Stop Blowing Sales With Awful Product Demos Demos are usually make or break.

“We want a product demo.”

How can something be so scary and also so, so rewarding?

You’ve worked your butt off to get this shot. Your client wants a demo on-site, and he’s blocking off an hour of his time just for it.

After weeks and even months of tenderizing this cold, hard lead, you’re finally getting some legitimate airtime.

You just can’t mess this one up.

What do you do?

Do – Personalize the demo.

Pick only the features that best fit the prospect’s situation and run with that.

In a piece by Lauren Littlefield, lifestyle marketing consultant at ROI Marketing, she says, “…the B2B buyer does not buy for self-consumption.” Your prospects aren’t looking for a new product to buy. They’re looking for a solution that will make their business better—in many cases, grow faster. This is crucial when selling in the B2B space.

You can’t use a single demo script for all the prospects you meet. You have to take time to review all the information available on the prospect. Then, ask yourself, what does the prospect really need? What are the features of my product that the prospect will get maximum benefit from? Using the answers, structure a product demo that puts the prospect’s needs first.

Put everything you say in the context of their business. If you can’t say it in the context of their operations, it’s either you don’t need to mention it at all or you didn’t do enough research on your prospects.

Don’t – Focus on product features.  

You know your product is awesome, right?

You must be tempted to deliver a long monologue outlining the full awesomeness of your solution. In your head, you won’t understand how anyone can say no to a product like yours. You just gave them all the reasons to buy!

However, this doesn’t work most of the time.

The difference between talking about what the product can do and talking about what the product can do for the prospect is miles and miles.

Demo is the operative word. Not product.

Actually, focusing on your product might kill the deal. Like what’s said in the previous point, prospects are only interested in what the product can do for them, not the product itself.

It’s great to know your product inside and out. It’s basic that you’re an expert on the product you’re selling. However, the correct use of this knowledge is finding opportunities of growth and improvement when marrying your product’s features with your prospects’ situations.

Your sharp product knowledge will always come in handy when prospects ask specific questions. You will comfortably agile in answering questions. Your ability to show confidence is one of the big keys in closing a sale—so your preparing doesn’t end with picking features that fit prospects’ use cases. You still need to always have that in you so you have it when you need it.

Do  – Start strong.

Go straight to the reasons why your prospect is better off buying your product.

bored prospect product demo
Bored Prospect = No Sale

In a study, Microsoft reported that human attention spans are at an all time low—even low than that of goldfish.

Know how short it is? You have eight seconds to hook people in.

So good luck with long-winded intros and motherhood statements that plague product demos far and wide. 

In the words of Robert Falcone, author of “Just F*cking Demo,”

As quickly as possible, get to ‘here’s what you told me your goal is, here’s the challenge you told me is in the way, here’s what it will look like when our product takes down that challenge.

Aside from developing the whole structure of the product demo, pay close attention to what will really pull your prospect’s attention in the first minute. You know that being in the same room, with just a few people, isn’t enough for your prospect to keep listening.

Good starts can include a revenue projection, a competitor case study, a same vertical reference…just identify what it is that your prospect is most interested in relating to your product and its benefits. Take that, polish it off into a good opening spiel—make it snappy, straight to the point, clear and attention grabbing.

Don’t – Use a standard script and deck.

No two clients are exactly alike. Yes?

If you agree, then you understand why the same product demo flow, script and deck won’t work for all your clients. Using the same thing for all opportunities is lazy, inefficient, and doesn’t net good results if at all.

First of all, personalization happens right at the first contact, way before you’re given the chance to demo.

Bob Apollo says,


“…you should defer your demonstration until you’ve got to the point where you have a clear sense of what a potential solution might look like, and show the prospect that.”

Apollo, Founder at Inflexion-Point Strategy Partners, says when you’ve figured out the product’s fit with your prospect, you can now craft a “compelling narrative and storyline that allows the prospect to visualise how your solution could work in their environment.”

When I say don’t use a standard script and deck for a prospect, I don’t mean having a master script and flipping the script a little to the left and right for each demo. Again, that’s super lazy. (Don’t do it.)

