Why Your Sales Demos Are Failing

October 19, 2015
min read time
Sam Aparicio
Sam Aparicio
Co-founder & CEO,
Why Your Sales Demos Are Failing

Demos are a great opportunity to make an impression, but they can also be a major time drain when things go wrong.

It all starts with preparation, and understanding the needs of your prospect. If you’re struggling to get maximum value from your sales demos, here are a few tips that will help you turn things around.

Are You Asking the Right Questions?

If you want your demo to resonate with your prospect, the questions you ask are just as important as the product you’re demoing. You need to go beyond the basic pitch, and understand why your solution is the right option to address the prospect’s specific challenges. Every purchase is made with the intent to achieve a goal, solve a problem, or address a failure.

Put yourself in the prospect’s shoes by working to understand their motivations and business needs. If a prospect raises an objection, treat it as an opportunity. Ask questions to understand the objection, and tailor your answers to the prospect’s specific needs. You can never go wrong by learning more about what makes your prospect tick.

Do You Qualify Prospects Before Offering a Demo?

As with most sales activities, not every demo will lead to a positive result. That part is fine, but you don’t want to waste time on demos that never had a chance for success in the first place. Avoid wasted time by making a qualifying call before you schedule a demo. If the prospect’s needs and budget do line up with your solution, then the information you gather during the qualifying call will help you prep a better demo. If not, you’ve saved some time that you can put toward converting a qualified prospect.

Are You in Control of Your Demos?

A good demo will naturally include questions from your prospect, but it’s important to make sure that you’re always in control. Prospects gravitate toward certain key questions, usually about price, price… and price. If you let the prospect take over your demo from the start, you won’t get the opportunity to learn about their needs and show how you can address them.

As the leader of the demo, you’re positioned to guide the conversation. It’s a bit like being a professor or teacher. You want to encourage engagement, while gently guiding the conversation down the most productive path. Since you’re working through a demo, you already have a built-in excuse to keep things moving if you feel like control is slipping away.

Are You Showing Your Product, or Demoing It?

Your demos should not be generic. If a prospect schedules a demo, there’s a good chance they already learned the basic facts about your solution through your website, marketing materials, and conversations with reps. In other words, they have a general idea about how your solution works, and the demo is an opportunity to show how it will specifically benefit their business.

This is where the questions you asked during the qualifying and lead-nurturing stages become really valuable. Use what you’ve learned about the prospect to create a demo focused on their real challenges, and how you can solve them. Context means everything, and specific examples win deals.

You won’t have to overhaul your whole process to find more success with sales demos. Put your focus on the prospect, and plan ahead by gathering the data you need before the demo. Lead your demos with authority, but remain responsive and accommodating. It’s all about finding the right balance – for you, and your prospect.


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