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During the course of my career, I’ve been an observer or recipient of hundreds of product demonstrations. Some stood out and kept me interested, others left me desperate for the end to come, and I’ve even ended one or two before the presenter had finished.

Being on the receiving end of such variations of quality has provided valuable insight into what works, and just as importantly, what doesn’t work, for me as the audience.

Product demonstrations, especially software demos, typically start with the home screen and then proceed to work through every function, every feature, and every conceivable benefit. They cover every possible use case, leave nothing out, and leave no chance that the person on the receiving end feels like anything has been missed.

Except that demos like this actually miss the entire point….. the point of demonstrating why the product helps the prospect solve problems that they’re currently facing.

As a sales person who believes heart and soul in the product that they sell, it’s not surprising that they want to showcase this to anyone who shows any sort of interest, but not every prospect will be interested in, or have a requirement for, every single product feature and benefit.

Instead of walking your prospect through the entire product, a far better place to start is getting a detailed understanding of what the prospect needs and why this is critically important to them. Once this is clarified, the demo can focus on addressing just these issues. Having done this, you can ask if the prospect wants to look at any other aspects, safe in the knowledge that you’ve already addressed the key concerns that they’d previously highlighted.

Taking this more focused approach has two distinct but incredibly valuable results: Firstly, you’ll be demonstrating genuine empathy with the prospect and building a far stronger relationship, and secondly, you’ll avoid wasting a great deal of your and the prospect’s time.

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