The Opening Demo

(One of the Four Types of Demo)

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The Opening Demo is typically shown to a customer early in the sales cycle, perhaps at a first meeting. With the exception of products that can be sold in one meeting, the beginning of the sales cycle is a when the customer and vendor are just getting to know and trust each other. Many customers do an early vendor sort at this stage, eliminating all but two or three vendors. Therefore, the goals of the Opening Demo are: 

  • Identify Hot Buttons: These may change over time, but it’s never too early to start demonstrating specific solutions to the customer’s unique problems.
  • Establish relevance: show that your product is a relevant and appropriate solution for their problem.
  • Build trust: This is especially important if the customer is going trim the field to a short list of vendors.

Many vendors are present a “Big picture” demo at this early stage, in hopes that the customer will recognize more benefits than they anticipated. We don't believe this works. Put yourself in the customer's shoes: they are talking to every vendor in the industry in an effort to pick the ones most likely to meet their needs. By the time they get to the second or third demo, they are overwhelmed with features and start confusing one product with the next. If you want to stand out and be remembered, here's what to do: 

  1. Start by name dropping for credibility: “Fortune 500 customers like A and B depend on our product to do X and Y.” Spend no more than one minute (sixty seconds!) flipping through screens that demonstrate your most common application in the Fortune 500 (or other list of credible customers).
  2. Focus straight in on Hot Buttons. “You told us that your key objectives are to find a product to do D, E and F. Is that correct?” (Always confirm-you never know when priorities change). Once confirmed, demonstrate how you handle each hot button.
  3. At the conclusion, say, “We’ve shown you how we handle your Hot Buttons D, E and F. From this short introduction, does it look like we have the type of solution you are looking for?” Explore any answers that are not a clear “Yes.” You may discover they were unclear in their requirements, or that their boss’s requirements are not realistic. This is the time to uncover these issues! 

What do you do when your audience comes from different companies, with different requirements? That situation is more like a Trade Show Demo-Click here to learn the techniques to use.