How to perfect your demos (or come close to it)

What’s that? A unicorn?

Do perfect demos even exist? Ha. The crazy thing is that after about 12 years of doing demos. Closing millions of $ in recurring revenue, I can safely say that there is no such thing as a perfect demo.

(Now that we got the million dollar flex out of the way, which is suppose to instill authority, we can get on with the rant)

Right, the perfect demo. If you scroll through some of the LinkedIn influencers or sales “experts” hawking their courses online, you’d think that after going through their trademarked course, you’d become an expert in doing demos.

Not so fast.

Truth of the matter is that it’s extremely difficult to give perfect demos day in day out. It’s like asking a professional athlete to deliver excellence with every performance. It just does not happen.

Sometimes you hit the mark and sometimes you don’t. Don’t sweat it. While the perfect demo might not exist. What does exist is the fact that you can get pretty to close to delivering an good demo that will help you close new business repeatedly.

Just one more thing to add. Do you know the reason why BANT just does not work anymore? Don’t get me wrong, back in the day, it was the SHIT but now it’s literally a shit approach to take when it comes to selling. Because it’s abused, over used by just about every sales person out there and the buyers out there are sick of this nonsense.

So I’m on a mission to save all the potential buyers out there from bad demos haha. I have come here to destroy all the bad advice that folks have been given when it comes to demos and that too free!

Ok, that’s pompous of me to think only I hold the key to what perfect demos look like. I don’t. I just have experience that I’m hoping will translate in to actionable insights for you to up your sales game. So let’s dig right into it.

So what does it take to deliver a perfect demo?

It sure as hell ain’t a script. Yes, it worked in wolf of wall street but it’s not gonna fly in 2023 B2B sales. Actually any form of sales. That does not mean a script is a bad idea, it just means you shouldn’t be relying on a script 100% when you’re speaking to a person on the other end of the line via zoom, gmeet, etc.

So first things first.

Become an expert in your subject matter

Have you watched that movie with Julia Roberts where oil companies were polluting the water of the neighbourhoods and people kept getting sick. She got a job as a paralegal and fought ferociously for that case and ended up winning an absurd settlement.

There was this scene in the movie where she was about be thrown off the case, so the “big boys” can take over and she asks them to pull any file out of the case. They do and lo and behold she tells the person’s name, the type of cancer they have, their phone number, social security, name of the siblings, partners, address and what not.

Point being she knew everything that was needed to know about the 250+ people in that file. THAT is knowing your subject matter.

There is nothing you should not know about what you are about to sell. You need to be an expert, end of story before you even start doing the demos with potential customers.

Know EVERYTHING about your product. Every button, switch, config setting, the whole thing. Top to bottom. No exceptions .

There is nothing more helpful than knowing your product inside out and how it helps customers when doing demos. No amount of sales courses or anything of that sort will even get you close to this, than studying the product that you are selling.

The more comfortable you are with the product you are selling, the smoother the whole sales process will go for the prospective buyer. You just need to know your shit, to be able to sell your shit.

Please, please for the love of god, don’t try selling without having an in-depth understanding of your product. It makes you come off as very arrogant and not very competent. It is not a good look for the company and definitely not for you either.

So do yourself a favor and study up.

Have a conversation

Look I know that if you’re presenting a demo to me, 9 out of 10 times you are trying to sell me. I got that 100% and i’m totally ok with it. Having said that, there is something you can do to make the demo not feel like a painstaking process. And that is to just have a conversation with the prospect.

Yup, speak to them instead of asking BANT questions, humor always helps, be yourself, tell a story if you possibly can. Folks remember stories and not features, I learned that the hard way.

You are not a brochure, your biggest asset is the fact that you are in front of the prospect, make that count. Be personable and tailor the conversation with the customer requirements. Never ever use a scripted demo, it always never ends well.

Look every situation is different, every prospect and their needs are different. Sure they might fit you “ICP” but that does not mean that they need to be presented with the same demo as you have done for countless other prospects.