Nailing a truly personal product demo requires that you spend a lot of time researching your prospect down to personal profiles, understanding how decision making happens in their organization, mirroring the language and understanding the processes of their vertical, and most importantly, analyzing their situation by putting your product in the context of their organization to make sound (and honest) projections.

If you use a standard script, you’re just an annoying telemarketer with a car. Trust me, they will know it’s a standard script.

Do  – Prepare like a maniac.

Some sales people are so confident that they misinterpret the phrase “born ready” to mean “never has to prepare”.

You have to admit. Even if the demo only takes a tiny sliver of all the hours you’ve put in on an account, it can be the most important window.

Preparing for a product demo actually deserves its own post but let’s go over some points now:

  • Brush up on product knowledge. Make sure you know your product in and out.Never trust stock knowledge. Go over product specifics, updates and if it’s software, know the details of each version and stack. You’re the only source of supplier-side information during the demo. Having to look through your computer or call a colleague while presenting can’t do you good.
  • Know your prospect’s story. Study all existing client interactions, records and notes. Bust open that CRM and leave no stone unturned.Remember, it’s all about personalization, customization. Ideally, you’ve always been on top of your client’s info so this just serves as a reminder. Lay out all information sources starting with those that you have in-house, then start exploring the internet for information relevant to the area your product improves upon along with an overview of the status of the whole company.Identify the organizational power structure so you know who to make a solid connection with. When you know who the decision makers are, it’s not very difficult to research and find out their philosophies in business or what kind of things they approve of. Especially in the internet age, the decision makers will probably have articles up on their LinkedIn accounts, the company blog and other business publications. Start reading if you haven’t already.
  • Craft a solid outline.Having an outline saves you from that all-too familiar all over the place feeling that giving demos gives sales professionals. The outline ensures that you stay on track. You will have a guide when you rehearse.

You need to detail these basic parts in your outline:

  1. Super strong hook. Write a script for this. Remember, you have 8 seconds to one minute to really set the tone.
  2. Point-by-point benefits projection.
  3. Competition discussion—yours and theirs.
  4. Prompting for questions. Answering concerns and possible objections.
  5. Reaffrimation scripts.
  6. Closing scripts.


  • Think of all possible questions that may arise. Write them down. Answer them on paper. Review everything at least twice.Like Founder Steli Efti said in an article about preparing for remote demos,

    It’s good to have a few lines for different scenarios prepared. There’s no bonus points for being brilliant on the spot.

    What’s your game plan? Flesh out whatever possible concern there may be: each question, objection and possible confusion. Have a response prepared for each—but, take to heart the essence of the responses. If you’ve been memorizing scripts, they’re going to know.
    Like Rob Falcone said, you need a playbook, not a set-in-stone plan.

  • Rehearse, especially if it’s been a while since you last demoed.

    Obsessively rehearse your product demo. Think of different scenarios. Rehearse based on outline and essence—not a memorized script. While prospects spot a memorize spiel from a galaxy away, a thoroughly rehearsed and prepared-for product demo comes off as super effortless.

    Rehearsing will give you the confidence to get that sale. Not because of a special voodoo thing or a warm, fuzzy feeling from actually preparing for something and not going in gung-ho but unprepared. Rehearsing will give you what it takes to get the sale. Remember those school exams that you just obsessively studied for? Remember that high from knowing the answer for each question, with variations to boot?

    Close with confidence. That high will get you that sale.

    Don’t – Obsess over every mistake you make

Lastly, give yourself the space to learn. Working in sales is stressful and high-velocity, no doubt. But if you add to all the external stressors by being extra tough on yourself, you might burn out.

Know that messing up something during the demo is a possibility but look at those as opportunities to reach back out to the prospect to clarify something, a chance to show your honesty and represent your company’s integrity.

Your whole career doesn’t depend on one product demo. I do understand that you sure as hell want to close after each one. (Awesome if you can, though!)

Learn from each demo. Test which responses work better. Then, demo better the next time.


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Aki Merced

Aki Merced

Aki Merced writes about B2B sales and marketing as a content marketer for Tenfold. Follow her on Twitter @akimerced!

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