Friday, July 29, 2011

Demo Duck Walk

I break into a cold sweat every time I see it. That two hour Outlook meeting request for an intro demo to the whole team. You know it isn't productive, I know it isn't productive, the salesperson knows it isn't productive (God knows I've told them enough times), so why do we do it? The prospect requested it. So that begs the question, should we demo how we think the product best fits the needs, or the way the client wants to see it demoed?

The first school of thought is the customer is always right. If we don't follow their requirements, we will be excluded. They will get mad. We make it hard to sell to them. There is some truth to this statement. If you just do what you want, you will create a negative feeling, especially if you cause the facilitator to feel embarrassed in front of their superiors.

The second school of thought is who cares what they want? If I can't show my solution the way I need to, what's the point, I'm not likely to win anyway. I agree whole heartedly with this statement. You could have the easiest product in the world to use, and if you have to keep logging in and out to show different views, it will seem unusable.

Then there is the Steve school of thought. The Steve school of thought is to plan on demoing the way you need to demo to meet the client's needs and show your product at its smoothest, easiest, and simplest way. But before you launch into this demo, advise the customer you are going to do this. This can be done in the first few minutes of the demo, right after the introductions. I like to start with the following statement. "You have given a lot of thought to this process and have laid out an ambitious agenda. What we have found is people who are most successful in using our solution, first see us demo the product in a logical flow, highlighting all of their requirements."

I generally find a positive response to this approach as I am acknowledging their diligence, but weighing that against industry standards used by their peers. Who wants to seem like the odd duck out?

1 comment:

  1. Agree with Steve school of thought. Meeting the client's needs does not equal: Client is the King and he's always right. I've experienced that prospects do not necessarily wish to hear the salesguy speech. Even in the pre-sales phase a vendor is supposed to do some consulting. Prospects find it USEFUL when a supplier can demonstrate that they're heading in a wrong direction. If the solution you're selling does not have such or such a functionality, it may be that other users have tried it before and it proved inappropriate in some manner.
    Let's not be afraid to say: no, sorry Mr Customer, no.
    And that has never lost me a customer ...