Giving product demos is the bread and butter of salespeople. But at the same time, many reps struggle to reach a decent conversion rate from these kinds of presentations. In this article, we will discuss how to give a demo call that drives results. It’s all about proper planning and personalization - trust us!
In this text we will talk about a situation in which you’ve already prepared for a demo - research is done, the plan is crafted, you are about to hit the button and start this awaited the video-call.
If you are missing any of these points, check how to prepare for a winning demo call.
1. How long should a product demo be?
There’s no fixed, recommended, or data-backed time for a demo. However, 15-20 minutes seems like a reasonable length. Although product demonstration should not only be about your product’s features or complicated technical issues, you will undoubtedly mention them. All this means that your potential customer, in a short period, will have to focus on specific information and not get bored. Talking for too long and presenting too many things at once will surely bore your prospect.
What’s more - remember, that this kind of sales call is not a tutorial, when you explain all the options your product provides.
So, keep it short, interesting, and value-focused.
2. Treat your demo as a conversation.
A product demo, like any other conversation, should start nicely, with formal greetings and common courtesies. Avoid “attacking” your demo attendee and rushing to the first point of your “to say” list. Ask them how they are doing, maybe relate to the thing you discovered during your research (the latest project, launch of a new feature, some personal achievement).
Keep building rapport. You are closer to winning this deal, but don’t be too quick on jumping into details. Treat the prospect like a human being, make them feel comfortable and relaxed.
3. Present the agenda.
After the smooth start mentioned above, get to the next step. Include an agenda slide in your presentation. Tell your prospect how long the demo will last (and stick to that!), what topics you will cover and how does that relate to the pain points of their company.
Stick to a clear beginning, middle, and end.
While presenting your agenda be clear about each part - what will happen at the beginning, when you will get to the details, and how the end will look. Inform your prospect that there will be the time to ask questions (but they are also welcome to ask them during the presentation) and repeat a chosen part of the demo if needed.
Don’t forget to ask your prospect for permission to record the call. And one more critical thing - at the very beginning get an agreement to discuss the next steps at the end of your conversation. Just say that your main aim is to reach a point at which your interlocutor is able to make a decision - to plan the next step, or to resign and leave in peace.
4. Read your audience.
After a few minutes of your demo, you can more or less get your prospect’s way of communicating.We have written about mirroring in our blog post about 9 mistakes you don’t know your sales reps make inside sales calls.
Make similar gestures, pay attention to their facial expressions, look them “in the eye” even via your camera. What’s also really important - speak their language, use similar words and phrases. If you notice your prospect is laid back and does not create a distance, be more direct, make a joke, and do not seem too serious.
5. Run a discovery session.
Even after a in-depth research, there will still be some question marks. This is the time to turn these question marks into sentences full of unique data.
Tell your prospect that you want to fully understand their needs. Ask the potential buyer to identify their biggest challenges in the long term and existing pain points that influence their everyday work. What worries them as a leader/team member? What slows their people down? Do they have any thoughts and expectations regarding your offer? What are their requirements? Who will use the solution? Do you need to learn more about running a discovery session? Read this article.
6. Focus on significant features only.
After a short, successful discovery session and a quick intro focused on the bigger picture, get straight to the reason for all this. We’ve covered this topic in the article about the preparation for a great demo call, but we need to stress it once again. In each and every product demo, you have to talk about value that a discussed part of your product brings! This conversation is not about general features, or the visual aspects of your new dashboard.
Relate to the prospect’s role.
While presenting different features, always remember to put them in the context of how specific departments at your prospect’s company would use them and benefit from them.
If you have got an opportunity to talk to the head of sales, show them how their reps could improve their work by implementing your product. You can mention the benefits for other departments, but only if you have enough time. Do not tell them a success story of that client who bought your solution and their financial department miraculously started to be more efficient.
Give reliable examples.
A demo has to relate to potential problems in the prospect’s organization that need to be taken care of. Never present options that are irrelevant to your potential client. To show how your solution can solve identified problems, and back your statements with examples. But we mean real-life examples presented by using real-life data, not some abstract numbers your prospect cannot relate to. You must not say “Imagine that your team needs this and that…”. It is not about imagination. Your role is to make this demo as realistic as possible.
7. Deal with bugs.
Product demos offer something “extra” - a risk of bugs. While presenting how your product works, you are not error-proof. So, in case of an unexpected problem, system failure, etc. do not lose your cool.
Never try to ignore an error message or unexpected pop-up, because it equals loss of trust. If something like that occurs, say that you are sorry, but do not elaborate or try to explain yourself “Oh, it has never happened before”. Just go on with the conversation and try to figure out the best solution. Maybe you should bring up the topic of your customer support team and show your prospect how they work? Or use the knowledge base to look for a possible cause of the problem?
8. Mind the time.
Always stick to the time you mentioned in the agenda, avoid extending the conversation at any cost. The plan or a list of steps you prepare before your product demo is not only aimed to help you with structuring the call but also to make it easier for you to control the time.
You have to know how long each part takes and check every 2-3 minutes if you are not running over time. When you notice one part took you more time than planned, try to shorten the following steps a bit.
9. End a product demo properly.
Summarize the demo.
Recap the main points, emphasize what topics were discussed during your demo, which of them was the most important and what actions are required on your prospect’s end to turn the outcome of the demo into success.
If there were any questions that you were not able to ask, bring them up and promise you will get back with an answer as soon as possible. And of course - do that. No broken promises.
Establish the next step.
After summarizing the demo call, talk about the next steps. What should your prospect expect? Are they a decision maker or do you have to talk to someone else? If they are a “gatekeeper”, are they convinced, and would they arrange you a call with their superior? Remember about the good old Call to Action and secure the next contact.
A good demo call will bring you closer to the final transaction, but especially in the case of big deals, it will be just one part on your journey. So, make sure you know the next step.
A demo call that will move you closer to a closed deal is always about value. Your job is to prove to your prospect how your product will make their work easier, more efficient, etc. To do so, you have to, in general:
start with the right questions,
adjust to your audience’s way of communicating,
talk about essential features,
follow your plan (but be flexible),
set a clear next step.
Treat every demo call individually and if something new comes up during the conversation, react. Do not be this sales zombie that sticks a certain plan no matter what. And of course - relax! You cannot let the stress empower you, because you will start to make mistakes.