Delivering a service or product demonstration can be a high pressure situation. Not only do you have to worry about making your presentation clear and compelling, you have tons of peripheral stuff to worry about, like whether your laptop is going to blow up, or whether your fly is down, or whether you’re accidentally going to call your new client Lucy, when in fact his name is Lester. The potential for disaster is omnipresent.
Here at Blrt HQ, it would be fair to say that we’ve had our allotted share of presentation-related angst. The valuable outcome of that can be summed up in just one word – EXPERIENCE – which we’re now going to share with you, in our totally awesome guide to delivering a cracking service or product demonstration.Here's how to nail your next product #demo... Click To Tweet
How to deliver a killer service or product demonstration
1. Know your stuff
Whether you a demonstrating a tangible product, a software or a service, you need to know it better than its own mother does. You need to be smooth, you need to be cool, and you need to be confident. This only comes from getting your hands dirty and tinkering. Lift the hood. Peer inside. Take it to pieces. Not only do you need to know how it works, you need to gather peripheral knowledge. By this, we mean:
- Read ALL the product literature such as brochures, catalogues and training material
- Understand what others think about it by visiting online forums, listening to feedback from customers and reading trade and industry publications
- Review any internal sales records and speak to other team members about the product
- Visit the manufacturing plant if you can
2. Know your customer
The key to making a sale is not to demonstrate how the product/service works, but how the product/service will help the customer (at a personal level or at a business level). This means that EVERY feature must be anchored to a customer problem or opportunity.
Ideally, your product demonstration should tell a story that allows the customer to see how things will improve once they have your product in their hot little hands. Your story can only ring true if you also know your client better than their own mother does (yep – this process involves a LOT of mothering).
So how do you gather this information?
If your customer is a business:
- Set up Google News alert for your customer’s business
- Read their annual report
- Visit their premises
- Check out their marketing
- Experience their products and understand their strengths and weaknesses
- Find out who their competitors are and what those products are all about
If your customer is a person:
- Understand their life and what makes them tick
- Work out what their pain points are as they relate to your product/service
- Learn how they use similar products to address those pain points
3. Work out the features and benefits
Armed with your in-depth knowledge gained from steps one and two above, arrange your product demonstration into a logical flow to highlight each feature of your product/service that you know will benefit this client.
Too many people make the mistake of delivering a presentation that’s like a grocery-list. But you don’t want to tell people about the tomatoes and the avocado and the onions, right? You want to tell them about the GUACAMOLE!
Isolating the features and working out their benefits is as simple as making a table, and nothing illustrates this better than the classic marketing exercise called the ‘Incredible Pencil Test’:
3. KISS (Keep It Simple, Sweetheart)
You need to make sure that your product demonstration is simple and straightforward. Resist the temptation to put everything but the kitchen sink in, because not everything is relevant, and not everything is going to be the thing that makes the sale.
Presentations that attempt to dazzle the audience with loads of features just leave the audience confused, and can deliver the impression that your product is really complicated. Be selective and focus on the handful of features that are going to deliver the greatest benefit to the customer. These are the dealmakers.
4. Write an Oscar-worthy plot
Section by section, you need to work out what you’re going to say while you’re demonstrating. The idea is not to write a word for word speech, but to work out what it is you need to tell the audience while you’re demonstrating, and to adapt your talking points to suit the rhythm of the product.
For instance, if you’re demonstrating some software and it takes several seconds for something to process, you don’t want your audience standing there staring at the guinea pig in the wheel while you’re humming elevator muzak. If you do that, those seconds will stretch out into light years and your guinea pig will seem more like a feeble little field mouse.
Go for seamless, with no awkward pauses. A great technique for this is to map out the steps in your demo and match them up with relevant information. Again, a simple table is your BFF – consider this example of a software demo:
5. Rehearse like your Oscar is on the line
Incredibly, there are a bunch of people out there pinning their product demonstration on the ‘she’ll be right, mate’ philosophy. Considering that loads of these people are paid on commission, a successful product demonstration is a key part of bringing home the bacon.
Those salespeople who don’t rehearse are probably still chasing the bacon all around the farmyard.
Rehearsing your product demonstration (in front of a mirror, or your mum) will give you a chance to pick up on the bits that don’t flow well, or that are slightly confusing. It will help you develop your patter, and learn your material. Rehearsing will also build your confidence and make you seem more credible.Rehearsing is as important as competence in a product #demo Click To Tweet
6. Test, test and test again (then do another test)
Never assume that any equipment at any facility or customer office is going to work for you. Murphy’s Law dictates that whatever can do wrong will go wrong, so your challenge is to anticipate every single issue and failsafe your product demonstration against all of them.
In so much as is practical, bring your own kit to do your product demonstration. This means your own laptop, projector and other such devices. If you can’t use your own gear, at least bring a selection of different connectors that will suit different configurations of hardware.
Try not to bring brand new stuff that you’ve never used before. And finally, make sure your product is tested too. This means that you shouldn’t do anything like getting a new one out of its packaging in front of an audience, or demonstrating a new feature without testing it thoroughly first.
