3 Ways to Avoid Demo Failure – Part 2



Last week, we went over “3 Ways to Avoid Demo Failure” before the presentation even begins. This week, the advice I’ll be giving, I’ll be living heavily. We’re at one of the larger conferences for our sector for the next 3 days and I anticipate having the opportunity to give approximately 200 onsite demos to C-level executives, IT Managers and Executive Directors. Here are 3 tips on how to avoid demo failure during your presentation:

  1. Bring it! ~ The person you’re speaking to could be doing a million other things. If you don’t bring an immense amount of energy and personality, they’ll be focusing on those million other things instead of on what you’re saying and no one wins if that’s the case!

Here’s how I like to look at demos: Your product is a solution. Your demo environment is a classroom. The participants are students. This makes you the teacher! Do you remember your favorite teacher, the one who made learning fun? That should be you!

  1. Expect the Unexpected! ~ I sell software. Anyone who sells software knows that technology can be difficult at times. You can easily click on the wrong screen or forget an essential password. It can be a minor glitch or a major setback. Here’s what you need to remember: no one knows your presentation but you. No one in that room or on that call has any clue as to how things are supposed to flow. My input here is: Just keep talking. Don’t say: “ok…sorry about that, just hang on here…ummmm”. I would rather have a slight moment of silence than hear uncertainty from the person selling me their product.

A real example: I was at a tradeshow, we had a great booth and plenty of people were continuously flowing to view a demo of our product. When my iMac asked if I wanted to update my iOS, I accidentally hit ‘yes’ rather than clicking on ‘remind me later’. Delegates were coming through and there was my computer; the screen all black with an update bar running SLOWLY across. It hit me that this would be a great opportunity to show off our mobile app. I rambled as eloquently as I could on the benefits of having mobile access to our services when internet service goes down. Everyone left knowing they should come back to get a full demo at their convenience, I grabbed those business cards and know that when I follow up with them, I’ll be able to personalize my email to them…likely resulting in a chuckle.

  1. Listen ~ I’m a firm believer that people love to talk about themselves. They love to tell you about what they do, their workplace, their role… I always start a demo with a lot of questions. Of course, your goal during a demo is to educate your prospect on what you have to offer as a solution to their pain point. However, isn’t it better to get them to tell you about that pain point? Ask a few leading questions that drive the point home. Let them tell you and they won’t feel you’re selling them something, they’ll feel you have the solution to their problem.

Next week I’ll divvy out 3 tips on how to avoid follow up failure after your demo.


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