The Demo Doctor

As a sales engineer, sometimes you just have to deliver that perfect demo.  And lets face it, just turning up, firing up the product and clicking through a few options is not going to cut it.

This is where you should be able to show your unique value that you bring to the sales process.  Even if a sales rep could open up the application and show a few screens, show why they need you to sell the technology - your way of showing the customer the vision for its use.

"Great Demo!" describes a great demo as showing them what they want to see, telling them a bit about how you get there - make them believe you do it for real - and then show them the good stuff again.

A good demo is not teaching someone all about your system.

A good demo is as much about entertainment as it is about education.  Think about a car advertisement. Its not about knowing how big the engine is, or how fast the car goes or any of the pure facts about the vehicle.  It is about selling the feeling you get when you drive the car.

Now even if you are selling some software that makes some boring aspect of business work slightly more efficiently and more behind the scenes than it did before. There must be a way of presenting that in a way that will make the buyer feel better about the problem it is solving.  The confidence that a powerful process is driving the activity and reporting on it in a clever way.

You wouldn't sell a house just by teaching someone how its built. You would want them to feel at home in it - that it solves their problems and makes their lifestyle more enjoyable.

To demonstrate your software, you are fulfilling a reason why you visited a prospect.  Make sure that you get some value off them for visiting them. Find out how the product would be used.  Make them feel that this is the solution for them.  Provide some vision at how it fits into their organisation.

Sometimes you are made to realise that you have lost somebody in a demo. Sometimes this comes way too late as feedback from a lost deal.  In better times you realise mid-demo that you are loosing their attention, recover and get your audience back on side. This is a difference of an average or great SE.  Knowing how your audience perceives your product.  And adapting the situation accordingly.

There are times you just shouldn't demo as well.  If you've had a good discussion with someone who would never use the product, do you need to show them how much you know about it? I would never demo unless I know what I get in exchange for doing so.  It can be a very good control point in moving forward with a customer, and after a demo, you have less reasons to go back and see them - if you don't discover anything new by doing so.