity to chat to people on a human level and hopefully solve a problem for them. If everything meets their expectations and you can implement strong follow up and negotiation skills, then the sale will surely follow a strong demo performance.