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Preparation prevents demonstrating poor performance 17 September, 2007

Posted by varoom in Selling.
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Live demonstrations to customers, or potential investors, is a vital step in any selling process. A lot can go wrong and consequences of failure can have serious repercussions that are hard to overcome.

The first rule of demonstrations is rehearse beforehand, check the demo is working, structure your demo script so that you cover the major points and don’t forget anything. It helps to story board the flow of the demo so that it makes sense, the viewer can see how each part of your explanation links with the various aspects of your demo. Make the show look slick and professional. Make it easy for the viewer to understand the whole demo first before embarking on a detailed technical explanation.

In many demonstrations, of technology products, that I’ve attended it’s been hard to get an overview first of what is on show. Often the demo is a lash up of various bits and you have to use some imagination to figure out what it would look like in real life. It shouldn’t be so hard! Make sure you either start with a nice packaged setup where it’s clear that you are showing a complete product or at least provide a big picture overview of what it would look like in real life. If it’s possible lay out the demo in a nice and tidy way it looks more convincing.

There is no problem with going to a much more detailed level after the first run through of the demo, you can lift the lids on various modules giving the user an inside view of what’s going on. But make sure you build this stage on top of a clear overview so that the viewer can keep up.

In case the customer needs more information have back up materials available, if possible, so that they can read more information on the product, flyers, datasheets, copies of block diagrams. This all adds value and credibility to the preparedness of your product proposition.

If you are not an expert in the technology make sure you have technical expertise on hand to step in, rapidly, to take the discussion to the next level or in a new direction.

If your demo is robust enough allowing the customer to play with the technology to get a better feel is important. But make sure about the robustness of your demo, serious damage can be done by the customer breaking the demo while you watch. If some portion of the demo is not functional or incomplete, be up front about it, explain and many customers will understand.

Over a series of demo runs it can help to internally formulate a collection of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) which can help to brief other team members who may be running the demo at some point.

Remember demonstrations are selling your product to potential customers. Poor preparation can have a serious impact on business success.

Greville Commins