Product presentations and demos are the biggest speed bump in the early part of the sales process. Nail the demo and the waters you’ll navigate to close the deal will be smoother sailing (in relative terms).
One of the biggest factors that influence how buyers perceive a product presentation is your credibility as the presenter. Not in terms of product knowledge, but your credibility when it comes relating to the business of the customer, coming across like you’ve been there and done it.
From a buyer’s perspective, the psychology goes something like this: “Company X understands us much better than company Y. I’m more comfortable buying from them.”
Think back to a deal you lost when you clearly had the superior solution, or a deal you won when the competitor’s solution was better. Case closed!
It’s the best story, not always the best product that wins.
Product Presentations: 3 Guidelines for Differentiating With Credibility
1. End With Features, Don’t Lead With Them!
The quickest way to disengage your audience is to make your demo more about the product than the customer.
Start every scenario by framing a job task that’s relevant. For example, “Let’s say you’re preparing your quarterly regulatory filings…”
Make 80% of this scenario about what typically happens, why it’s undesirable and the ultimate outcome customers want. Then show 1-3 features necessary to eliminate the undesirable part of this scenario.
Unless asked, don’t bother showing all the features and options that make your solutions “incredibly flexible.” It just makes your product look more complicated.
2. Listen as Much (or more) Than You Talk
If you let buyers talk long enough, they’ll sell themselves, plus they’ll share all kinds of off-the-cuff information that will help you win the deal.
You should be passionate about your products, but don’t interject with product specifics every time you hear a problem or issue you can address.
Wait for a pause, paraphrase what you’ve just heard and relate it to strengths of your product or company, or other customer situations that are similar.
Then zip it and let them keep talking, or ask “WHY does that happen?”
It’s like therapy. As long as your buyers are talking, they feel good about dealing with you. And in most cases, a good gut feeling determines who wins the business. Product or company attributes justify the decision.
3. Net It Out.
Don’t expect your buyers to walk away with that one differentiating value theme on their own. You need to net it out and keep reminding them throughout the demo.
For example, “Everything we do is about simplifying regulatory compliance and doing it at a lower cost.”
The moral of the story is this: make selling situations more about the buyer than the product. As long they’re focused on themselves, the less your product will be under the microscope, and that’s a good thing.