There was a time not so long ago when a sales presentation was a completely different animal than it is today. Ive worked for employers who stated with conviction “your job is to Demo, then Demo and then Demo more”. At the time I remember thinking “yah, that’s it! I’ll demo the hell out of them until they buy”. Man, I’ve never been so wrong.
To be clear, I absolutely believe in the power of a well executed online or in person demo or presentation. The problem as I see it is, salespeople (myself included because I’ve made every mistake there is), often run the risk of viewing an opportunity to demo or present as a nice easy shortcut on the path to a close.
It’s tempting to speak to a prospect and suggest “just let me take you through a quick webex, I know you’ll love what I have”. In reality the salesperson is simply looking for a shortcut to get the real work out of the way. “I just have to show them how great this product is and the selling will take care of itself”. While the “demo or die” mentality will likely result in some minor success, you will also be spending a lot of time demonstration your product to people who are not ready to buy, completely unqualified to make buying decisions or worst of all, people who don’t care or have no reason or interest in purchasing what you are selling in the first place. I can count on two hands how many web demos I’ve conducted online in 2016. I am fully capable of taking my prospect through a broad, basic demo or highly detailed demonstration of the amazing capabilities of Lead Assign’s product offering but, it’s simply not always necessary.
I would prefer having a prospect spend 20 minutes with me on the phone far more than having them spend 20 minutes in an online demo or a one sided presentation every time. After all, I know how hard I had to work through my precious pipeline to get this guy on the phone and I also know that the longer I have the prospect on the phone, the more I learn and the more candid the prospect will become. After a 20 minute phone conversation with my prospect, I will definitely be able to determine whether or not it’s worth my time to recommend an online demo to assist getting me to a close. I’ve had lots of situations where I’ve entered into conversations with the single goal of getting a demo only to realize, after a good meaningful business discussion, that a demo to that particular prospect would simply be a waste of their time and mine.
The conversation is key and is usually conducted over the phone or in person. A well drafted email can do wonders to initiate a meaningful conversation but deals are rarely closed through email itself. If you can manage to get your prospect on the phone you are in prime selling territory. Break some ice, show your personality and slowly walk your prospect through a needs analysis. Get your customer talking about themselves and what troubles them, the more they talk, the more you’ll discover. Using the phone to clearly explain and explore how you and your product can can help your prospect achieve their business objectives should be your only priority. You will naturally arrive at a demo if it is warranted. If you conduct your needs analysis properly, you might be the party to bail on the demo, having determined that the prospect isn’t an ideal candidate for your product for any number of reasons, either way you’ve saved precious time that could be spent having more meaningful business conversations with new prospects on the phone.
M. Joe Steeves, Director of Sales and Marketing, www.leadassign.com