7. Calm your nerves
Feelings of anxiety and nervousness ahead of an important event are just a part of being human. It’s up to you, however, how much of that humanity you choose to show.
Some of the most famous performers in the world have admitted to experiencing crippling stage-fright, but you would never know it when you see them perform. There are loads of tricks and techniques to take your focus off your nerves (including the age-old tactic of imagining your audience naked) but since that has the potential to make you slightly nauseous, we’re not so sure that’s a good idea.
Quite simply, we recommend ensuring that you’re not running late, which will enable you to just take a few moments to relax ahead of your presentation, recalling the fact that you’re well-prepared and rehearsed, and knowing you’re going to kick that demonstration right out of the ball park.
In addition, you might want to try rolling your shoulders to release any tension, plastering a big smile on your face and then telling yourself how awesome you are. After all, you know it’s true.Arrive early to your next product #demo so you can catch your breath... Click To Tweet
8. Have a Plan B (and perhaps a Plan C)
Always, always, always have a PowerPoint presentation (or something similar) in your back pocket, just in case your product becomes uncooperative. Make it closely reflective of a live product demonstration by using lots and lots of imagery rather than lots of words. Incorporate a short video if possible.
With a bit of luck you’ll be able to reschedule for another time, once you’ve worked through your issues. Blrt is a great tool for this!
9. Be prepared to go off-script
It’s not always going to be the case that you can deliver your product demonstration exactly as you’ve scripted it. A customer’s time may be cut short, they may have a million questions, or they may have other objectives for your meeting, which don’t include a demonstration.
What’s most important to focus on is your customer’s engagement with what you’re saying. If they’re interested and they’re paying attention, just roll with it, and stay focused on the end game.
10. Ask for the deal
Through all of this, it’s important to stay focused on why you’re in the room ‘doing your thing’ in the first place. It’s because you want to make a sale (or whatever the equivalent is for you). There’s no point delivering a fabulous demonstration that ticks all the customer’s boxes and makes your product/service look perfect for them if it doesn’t help you close a deal.
This is when some good time-tested selling techniques should kick in. For these, we turn to one of the master salesmen of all time, Tom Hopkins, who says this: “Never give a product demonstration without stating the facts, showing the benefits, creating urgency and asking for feedback”.
It’s these last two items that conclude your demonstration.Demonstrating urgency and asking for feedback will drive home your next product #demo Click To Tweet
Think about your product and the problem it solves for the customer – how can you add an element of urgency to this?
For instance, if your widget helps someone save electricity, that translates directly to them saving money, so your line of reasoning will be something like this: “Our research has proven that once installed, this device will reduce your power consumption by x%, which represents $x on an average monthly energy bill for a household of four. That being the case, you can start saving money straight away.”
Without using any high pressure or being pushy, the salesperson has pointed out the significant advantage to making a purchase right now over leaving it until later.
Getting feedback from the customer simply means asking them about their intention to commit to a purchase. This is essential because it helps you position them in your sales pipeline and enables you to forecast accurately.
Continuing from the example above, your question could be something like this: “Our technicians have a free time-slot on Friday of next week to install the device – would this suit you?” Again, there was no need to be pushy and force a sale – the question is asked in an attempt to meet their needs, and to provide the customer with a good service experience
11. What if you can’t get in front of the customer?
Never fear. These days, so much business is done without two human beings ever being present in the same room. In fact, it’s increasingly becoming the norm, rather than the exception. And this is where Blrt can save the day.
Blrt is a great tool for simulating a live product demonstration because it enables people to do the things that people generally do in meetings, like talking, and pointing at stuff, and drawing on things.
Using Blrt, you can transform photos of your product in action into a video-like recording, with your voice talking anyone through the process while you’re squiggling over and pointing at different aspects of the photos. And although a Blrt recording looks and feels like a video, and is scrubbable like a video, it loads much more quickly because Blrts require up to 50 times less bandwidth than video.
Since Blrts are so quick and easy to make, you can make them customised to each potential new client, which is much more difficult to do with a video. In addition, customers can respond to a Blrt, talking and pointing in turn over the same media – it opens up a conversation which makes for deeper engagement with your product, and a better chance of moving the client through the sales cycle.
Would now be a good time for you to give it a try? (See what we did there?)
Blrt helps you get your point across quickly by allowing you to talk, point and draw over images, documents and websites. The resulting video-like recording is called a Blrt.
Your Blrts require much less bandwidth than video and can be shared with anyone on mobile or desktop. This makes Blrt ideal for both collaboration and the creation and sharing of dynamic content, as public Blrts can be embedded into any webpage.
Once recorded, Blrts are stored in the cloud and are exchanged with others in a conversation-like fashion. A record is kept of the exchange, and new parties and media can be added at any time.
Blrt shifts time and place, allowing users in a conversation to participate in their own time. In an era where activity-based working and distributed teams are commonplace, Blrt is revolutionising the way people interact to get things done.