If you are in the software business, farm machinery business, entertainment business, advertising business, video conferencing business, or pretty much any business where it’s possible to demonstrate your product or software, demos may be part of your everyday sales process.
But are demos productive for your organization?
They can be, if used correctly. But from what I’ve seen (and I’ve seen a lot) most demos aren’t productive. They turn into free rentals, free use of the software, or a waste of time walking people around your facility for a “tour,” which is technically a demo. They are often used too early in the process, used too often (meaning the sales person actually suggests it as a step instead of waiting for a prospective customer to ask), and used incorrectly.
Many salespeople use demos as a crutch, because they are hoping the product will sell itself. They aren’t strong enough to help the prospective client discover on their own without physically experiencing the product.
Many salespeople use demos as a way to get the process started, instead of a final tipping point to get a final Yes or No decision to work together.
Have you actually tallied how many dollars (both hard and soft dollars) poorly executed demos cost your business last year?
Demos can be very productive for your organization, but you should take a hard look at how your sales force executes a demo. Is it working for you, or is it time to change the game?
If the game needs to change, have the proper expectations set before the demo, understand the criteria you will be used to judge against, and don’t offer a demo if it isn’t asked for or necessary. Otherwise, demos are just slowing down the process.