You lose your credibility if you are noticeably reading from a script or stuttering. Hold yourself to a higher standard. Look I get it, when you bring every prospect through the same demo cycle that you use for every one of your prospect, you feel like in control. Great, now what?

Because you want to feel good, you just lost the prospect’s interest, instead of focusing on what they would like to see you instead are focusing on what makes you feel comfortable. Ask me how I know this?

Research Demo Participants

I don’t mean find out where they live and start stalking them. By this I mean try to understand your prospect’s personal motivations and fears prior to presenting.

For example, if they are new at the company, the success or failure of this product can heavily influence their credibility within the organization and have implications for career advancement down the line. Throughout the demo you will address this concern by mentioning whether your product is already used by established brands or competitors.

Always a good idea to know who you are speaking to before you start speaking with them. You may never know a lot of talking points can come up during that research, they may have worked at a company that you sold your product to before.

Always always go in the meetings well researched and prepared.

Preemptively Neutralize Known Concerns

If you’ve been selling a product long enough, you know there are certain concerns that most/all your prospects have on their mind, whether they verbalize them or not.

If you already know these worries, neutralize them upfront before starting the demonstration. Example for a lead-contacts database: “so just to give you a little background on how we source our data, we have hundreds of sources ranging from API’s to strategic partnerships with the top data companies in the world and we are constantly updating the tool to keep the data fresh and accurate.”

This is a great way to eliminate the elephant in the room, so to speak. I sell a productivity monitoring software and most prospects don’t like or feel icky by the screenshots taking feature. That’s fine, I get it.

What I do is always ensure that the prospects know that this feature can be turned off and the employees themselves have all the control to delete the screenshots, or if they want it blurred etc. It usually puts the prospect’s mind at ease and that is invaluable. The prospects will trust you more if you are able to focus on such things so they can move on to things that actually help move the needle forward.

Always explain the process moving forward

Explaining what steps to take if they want to get started demonstrates you have a well-defined process used for many customers before them and puts the ball in their court.

Example: “So the process for getting started with us is super easy: 1) I send over agreement 2) If all is good on your end, sign the agreement and setup payment using included link. 3) Once signed agreement is received and finance confirms payment your account manager will reach out to schedule onboarding session 4) after onboarding session you will receive logins and the account will be activated.”

That’s it. Nothing too complicated. Of course if they are an enterprise customer or you need to go through a procurement process with them, you need to ask them Qs and let them know what the steps would look like from your end.

If that means signing an NDA or an MSA, or having them set you folks up as a vendor in their system, if they need a W-8 or W-8BENE, whatever. Make sure that all those steps are clearly listed out so the prospect feels comfortable dealing with you.

Also see point #1, be an expert in your subject matter.

Detach yourself from the outcome

Before the demo it’s crucial to have an outcome-independent mindset. This is the toughest yet most important tip to follow. If you manage to enter the meeting with this mindset, it will be a lot easier to be relaxed and provide prospect with peace-of-mind, which is ultimately what every buyer really wants.

Don’t be overattached to the outcome.

Yes, you want to have a goal going in. But, if you’re stressing too much about getting this sale at any cost you’re going to end up doing a lot of stupid things. Maybe even giving off a needy aura, and that’ll really make them not want to work with you.

In short, go in with a goal but don’t be too attached to a certain result. It will also make things so much easier for you later on even if the prospect doesn’t end up going ahead with your product. Happens, move on to the next one.

Also, just one last thing before we finish this up. There are 1000s of tips out there on how to run a good demo, for instance, maintaining a time constraint, researching competitors, neutral tone, using video chat and sending out a summary email and all of the above.

I didn’t want to focus on those things because they are tried and tested and you should be doing them. I wanted to lean in on things that will help you expand on the current knowledge and know how of your demo and build on that.

Hope this is helpful to you. Go out there and crush the demo!


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