A key element in selling your product or service is demonstrating its capabilities. Potential customers expect company representatives to understand and know how to use the product and be able to show them how it works. Clients will also expect a company representative to be able to answer questions about the product and talk intelligently about its key differentiators, especially when compared with a competitor’s product.
Unfortunately this expectation is not always met, as more often than not company representatives are ill-equipped and uneducated in terms of how to demo their own product. This inability will kill a deal quicker than just about any other individual or corporate weakness.
I’ve found that by following a few simple guidelines, a business can be prepared to really wow a potential customer and blow them out of the water with how cool its product is. I’ve listed these tips below.
1. Prior to selling the product to a customer, make sure the product development team is meeting with the entire company to provide an explanation and demo. Make them satisfy each individual in the company’s curiosity and answer each team member’s questions.
2. Develop a simple Frequently Asked Questions document that everybody in the company can have access to and use as a ready reference. Make sure to update this FAQ regularly as new questions come up.
3. Make sure everybody in the organization has practiced demonstrating the product and is comfortable doing so on a minute’s notice. Advise your team to speak out loud when they practice, as that provides a completely different perspective on how their presentations sound.
4. Advise the team not to guess if they don’t know the answer to a question. Nothing is wrong with telling potential customers you want to provide them with accurate information. They’ll appreciate the honesty as well as the fact that you place a high level of importance on providing the right information.
5. If you a need to follow up with an answer, make sure to do it in the time frame specified. In addition, following up with an answer provides another reason to make contact after the initial demo. Doing it within the specified time frame demonstrates to the client a high level of professionalism and commitment.
6. When demonstrating the product, have your team explain the steps they’re going through and why. They should point out features and specific reasons why the product is designed the way it is. Often a client may not know that certain features are cool or answer a specific need unless told so.
7. Don’t be afraid to let clients try the products themselves. If they choose to do so, be ready to answer their questions and walk them through the right way to work the product.
A product demo sounds simple but is a critical process in closing a sales deal. If done properly, your company’s chance of closing the deal increases exponentially. On the flip side, if not taken seriously, you can kiss the sale goodbye.
General Manager and Vice-President of the CodecSys Division
Salt Lake City
Want to improve the way you run your business? Entrepreneurs, academics, and consultants from diverse industries offer practical advice on a variety of topics each business day.
To submit a tip for consideration, first check our archive of previous tips to make sure you're not repeating a tip someone has already contributed. Then send the tip to Small Business channel contributor Michelle Dammon Loyalka. Because of the volume of material she receives, she may not respond to each individual.