Posts Tagged ‘programmer’

No one wants to see your Demo

by Wayne Turmel on September 21, 2009

dreamstime_9754785I have bad news for anyone who does product demos over the web: No one wants to see them. Seriously. Once you realize that it will be much easier to sell your software.

To clarify: They might have signed up for a demo OR they might have clicked a box on your website asking you to please schedule them for one OR they might have even agreed to watch it to learn what you’ve got, but they probably “want” to see it like you “want” to go to the bank on a long-weekend Friday. The point is: Yes, it does serve an important function but it’s no one’s idea of fun.

Understanding what customers want in a demo is critical in changing the demos from time-consuming events that are a necessary part of the sales process to a step in a shortened sales cycle that helps customers get on with their lives and makes them glad they met you.

Here are some tips – I apologize for any hurt feelings:

  • Customers have only one question on their mind- “Can this thing solve my current business problem?. If the answer is yes, you’re on your way to a sale, if it’s no, don’t waste their (and your) valuable time. Ask plenty of questions before you start presenting, even if it means you never get to actually demo the product. And don’t take all day getting to the stuff they care about or you’ll lose them.
  • Buyers don’t care how cool your technology is This one is a little hard to take, especially since many of us doing demos built the products in question and are quite impressed with it ourselves. The genius of your algorithm or the glory of your GUI means nothing if it doesn’t help the customer in some way: either it helps  them generate more revenue, lower their cost or simply makes their job easier. Lots of us like to show off all the features because it’s “value added”. Since it’s not valuable unless the customer says it really is, in most of the cases it’s really “time added”, and not “value added”.
  • Don’t talk like a programmer Odds are that early in the sales cycle the person watching the demo is not as technically adept as you are. They are probably not even IT people – they’re in Finance, or Sales or even HR- whichever group is actually going to use it.  Use a “programmer-to-mortal” dictionary if you have to and use their language not yours.
  • They need to know you understand their issues Two things will help put them at ease.
    • Tell success stories that relate to their business. If they’re a small business, don’t just tell them IBM uses your product and loves it (they’ll think you’re too complicated and expensive). Conversely if you’re selling to a big enterprise, don’t just tell them about the little company that uses it (you won’t scale to their needs). Make your success stories relevant to their business.
    • Use their examples. If they are in HR, show them how to do the task they need done. Don’t use a sales example to the IT group. And if they call it a “screen” instead of an “interface”, you can too.

    No one signs up for a web demo with a Slurpee ,a  jumbo bag of popcorn and a comfy chair. They want their questions answered, their problem solved and their lives back. You probably have better things to do, too.  Stop treating demos as presentations and more like sales calls and you’ll go a long way in achieving the purpose of the demo!


    Wayne Turmel PicThis article is contributed by Wayne Turmel, the founder and president of GreatWebMeetings and the host of The Cranky Middle Manager Show podcast. You can follow him on twitter at @greatwebmeeting.