Why Product Demos Must Go Beyond Impressions

Gaining profits from product demos is a challenging endeavor for all kinds of companies. On the one hand, you have to demonstrate your products in a way that showcases their functionality and robustness, while on the other hand, you have to present them in a way that gets them sold.  

Both these tasks can often prove much more difficult than they seem when presenting software products. Software companies often mistake falling prey to what I call “impression syndrome” – producing flashy presentations with screens full of images and tons of pretentious information about features thrown at the audience to impress them.

This does not help achieve actual results because people walk away from the demo still completely unconvinced about wanting any part of your product. However, when you take a step back and think about why people attend demos in the first place, two things become apparent: 

1) People want to know if they should bother investing their time at all into your product demo.

2) People need to walk away from the demo feeling like they’ve learned something.

Successful product demos must do more than impress people. They must also deliver valuable insights and information to the audience to be willing participants in what you have planned for them. There are several guidelines worth keeping in mind when planning out your next product demo with this realization.

Here are five of them:

Show your product's features in action rather than talk about them.

Use video as much as possible for showing product features, it be quicker for your audience to understand.

If you have a software solution for an online retailer, don’t spend too much time talking about the eCommerce tools that you offer for catalog management and product listings.

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Go straight into why these tools are important to the success of your users by showing them how they can use these tools to improve their sales figures. 

This will help show the audience why these tools are essential to what you’re pitching instead of just listing out all of its features along with tons of techno-jargon that no one understands anyway.

don't make it about yourself or your company.

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No one wants to sit through a 2-hour presentation to hear about how great you and your company are. They’re not interested in that! 

What they want is information on your product and its value within the marketplace. If you spend most of the time talking about yourself or your company, don’t be surprised when you get blank stares from everyone.

It must feel relevant to each person who is listening.

If you have a live demo, make sure you have an idea of which features your audience is really interested in, they may not care about every feature.

Everyone who is attending the demo has their own set of problems within their respective organizations.

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So make sure your message speaks directly to them by making it relevant to what matters most to them at this moment in time. You can’t do this if you’re not asking enough questions about them before the presentation begins.

Allow for ample time so that people can ask you questions.

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Live demos are a great chance to get real time feedback.d

The good thing about allowing for ample time is that it forces every attendee to pay attention to what you’re saying because they don’t want to miss out on an opportunity to ask their burning question.

This will help increase retention and absorb more of your messaging than just having someone sitting there listening while staring at a screen. But, remember, these are busy people.

Make sure you allow enough time post-presentation so that they have a chance to engage with you one-on-one if they need further clarification or have follow-up questions.

Connect with your audience at a human level.

This is where things get interesting. This fifth and final guideline isn’t about the presentation itself. Instead, you can connect personally with each of the attendees before and after you’ve presented. 

This might be through social media channels like LinkedIn or Twitter; it might require you to find common ground through professional associations. Whatever it takes, make sure that you put in some effort outside of just walking into their office and delivering your speech. It might be what makes or breaks the success of your presentation.

So there you have it, five guidelines that are worth keeping in mind when preparing for your next product demo. If you do them right, not only will you impress people, but more importantly, they’ll walk away wanting to do business with you because you showed them how what’s in it for them.

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