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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Product Demonstration Best Practices

Product Demonstrations via a virtual room or face to face with customers is a finite resource in all opportunities, and is often the critical bottleneck. This article highlights a collection of some of the best practices that you can use.

To Start off, have the following checklist ready:

 I actually have a checklist ready before you start off the demonstration.

1. Prepare the questions to the pain points that the client is facing 
2. Have a plan to build rapport at the outset – emotional leadership – O.K./not O.K.

3. Integrate in a story to increase your personal appeal, to add some humor, and to demonstrate your competence.

4. Use a technical checklist

1. Use a white board and use PowerPoint sparingly : Less PowerPoint’ and more real-time use of the product leads to greater knowledge transfer - remember to keep it simple.

2. For a face to face interaction remember to stand up : Remember you give up control of the presentation and your audience if you give your demo sitting down.

3. Don't move too fast on the screen : Avoid screen flipping. Sometimes it’s better to answer verbally or by drawing on the white board."
4. Keep the spontaneity: Originality, spontaneity attracts attention. Before your next presentation, prepare a couple illustrative stories or analogies that might be useful. Just sit down and write about five interesting things that have happened to you.
5. Make every presentation and demo a two-way dialogue : Keep in mind that the goal of a customer meeting is NOT to dispense product knowledge. It is to ADVANCE THE SALE. Often times these goals get confused
6. Plan to stay high-level for executives : The worst impression you can make with executives is that you wasted their time, so don't go technical with them.
7. When under attack, fall back : If people attack during the presentation, the two most frequent responses are: a. You try to brush over it as quickly as possible. b. As they fire salvos at you, you try to defend and justify the solution you are presenting. Don’t fight alone. Get help. Let them fight. They have to get to consensus before they can decide on any course of action.
8. Get the audience talking early : Start every presentation with pre-planned questions to get the audience talking early. It relaxes you, and it makes them more comfortable and receptive. It also helps you locate the target and then hit it.
9. Start with the customer and work back to your solution : Presenters quickly launch a demonstration losing the audience about two slides into the mandatory corporate backgrounder that no one cares about but us. Instead, help your audience understand the context of the demonstration and how it relates to them. Remember to customize every presentation as much as possible. I strongly suggest not taking a laptop on the first call. If you get invited in to present, I also suggest you find out who is going to be there and try to speak to each of them one-on-one prior to the presentation, to make your presentation as useful for them as possible. When you do present, it should be tailored to address the pain, fear and gain you uncovered. Start with a recap and confirmation of the business problems you are addressing. Revisit and ‘reheat’ the pain. Get them emotionally involved. Then show how you will fix the problems.

If you want some perspective on how you or  your company needs to enhance their Sales/Client Management Capabilities, please email me at shubhanjan.saha@gmail.com 
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