by pat

Yo Columbus, get your sextant and your buddy Magellan we’re going to watch some product demos!”

The Problem–You Never Told Them Where You Were Going

Have you ever started watching a demo, either on-line or live, and wondered: “Where the heck is this demonstration going?!?!?”

You know exactly what you want to see, but so far you can’t even tell if you’re watching the right demo.

It goes something like this:

Opening screen for the product is up

Demo Guy says:

“Let’s get right to it.

This so neat: You can change the color, let’s change from pink to blue, er light blue. “

“There. “

“Nice. “

“Now, let’s go back to pink. “

“The really cool thing about this is that you can make these changes on the fly and see what the screen will look like”

“OK, let’s see, your gonna love this!” “Watch how I can rearrange the rows!”

“Really cool right? I Bet you never saw drag-n-drop in a web browser before!”

“Wait till you see this next really cool thing!”

And on it goes.

Not once are we told what we are about to see; where we are going.

Not once are we burdened with details about how a particular feature would help us do our jobs.

Nope, we’re simply left to try to divine where this is all going from what we’re seeing.

We get to watch the whole demo (or not, if we can escape) before we decide if there is anything at all that we care about. Yikes!

SO, What can we do to avoid this all to common demo disaster?

What to do: Think Like a Customer

Think like a customer. It turns out that everyone has a set of questions in their head that MUST be answered before they relax and accept what you are saying.

Your job is to answer those questions as quickly as possible so that the viewer can settle in and relax for your demo.

The key questions are:

  • What are we talking about and where is this going?
  • Is this stuff of value for me?

Example Demo Sequence

Here is a quick outline to keep you on track next time you do a demo:

You can assume some context, some background knowledge. Perhaps you were introduced. Perhaps their was a handout. Just be sure to err on the cautious side not everyone will be up to speed, so be sure to include the necessary basics.

Here is an example from a demonstration of embedded debug tools to embedded systems Engineers:

“Today were are going to show you how our product helps you to:

1) “Bring up your new PowerPC hardware. If you don’t have stable hardware, you can’t beging to debug your software”

2) “Load embedded LINUX and some application code to the system and debug it. Our tools can debug LINUX application code even with the MMU and paging turned on, most tools can’t and this will save you hours of debugging time”

I will show the same steps that you would use with your new board, only my sequence will only take 10 minutes and I don’t have to ship a working product. Your work may take a bit longer !

“Is this what you were expecting to see today? Are there other areas that I need to cover, need to omit?”


Notice how I introduced the topics, the flow and then provided a benefit for each topic. Now the audience can let me know if I am on track or if I need to make adjustments. I have answered the key questions that all audiences have:

  • Where is this demo going?
  • What’s in it for me?

The’re now ready to receive my message loud and clear.

To learn more about our Demonstration Skills Training Seminars please visit: Sales Demo Skills Training

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