11 Sales Demo Best Practices Every Rep Should Follow

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Sales Tactics : 10 min read

11 Sales Demo Best Practices Every Rep Should Follow

So, you finally nailed a meeting with a prospect who wants to see a demo of your product.

Congratulations!

What now?

Doing a product demo (whether it’s in person or over video chat) can be nerve-wracking, and for good reason: these precious moments could make or break the deal with this prospect.

You know your product is good, and you know it can help the prospect improve their life or their business.

But how can you make sure that the prospect also understands the value of what you’re offering?

Good thing there are some key sales demo best practices that pro reps use to nail their product demos. So if just the thought of giving your next product demo is making you sweat, don’t worry: we’ve got you covered.

Here are 11 demo best practices that you can use to seal the deal.

1. Ask insightful questions, and save key ideas in your CRM.

This strategy is just as important both before and during your product demo.

You’ve probably heard this before: asking the right discovery questions beforehand will help you guide the demo in such a way that prospects have no choice but to see the value of your product.

For example, before your demo, ask questions such as:

  • What challenges are you facing with your current solution?
  • Which features of our product are of most interest to you?
  • What kind of problems do you expect your new solution to address?
  • What are your company’s most important goals right now?
  • Who else will be involved in this purchase decision? What features are most important to them?

Knowing the answers to these types of questions is essential before you begin. Remember to note the answers.

And don’t forget that questions can have a powerful effect during your demo as well.

For example, ask questions that get the prospect to think about what your product will do for them, or how it compares to what they’re currently using.

  • How does your current solution help you solve [common industry issue]?
  • Do you think this feature is an improvement on what your current solution offers?
  • Who on your team is going to find this feature especially useful?
  • How much time do you think this feature will save you (your team) per week?

The answers to these questions will help you guide the demo in a way that makes it more valuable to the client.

And remember: those nuggets of important information that you collect from your prospect should always be saved.

use a crm to record notes from your demo

Use your CRM and write down any information that will be relevant to future communications, such as the problems they’re most keen to solve using your product or the features that seemed to stand out to them the most during the demo.

2. Customize the demo to their needs.

Put your questions to good use by customizing the demo to each specific prospect.

For example, let’s say you offer accounting software with a customizable dashboard. Finding out beforehand what is most important to the client allows you to adjust the demo dashboard to their needs.

Do they prefer to see a day-by-day expenditure report, or an annual summary? Would they rather see immediately how much money they have budgeted for different departments?

Knowing the answers to these questions allows you to create a mock dashboard that fits with what the prospect needs.

This principle applies to all types of software demos, since customizing the experience allows your prospect to see just how useful your product is for their specific needs.

Pro-tip

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Learn how to run a sales demo that sells in this on-demand webinar.

3. Simplify your demo by highlighting only the most relevant features.

As a sales rep, it’s your job to know everything about the product you’re trying to sell. And there’s no doubt that your product has tons of really cool features. However, it’s not realistic to think you can present every feature in your demo.

Rushing through a demo with the goal of showing them everything is like trying to watch a movie in fast-forward because you don’t have time to see the whole thing.

You’ll end up rushing right past important points, and the prospect is likely to get lost.

Instead, before the demo starts, make a list of the features that you think will be most interesting to this particular prospect. Spend more time on those features, and your prospects will have a better understanding of the value of your product for their business.

4. Show what your product can do in everyday situations.

Ask yourself these two very important questions:

  • Based on what I know about this prospect, what are the problems they’re currently facing?
  • How does my product solve those problems?

For example, don’t say this:

“Copper is a CRM software that integrates with G Suite. Just click here and here and you’ll see your emails with the client.”

Instead, say this:

“So imagine you have a really long email chain with a client. There’s important information in an email from a few weeks ago, but it’s lost in the chain of other emails. Copper helps you save this kind of information before it gets lost. And since Copper integrates with G Suite, you can actually save important client information right to your CRM without leaving Gmail, like this…”

To make sure prospects see the value of your product in their daily activities, try to tell a story.

By tying each feature to a problem they face, you’ll show them the worth of your product and keep them engaged in the demo.

5. Have a script ready, but be prepared to throw it out the window.

There are two mistakes that many sales reps make in a demo:

  • Going in with no script.
  • Sticking rigidly to the script they prepared even when it’s not relevant.

First, it’s important to have a script. While you might not write down word-for-word the entire demo, you want to make sure that you highlight the right features, mention all of the important points, and ask the right questions.

