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Disrespectful Demos

Using the word disrespectful may seem harsh, but I need to get your attention. I’m tired of seeing Sales Reps., Sales Engineers, Solutions Consultants and Technical team members be disrespectful of the prospect’s time and intelligence while demoing their product.

According to CEB, “57% of the purchase decision is already complete before the customer even calls the supplier.” If we know this (and we do) then why aren’t we putting in the same amount of time and effort learning about our prospect and their needs as the prospect has put into learning about our industry, our company and our competitors?

The “Demo Presentation” is an amazing opportunity! You have all the influencers and decision makers in the same room with all eyes on you and your product. They are looking to you as the SME. Don’t squander this opportunity by making these mistakes.

Top 4 mistakes I see regularly during the demo:

1. You Didn’t Do Your Homework

It’s disrespectful to ask a question or make an assumption about something you could have found on LinkedIn, Google, their company’s website, or in your CRM system.

Here’s what you need to know (or make sure your technical team member knows) before you walk into the live or virtual room:

  • Who’s going to be in the room?
    This includes their name, title, previous roles, amount of influence they have, common LI connections you have, and if they are friend or foe. I usually just print off their LI profile and take it with me.
  • Who are the competitors?
    Are they currently under contract and you’re trying to steal the business or is this a new initiative?
    Do you understand your differentiators?
    Are you the first to present or the last?
  • What’s the pain they have that your product solves?
    • What is the business issue that they need to solve?
    • What is the impact that issue is having on them financially?

  • What’s their buying criteria in order of priority?
    Not the features checklist. Assuming that all 3 vendors they are considering have features that will meet their needs and similar costs, then what are the 3-4 things that the purchasing decision will come down to. Things like:
    • Implementation time
    • Ongoing support
    • Reputation
    • References
    • Association endorsements

2. You Didn’t Customize the Demo

Why in the world are we still doing the same demo/presentation for each prospect? The demo should NOT be an Admin. Training session, it should be proof that you have a solution to their pain.

Keep the following in mind:

  • You don’t need to show every feature - they only care about the features that solve THEIR pain. This isn’t admin training.
  • Each person in the room wants to know how your company/product can make their life better, so make sure you address each person’s needs.
  • Come with real life use cases based on information they’ve provided in earlier discussions.
  • Consider doing 2 different demos based on how the software will be used by the different stakeholders.
    • 1 that plays to the strategic buyer (Directors and above)
    • 1 that speaks to the tactical buyer (Individual Contributors)

3. It’s Feature Focused, not Benefit Driven

No one cares how easy it is to export the report data or set up the dashboard. They want to know if the information in your platform or work flows can help them make better business decisions, increase revenue, reduce cost, increase efficiency or realize higher profit margins.

Come prepared to share case studies from customers who saw real business benefits after purchasing your product.

4. You Didn’t Teach Them Anything

You’re the expert on the industry, your product, and trends that are emerging. What will your prospect know at the end of your presentation/demo that will help them make better business decisions? This is an opportunity to set yourself apart from your competitors. These teaching may or may not have anything to do with your company. As an example, Gen Z employees are about to flood the workforce. How is your industry/company/product preparing for their arrival?

Preparing and giving a thoughtful and impactful demo requires that you invest time. The difference between your company winning and losing the deal could be the difference in you showing up and winging it and you committing 2-4 hours of research.


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