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Seven Product Demonstration Tips

Technical product demos can be a challenge–these 7 demonstration tips will help you do a great demo next time out.

1) Know your audience

Gathering data about your prospect’s needs before the demo is like piecing together a jigsaw puzzle. Some information comes from sales, some from a demo request form and some is gathered on-the fly during the demo.

The key is to piece together what each decision maker cares about and why. Armed with this information you can be sure to cover the topics they care about and to drop the ones they don’t.

Knowing who will be in the audience means that you know who the most important decision maker in the room is. This is the person who needs to hear your message loud and clear. Make sure to cover the key decision makers issues and to verify that they buy into what you are saying. If you discover that the key decision maker will not be in the meeting, you may need to reschedule for a time when they can be.

Here is a PDF Demo Form that you may find useful for capturing the information that you need to know about your audience prior to your demo.

2) Know your product

By the time they agree to a demo, many of today’s savvy prospects have researched your product and your competitors’ on the web and have a very good idea of what they need. At the demo, they  may have very specific, detailed, technical questions that they have not been able to answer through their research. They expect answers and if they don’t get them they will take their business elsewhere.

You are the product expert.  Prospects expect you to know how your product solves their problems. As a rule of thumb, if you can’t answer 85-90 percent of the questions asked during the demo–you’re not ready.

To help you to prepare for questions that come up, especially when you are new to a product, be sure to keep a running list of the questions you hear.

Talk with your team about the questions and see if they have experienced them and ask them for ways that they answered. Over time this practice will up everyone’s game and give you a great resource to help you and new team members with questions.

3) Understand the issues faced by your prospects

Compelling demonstrations demand a deep understanding of the issues faced by your prospects and customers. Understanding lets you to map the benefits of your product to your prospects needs.

Think about how your product or service has helped others like them? These insights provide a valuable service to your prospect and put them at ease by showing them you have relevant experience in areas they care about.

4) Use a story based structure

Structured demos are memorable demos. If you just string together feature after feature, the prospect won’t remember what you showed them.

Instead, why not try a time-compressed story based on a “day in the life” of your prospect. This style demo mirrors what happens in their world, making it easy to follow and remember.

The key thing here is to only cover what the prospect cares about in your story, drop everything else or you are asking for trouble! Check out the video on using a time compressed story based demo format:

5) Use customer stories and references

Customer stories are great to show your prospect how other comanies like theirs have used your product to solve problems like thiers. In addition, if you can support your story by providing a reference all the better.

Remember, third party references can do amazing things for your credibility. Ask other members of your team for stories they use and build a collection for all to share.

6) Practice your demo

If your demo looks clunky prospects will get spooked. Find a safe way to show the good stuff, then practice until you can do it on autopilot. Never change anything just before your demo, if you do you run the risk of breaking the demo in unforseen ways.

If you have a new release, be sure to try out your demo to determine if any issues have been introduced, If they have make sure that you restructure your demo and pracitice the new paths.

7) Add some spice

The last thing you should do to improve your product demos is to add some spice, specifically: humor, quotes and props.

For best results, why not plan these moments of interaction ahead and practice them just like the rest of the demo. 

  • Humor can put your audience at ease and help them feel more comfortable with you.
  • Use visuals like slides and graphics 
  • Quotes, as long as they are relevant to your product, can make a demo more memorable and interesting.
  • Props are a great way to clarify a point or to punctuate your demo to make a specific feature stand out.

Have a tip that improved your demo? Let us know in the comments section below.

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