Whether you are doing a Software as a Service Demonstration for a company across the state, or doing a marketing presentation for a client on the other side of the world, there are some fundamental steps to making a great sales presentation.

The differences between a boring, unoriginal “spray and pray” demo, and an awe-inspiring home run of a presentation are achievable by a sales rep that is

  • Prepared in advance
  • Customer focussed
  • Able to break from script
  • Willing to say three simple words
  • An effective communicator
  • Willing to follow up

A great online demo has to be a true representation of your product, but sometimes requires some “cooking show magic”.  If you don’t dwell on the PowerPoints, I won’t dwell on the introduction. Here are six ways to give a killer online demo.

1. Being Prepared Isn’t Just for Boy Scouts

Have you ever been late for a meeting or demonstration, and you were short of breath, short of customer details, or short of the presenter passcode to open the meeting? You might be able to recapture your client’s confidence and reschedule, or even fake it until you make it. More often than not, a demo without preparation will get you pushed to the “also-ran” position in the competitive horse race. You want to be prepared with your:

  • Demonstration logistics such as call-in number, webinar login details and your materials prepped
  • Show your best features first, to get your prospects “on the hook” and to capture their attention.
  • Customer business requirements identified, understood and front of mind in the presentation delivery. Which is a perfect segue way to:

2. Remain Customer Focused Throughout

You might know your product or service extremely well. Regardless of your expertise about your own products or services, but without the context to show how your solution can meet your client’s goals, the demo might fall flat. Doing your homework, be it with a conversation with your client, research online, or other research can help you gain credibility and build a better business case for your sale.

Be sure you remind your audience of their business requirements at the beginning, middle and end of your demo. Better yet, remind your clients about how your solution specifically can address you’re their needs. If you can’t help them to meet a specific need, don’t say you can. Doing a tap dance on a demonstration trying to figure out how to meet a requirement is worse than admitting you can’t. It can put your credibility into question about the business requirements you can actually address. If you can use some of the client’s own data/user names in your demo, you can give your customer the simulation they have already made the purchase.

3. Be Ready to Go Off-roading

If you expect a demonstration to go like every other time, you probably aren’t winning much business. When customers ask tough questions, it means they are either really interested in what you are offering, or they have been paying rapt attention, and just want to test your knowledge or capabilities. Either way, If you are prepared, and focussed on your clients’ needs, you want them to pay attention and be interested right? But don’t be afraid to say these three simple words.

Make your demonstration as interactive as possible. Leaving questions to the end is very risky. If people have to bail early and you miss your chance to address their needs in real time, you could lose a sale. You have a better opportunity to deliver an impactful presentation if you are willing to veer off the standard script.

4. I Don’t Know

Saying you don’t know, but will find out and get back to the client is allowed. Of course, saying “I don’t know” many times over isn’t going to work either. Just pick your spots where you allow yourself to admit what you don’t know. If you can follow up with an answer that better demonstrate your ability to address their needs

5. Effective Communication

Being a good communicator doesn’t mean industry jargon, or impressing your customer with your turn of phrase. If you can speak effectively with your clients, and they can feel like you aren’t speaking at them, it’s a good sign. Listening is just as important during a demo as speaking, if not more so.

Try to pick up on cues on whether your demo is resonating with your audience, or falling on deaf ears. If you can’t tell, ask your clients from time to time if your presentation is at the right speed, in the right context, or completely missing the mark. Your consideration could pay big dividends.

6. Follow-Up

After you have delivered your demonstration, regardless of how you think it went, send a follow up        e-mail, or make a quick call. Make the purpose of the call to do a quality check on the demonstration, and to see if you missed anything. Don’t try to close the deal too quickly, but don’t shut the door on a sale. If you don’t already know, ask the customer what the next steps are in their process. It might be to prepare the contract, or move on to the next client. Either way, finding out where the customer is in their process, you can prioritize your client work accordingly.

A product demonstration or presentation can take the place of a proof of concept, if you do it right. Make the demo like a test drive of your product. Put the customer in the “driver’s seat” and walk them through the navigation of your product with keyboard and mouse, or hands on. Adding your customer’s branding to a demo system might take some extra time, but might be enough to win the deal.

If you are going to do a dog and pony show, you want to bring your A Game. Do your customer the favor of following these six tips. You’ll deliver better demonstrations, and win more business.

Image Credit: Alan Cleaver

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