Don’t Leave Home Without One
If there’s one thing guaranteed to amp up a sales presentation, it’s a good demo. In a typical selling situation, you and the prospect do a lot of listening. That’s fine as far as it goes, but we have five senses; hearing is only one of them. Give the prospect something to touch, look at, feel the weight of, and your product is instantly more real. I might or might not believe your product is better than the other guy’s, but when I can hold it in my hand or try it out for myself, I know it.
If your prospect is going to buy from you, she needs to trust you. The greater the commitment of time or money involved—the greater the prospect’s risk in making the purchase—the higher the trust factor has to be. Would you buy a car without seeing it and taking it for a test drive, just because the sales person told you it was a good deal? — Unless that sales person is the army buddy who risked his life to save yours when it all looked hopeless, you’d probably want to try it out and make your own call.
Demonstration is so powerful as a sales technique that it’s used all on its own for in-store product promotions and countless infomercials. It doesn’t matter whether you think infomercials are a good thing or a bad thing, or whether you have three sets of ginsu knives rusting away in the back of the garage, we can all take a lesson from knowing that demonstration works and understanding why it works: reality.
“I saw it with my own eyes!”
Never mind how the dictionary defines Reality. The truth is that we define what’s real by what we experience ourselves, and so do our prospects. If we can touch it, see it, hear it or bump into it, it’s real. Bringing a good demonstration to the sales presentation, then, can turn an arduous sales process into a smooth, downhill ride to the close.
“But wait!” as they say in the infomercials, there’s more! There’s another truth about experience that’s often neglected: shared experience is much more real to everyone involved than something experienced alone. That’s why that “Share” button on Facebook gets a billion clicks a day. When you hand the prospect something they can touch, test, or play with, you’re sharing an experience, and that automatically increases the all-important rapport that you’ve been building since the start.
But what if the thing you’re selling doesn’t have something you can demo? Or there’s no way you can bring a sample with you to the presentation? What if it’s an insurance policy or a condo in Abu Dhabi?
Hand the prospect the other guys’ 20-page document in dense legalese and tiny print and let him compare it with our five friendly pages in plain English. Have plenty of photographs to show that potential Abu Dhabi-condo buyer, not just of the building and interiors, but the area around it. Show actual examples of collateral printed on our high-quality stock, or share the aroma of the superior coffee beans that our service uses.
If you’re selling an IT network-management service, you can pick an existing customer with a similar-size network and arrange to bring your prospect along for a visit. The same goes for high-end office or commercial printing equipment.
Whatever you’re selling, make a demo part of your standard sales process and watch your closing ratio climb.