Quite often The Parker Avery Group is engaged to manage the software selection and “live” product demonstrations are a typical part of the process (often part of a request for proposal or RFP). Having participated in almost two dozen software demos over the past year, as well as countless demonstrations when I was in the retail industry (as a participant), I have witnessed some common behaviors, statements, and actions that make the demonstrations much less productive for the user participants.
This set of “tips” is geared to solution vendors.
To begin, let’s look at a few sample statements that are particularly frustrating for the audience you are trying to impress:
“Yes, we have brought 8 (or 10, or even 12+) people, but this shows our commitment to you as a future partner.”
“We’ll get to the demo in a moment, I just have a few more slides I want to show you.”
“I’m logged into the solution as an administrator—your users won’t see all of this.”
“This is dummy data in our demo environment,” related to, “This solution is easily/highly configurable to your requirements.”
“I know lunch just got delivered but let me finish this one section and then we’ll take a break.”
Think about those statements from a user’s perspective. From your potential new customer’s perspective. Let them sink in a bit.
There are mitigation tactics that can improve your performance and the audience’s perception of your company during the demos. Some may find these to be common sense, but in our experience, they have each happened so frequently that they merit a gentle reminder.