Professional Selling Skills Tip # 3 – When To Demo

If you sell software in today’s competitive environment and find yourself doing demonstration after demonstration, after demonstration without closing your share of business, guess what?  You’re letting the prospective customer take advantage of you.

Customers are the most savvy people in the world and they are masters at taking up your valuable time if you allow them to do so.  Many sales representatives find themselves frustrated that they spend a great deal of time in conversations or demonstrations where they’re doing all the talking and getting little back from the prospect.  This is because the prospect is not a buyer, but simply trying to get an education at your expense.   If you are experiencing this then you need to turn this situation around and quickly if you expect to close more business.

No one will argue that a prospective customer looking to acquire a software solution needs to see the product, but they also need to earn the right to have you spend 45 minutes to an hour demonstrating it to them. Industry experts talk about three types of demonstrations and how and when each should be used.

  • The Harbor Cruise
  • The Vision Demo
  • The Final Performance

The Harbor Cruise

This is absolutely the worst situation you can get yourself into.  Think of it in the following way. You have the prospect captured for 45 minutes as you cruise through your product’s features hoping they see something they like.  Sound familiar?  This is not only a waste of time, but creates a high degree of risk that they will not like the product or they will find it too complex and you have lost them for good.  If you find that you have been doing this you need to stop this practice immediately.

The Vision Demo

Here you are trying to educate the prospect and provide them with an example of the value they can realize from your solution.  A good use of the vision demo is to illustrate how your solution can address a specific problem they may have presented to you. Another use of the vision demo is to demonstration how a specific feature has provided value to other customers in the same industry as your prospect.  This allows you to earn their trust and represent that you understand their business challenge.  This should be a brief demonstration focused on addressing one specific business requirement. The goal here is to get to the final performance.

The Final Performance

This is the demonstration that simply proves the value and benefits you have discussed with the prospect.  You should have a list of specific business requirements that need to be addressed and be focused like a laser beam on demonstrating how your solution will meet each of them.  This is the best demo you can do and if done properly should allow you to ask for the business.  What’s most critical here is to ensure that you have the appropriate decision makers in the room.  If you do not – offer “The Vision Demo” instead.

One thought on “Professional Selling Skills Tip # 3 – When To Demo

  1. This is great Article. The demonstration is my favorite part. This is where all the hard work and the talent and all the efforts combined are put to hot seat for the performance. Like the make or break stage.

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