As you may know, we have developed a community management software called Maestro Community Manager. Because we sell the software to people all across the country, we have had to rely on virtual meetings and demos since long before COVID forced us all indoors.
Over the past few years, I have really focused on the demo piece of our sales process. It has helped me to not only sell better, but improved how we succinctly talk about our software. Along the way I’ve learned some very helpful tactics that will help you as well, whether your demo is face to face or virtual.
1. Book in Advance
We all know how effective (or really ineffective) cold calling can be. Your odds of getting someone to want to do a demo right then are very small. Even if you aren’t cold calling, doing an impromptu demo may not be in your best interest. It doesn’t give you time to properly prepare, and it puts them in a situation where they may be watching the clock to see how long they can listen to you before they have to leave. Scheduling a set time for your demo will allow them to book a time when they can give you their undivided attention and allows you to prepare.
You may not have a lot to gather for your demo. For instance, our software is cloud-based. I don’t need a big setup, but there are still things that help make the demo more successful.
Research the organization (or person) that you are providing a demo for. Learn what you can about them and their challenges ahead of time. This doesn’t have to be a doctoral thesis, but 10 minutes of googling will probably give you enough information to know what you can expect and how your product may be able to assist that person or organization.
Send a reminder. This is especially true for virtual meetings. About a year ago we were getting a lot of no-shows for our virtual demos. It wasn’t intentional, and most would reschedule. They’d put the date on their calendar and then forget about it. We changed our process to send them three emails. The first comes immediately after they signup for a demo. The second comes the day before the demo and serves as a reminder for them to clear their calendar. The third comes an hour before our appointment, and helps to avoid those last-minute forgetful moments. Since we implemented this system our attendance (and sales) have increased!
*Bonus tip – keep them short! Budget for 30 min or less and try to end at 20-25 which gives you time to answer more of their questions!
Set the scene and eliminate distractions. If you are doing a virtual demo, have a quiet place to hold your meeting with little to no distractions for you or your attendees (which means checking behind you). If you are doing an in-person demonstration you will have to contend with whatever environmental factors are there, but doing whatever you can to draw their attention and eliminate distractions will help their retention and boost your success.
3. Ask, Ask, Ask
Often times we think of a demo as our opportunity to showcase what we have to offer. To a great extent that is true. However, we need to make sure that what we are selling is something that has value to the customer. We won’t know that unless we ask them.
I start every demo by asking what it is that made them sign up for the demo in the first place. What are they hoping this software can do for them? Their answers will tell you how to improve your odds of making a sale.
Let’s take our software as an example. Let’s just say there are 10 things that the software does (hint, it does more but for math purposes we cut this down). There are 4 that are critical functions that will be some part of every demo you do. When the person you are talking to says they really are hoping to solve a problem and #7-10 would do that, why would you talk about numbers 3-5 because they are what most people want? You wouldn’t. You’ll talk about the things that apply to them. However, in most of our demonstrations we don’t take the time to ask what their needs are, meaning they may only hear about 3-5 instead of the things that will really help them.
Ask them what questions they have. Ask them what the next steps for their organization are and how you can help them in making their decision. The more you ask, the more you are able to help.
These tips won’t guarantee you’ll close every sale, but they will increase your odds. More often than not, you’ll find that your demos are more impactful and tailored to each potential customer. Good luck, and happy demoing!