How Buyers Judge Your Demo And What You Can Do About It

by Sara Wesche

Top 5 phrases used on every demo:

  1. Our proprietary product has the following comprehensive list of features
  2. Our proprietary product will save you time and money
  3. We built our proprietary product with the end user in mind
  4. We have the highest quality product and best customer service
  5. I'll go through the next few slides quickly because we're getting short on time …

Oh boy...tommy-boy-fire

If you say “proprietary” one more time, your buyer is going to fall asleep. Or do a shot. Maybe both.

Your buyer doesn’t care about the features and benefits of your proprietary product/service/method. They don’t want to be driven through a product demo of menus and clicks that leaves them daydreaming about who is going to get voted off of the island on Survivor. Hopefully, it isn’t you.

This isn’t your fault, and it’s not the fault of your product. Demos crash and burn because sales teams don’t understand how today’s buyer buys. You end up looking, sounding and acting the same as your competition. Thanks to the digital age, the buyer’s journey has completely evolved.

Focus on these three elements to make your demo the deal closer.

#1 Solve Your Buyer’s Pain
You may think that your buyer makes informed decisions based on meaningful, measurable, and logical outcomes. You are wrong. Their number one priority is to eliminate pains, threats, and fears. Why? Because their brain is in the driver's seat.

The brain has two major parts, the neocortex, where logic and reason live, and the limbic region, where instinct lives. Being a highly-developed species, we like to think that we make all of our decisions with logic and reason but the truth is that 90% of our decisions are made in the limbic, or instinctual side of our brain.

What does this mean for your demo? If you are leading with facts, figures, and features you are putting your buyer’s brain to sleep. You have to present your solution as the only way to eliminate their pain. You have to be able to drive preference and priority with your buyer.

By framing your demonstration around how your product or solution eliminates pains, threats, and fears you can create an emotional lift that differentiates you against the competition and creates a convinced environment.

#2 Create Group Consensus
According to the Corporate Executive Board (CEB), there’s an average of 6.8 people per decision-making team and that number continues to grow. And, that’s not just people… it’s 6.8 opinions, 6.8 different wants, and needs, 6.8 goals. Every person in the group comes to the decision table with their own bias and self-centric priorities.

Most salespeople only focus on the key stakeholder or the perceived decision maker. That worked 10 years ago, but today decisions are made by consensus. Sales teams need to go beyond the key stakeholders and uncover the needs as many of the members on the decision team as possible. From there, the salesperson must help to build prioritization and consensus. Once established, the presentations and demonstrations should only focus on the solution to achieve the right outcome of the buying team’s identified needs and objectives.

In a recent Linkedin article, Rob Falcone points out, “Sellers leading “feature-demos” connect with a point-problem (I need to get my lawn mowed) that buyers have defined. Sellers leading value-demos not only show how they can help address the point-problem but also help buyers broaden their scope to consider the strategic outcome (I need to maximize the sale price of my home, as quickly as possible).”

Focus on the strategic outcome, not the individual features.

#3 Prescribe Solutions
A prescriptive approach involves demonstrating what and how the buyer can do rather than telling people what they should do. This is often referred to as demonstrating the art of the possible.

With the right prescriptive message during your demo, you’ll prioritize the can solve over the on the minds of the buying team. Not only are you positioning your solution as the right choice, but you are also convincing the buying team that they need to act now to eliminate the pain, threat, or fear.

Demo to Win
Product features are a dime a dozen these days. And any buyer can sign up for a “Free Demo” of the latest and greatest. By the time they are jumping into your demo, chances are they are three-quarters of the way through their buyer’s journey. This means you're out of the picture when they're doing their research, making their own assumptions and creating their shortlist. Bottom line, you have less time to influence your prospect’s decision.

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