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Improve your demo closing rate – stop training prospects

written by April Brunt

sales-i 29081 2019-06-04 1440960
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Improve your demo closing rate – stop training prospects.

How many times have you finished your product demonstration and sat back with a smug sense of self-satisfaction at how well it all seemed to go? I mean, you talked non-stop, showed off its benefits and the prospect was so impressed they couldn’t think of a single question at the end! Job done.

Hmm, any alarm bells ringing?

OK, to be kind to many salespeople, sometimes a sale is that easy to close. Bamboozle the right person at the right time and you can get an order. They may not stay… but that is another issue.

Let’s face the facts. The bulk of all demos don’t end in a sale.

Marketing and prospect experience thought leader, Dan McDade,
has some sobering stats. He said that ‘best-in-class companies close 30% of sales qualified leads while average companies close 20%’. That’s a lot of lost prospects. So, what can you do to improve your demo closing rate?


Go back to the beginning

Put your demo script in the trash. Your demonstrations can no longer be a one-person show. We need to go back to basics to get to the essence of what a demo is and what your customer wants to hear to take them to the next stage in their buying journey – the elusive deal.


What is a demonstration?

A quick google search will deliver a definition of ‘an act of showing that something exists or is true by giving proof or evidence.’ This leads us to ask – 1, what exists?; and 2, what is the evidence?

In short, what exists will be your product or service. Importantly, this has to be in direct response to the needs of your prospect.

The evidence is the proof of your claim to be able to solve a challenge your prospects are facing.
E.g. They need a way to quickly see who hasn’t bought 100 units of paper towels this month. You show them how quickly this report can be created.

What this definition excludes is the essential call to action (CTA) that is needed to push your prospects to make the next step and place an order with you. According to presentation training specialists, Proficientz, the most crucial part of any demo is to create an urgency to buy. Excluding clear follow-up actions post-demo will give even the most interested prospect the opportunity to stall the deal.


What is NOT a demonstration?

To fine-tune your sales presentation, we also need to ask what is NOT a demonstration? We need to have those red flags front of mind as we decide what to present to each prospect.

If a demonstration is to create a clear link from a prospect’s problem to a solution (that your product or service supplies) how can so many salespeople get it wrong? Well, there are a lot of pitfalls to avoid to create the perfect sales presentation.

Here are some of the biggest pitfalls:

1. Showing everything in your demo

Just because your product does a lot of different things doesn’t mean your prospect needs them all.
“Good demos don’t have to be perfect for the product. They have to be perfect for the audience.” Robert Falcone, Head of Sales Engineering at Guru.

It also doesn’t mean they need to know about everything a product can do to help their company. You need to stick with the key issues they see at most important – these are the points that, if addressed properly, will progress a prospect into becoming a customer.

2. Showing the process not the benefit/result

Part of showing a prospect too much detail can be attributed to getting carried away with details instead of focussing on outcomes. Even if your prospect is interested in processes, it is your job as a salesperson to control the agenda and steer it towards a problem/solution pattern.

3. Taking too long

You’re guilty if:

  • You are asking for too much of a prospect’s time at this early stage of the buying process you are already putting a sale at risk.
  • You cannot show the value of your product in 15 minutes or less your offering can come across as over-complicated.
  • Your usual demonstration is taking longer than 30 minutes, you may be guilty of over-explaining or letting your prospect drive the demo. More detailed exploration of the product can be carried out at a later stage and should be created in specific response to feedback from your initial demo.

4. Being tied to a script rather than being flexible to the needs of each specific prospect

Scripts can be easy to be derailed by an unexpected question from a prospect when you are tied down to a set script in your demo. Ditch the script and create a flexible sales guide book to allow you to be agile during your demo. Having a quick way to get back on track to cover what you have identified as essential selling points for this specific prospect will increase your chances of closing sales.

5. Training on use rather than showing value

Many salespeople can get bogged down in the detail of a product, or be over-enthusiastic about features that may or may not be of interest to your prospect. What can easily happen is that your demo has turned into a training session.

“A sales demonstration is… meant to show your prospects and customers how to apply your product, service, or solution.” Molly DePasquale, Manager of Operations and Sales Training Strategist for DMTraining.

To avoid this it’s worth keeping in mind the key differences between a demonstration and a training session.



A clear, and agreed, strategy and focussed demonstration will speed up your prospects journey along your sales pipeline. Plus, if you can deliver on your initial challenge solutions you will have a happy customer.

Written By -

I’m a marketing executive here at sales-i with a special place in my heart for geometric shapes, uneven numbers and statement acrylic jewellery. I enjoy creating and delivering insightful information in creative formats. Functional can be beautiful! Connect with me on LinkedIn: April Brunt

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