Having a script also creates a good flow throughout the call. According to Gong.io, top-performing sales reps follow a process that mentions topics sequentially, giving the whole call a good flow.

top-performing sales reps follow a process that mentions topics sequentially

However, this doesn’t mean you need to cling to that script like it’s the only thing saving you from falling off a cliff.

If your prospect shows interest in a feature that you hadn’t planned on spending too much time with, have the flexibility to go with their suggestions. Or, if they seem to be losing interest, be prepared to change up the pace or move on to another feature.

Being flexible with your script allows you to adjust to the needs of the prospect, which is why this is one of the most important demo best practices on our list.

6. Make the demo as interactive as possible.

Remember: your demo shouldn’t be an hour-long monologue. Think of it more like a conversation, and you’ll keep the attention—and interest—of your prospect.

One way to keep the conversation going is to continually ask questions, as we mentioned above. This helps you feel out your prospect’s view of the product as you go, and allows them to voice concerns in the moment. It will also help them stay engaged in the demo.

Another way to make the demo interactive is by allowing your prospect to do some of the work.

For example, instead of working through the product by yourself, can you have the prospect click or type in information?

This helps them learn how to use the product within the demo itself, and ensures they’re paying attention.

7. Explain each click.

When going through your software demo, don’t forget to provide continuous explanations.

You know your product well, and it’s easy to click, click, click to get that report or show this feature without explaining what you’re doing. This can leave the prospect confused, or could make them think that your product is complicated and hard to use.

To avoid this, explain what you’re doing each time you click on something. Even just a few words as you go along will make your prospect feel included and help them understand how your product works.

8. Put real data into the product demo.

Most product demos feature fake data full of Xs and 0s.

This won’t help your prospect see how the software works in the real world.

So, when preparing your demo, put actual data into those fields. Input realistic names and numbers into the demo product, and create reports that feature actual data.

If you really want to go the extra mile, try tailoring the information that appears in your software demo to each specific prospect. For example, feature the name of their business instead of ‘test’ or ‘demo.’

9. Listen to their views and concerns.

Your demo shouldn’t be just one long pitch from beginning to end.

It’s important to listen to what your prospects are thinking, both during and at the end of the demo.

Once you’ve shown the prospect your product, remember to always ask questions such as:

  • How do you think the features we saw here could help your business?
  • Did you have any concerns about the product that you wanted to mention?
  • Were there any points you didn’t understand, or anything you wanted to go over again before we finish?

These questions help you make sure that the prospect understood your pitch and gets your product. Also, if they do have any concerns, you’ll be able to listen to and overcome them before moving on to the final stage of the call.

10. Before the demo is over, move the prospect to the next stage.

How much time do you normally leave at the end of a product demo to discuss the next steps in the sale?

According to a study by Gong.io, successful demo calls spend an average of 12.7% more time talking about next steps than unsuccessful demo calls.

plan time in your demo to go over next steps

So, set aside that time in your schedule to move the prospect forward at the end of the call. Remember, your prospects are busy people too. You don’t want them to be checking their watches and mentally preparing for their next meeting while you’re trying to nail down a definite next step.

Instead, plan for at least five minutes of time at the end of the call to move the prospect forward into the next stage of the buying process.

11. After the demo, follow up with a friendly email to recap.

Your work isn’t done just because your demo’s over.

Never underestimate the power of a follow-up email.

Within 24 hours of your software demo, send an email to recap the last meeting and your next steps.

First, remind them briefly of the features you discussed, and any points that seemed to especially stand out to the prospect during the demo.

Then, remind them of important points about pricing or timeline that were mentioned during the demo.

Finally, let them know that you’re looking forward to the next call or meeting that was scheduled at the end of the demo, and remind them of the time and place.

Having these important points in writing helps prospects refresh their memory about what was discussed, as well as convey this information accurately to other decision-makers or shareholders.

Use these demo best practices to improve your pitch and nail more sales.

Are you ready to stop biting your nails and sweating bullets at the thought of your next product demo?

Following these demo best practices will help you to show more value to your prospects by asking the right questions and tailoring the demo to their needs. You’ll also give them a simplified view of what your product can do for them on a daily basis, as well as getting them to take an active part in the demo.

Remember, create a script that helps you structure the call, but don’t be afraid to follow the prospect’s suggestions. As you go, explain each click and give the prospect time to express their views.

Finally, always set aside a block of time to discuss your next steps, and follow up with a friendly email to refresh their memory and set important points in writing.

These demo best practices are being used by top performing sales reps to nail more deals. Are you ready to be one of them?