All too often we relegate the demo to the “been there, done that” corner, content to put into practice all of the tired, tried and possibly true techniques that will get us in the door but see us coming up short when it comes down to closing with confidence and power. Today we’ll examine some of the practices that can be tossed out with tomorrow’s trash, and look at ways to pump up our demo game.
Plan, Prepare, Practice
The simplest advice is usually the best, and this is the proof. There really is no such thing as overplanning for a demo. You and your team should be so familiar with your material that it would seem folly to need to reference notes or a powerpoint more than just an occasional glance to stay on task. The more confident you are in your material, the more opportunity you have to let your passion pop. And THAT is where the magic happens. When your belief in what you’re selling freely flows as you present, you’re in the sweet spot. Your team members should be equally prepped, and you should all comfortably flow through the presentation, secure in the pivotal part each of you play.
Pitch in Reverse
While most clients aren’t likely to begin a book at the end, your tale is one that can be told in reverse. To open with the benefits that a potential client will receive when they commit to a working relationship with your team is a tactic that pays off in spades. It’s difficult for anyone to refuse the “good news first,” potential clients included. So, go ahead and scrap the marketing deck that talks all about your company and shows the really cool logo mashups you created and opt to open with your solution. They’ll stay for the rest (though you should keep that quick and painless, as well) when you’ve given them a solution to their problem within the first two minutes of contact.
Control the Close
Your team has spent 45 minutes demonstrating your capabilities and delivering value-based on your client’s challenges. Don’t undo the the brilliance your preparedness has provided by asking if your potential clients have questions. In doing so, you’ve opened the door for objection and argument, and possibly unraveled a bit of your beautifully woven presentation. It is imperative that you end the way you began- in complete control. Thank them for their time, then invoke a call to action. Secure a specific day and time for a reconnect, and identify next steps. The only thing that should follow that is a sincere goodbye and recognition of the incredible job your team completed.
Following these steps may seem like a simple solution, but the number of demos that turn out to be provider-based, rather than client-centered is staggering. Stay on top of your game and continue to educate yourself on strategy (we teach many other techniques like this in our workshops). Stand out by stepping out of the expected and into the exciting space that is occupied when you employ the element of surprise.