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5 Steps: How to Give a Product Demo That Converts

A product demonstration is one of the most vital steps towards scoring sales. Not only can you showcase the features of your product, but you can also generate trust and buyer confidence in your consumers. It’s no wonder then why businesses commonly employ product demos to impress their clients and overcome the competition. You’ve worked hard to build your sales funnels, spending lots of time and money on them.

When your client requests a demo, companies have already spent massive amounts of money and effort advertising to generate the initial interest. It’s only through the demo itself that the final push can be made to convert potential customers into paying customers.

However, studies show that only 22% of businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates. Achieving an effective product demo is clearly no easy task.

Product demos are more than just a presentation to rant about your features. They are the perfect opportunity to communicate real value, to show your customers that you understand their problems, and that you have a solution to their paint points.

Here are 5 steps that you need to follow if you want to give a product demo that converts.


1.   Prequalify

The most common advice veteran presenters will give you is to tailor your presentation around your specific audience. When starting a presentation, first verify that your customers meet your qualification criteria. It’s important to understand your audience, because when you do, you will better understand their pain points, their major problems, and how to solve them.

Ask yourself:

  • What issues of theirs can be solved with your product and how?
  • What industry language should I tap into?
  • How do their goals affect how they will use the product?
  • What do they expect to get out of the product demo?

If you find that the potential customers’ needs and goals line up well with what your product has to offer, you are ready to proceed.

2.   Invite

When it comes time to initiate the demo, immediately contact your audience.

  • Ensure the person you’re contacting will be making the final purchasing decision at the end.
  • Tell the client to choose a time and place that fits well with his or her schedule.
  • Reconfirm by email the date and time to clear up any possible confusion.

Specify how long the demo will last. 15 to 30 minutes is a common recommendation. Finish on time to show that you have control and you respect your customers’ time.

3.   Prepare

Once you have a list of audience members, begin researching them to customize your presentation according to their needs.

  • Research your audience online. Check for their LinkedIn pages, search their companies’ websites, or even just Google their names and businesses. Look for what they do and what their interests might be.
  • Check online forums, blogs, company websites, news feeds, and other resources for common problems related to the industry, as well as similar products you could be competing with.

All of this may translate into you choosing a specific business case study that is highly relevant to your audience. When you show them that you understand their industry and their problems and can provide a viable solution, they will be far more likely to listen as the information is relevant to them.

And don’t forget:

  • Remember the exact aspects of your product that relate to the case study you choose.
  • Pick and choose what information about your product to present. Not all features will be relevant to their interests, so don’t waste their time discussing parts they won’t care about.
  • Don’t be afraid to go into detail about the specific features that do appeal to them. This is your unique value proposition and it shows that you understand the problems your customers are facing and how your product can solve them.
  • Predict any questions your viewers might ask you and any you might ask your viewers. Have answers ready to show you have your bases covered and think of ways to find out more about your audience’s needs through follow-up questions.

4.   Deliver

It’s time to impress. When beginning your product demo, begin by asking questions to further understand your customers’ issues and expectations. Demos should be conversational rather than one-sided, so potential customers feel relevant. Engagement is important and keeps your audience interested and listening.

  • At the beginning, let your audience know you will briefly ask them questions to find out what they’re looking to get out of this product demo. What specific problems frustrate them?
  • Use open-ended questions to get the audience talking, such as “What’s the biggest issue with your current process?”
  • Use questions to amplify the potential effects of your product. “Aren’t these issues costing you a ton in revenue?”
  • Consider answering a question with another question. For example, if you’re selling a travel-related application and a customer asks whether filters are featured, ask them what in particular he or she would like to filter, whether it be restaurants or types of landmarks. This strategy can dig into the details of what your audience wants.

When it comes time to pitch the product, follow your customers’ story. In other words, don’t just list the features of your product, but rather explain how those features can help solve the issues facing the consumers today. Studies show demonstrations that connect problems with solutions are 35% more likely to land a sale.

Start by addressing major problems and slowly drill down into how your product can solve niche and specific ones too. This can easily demonstrate the usefulness of your product because it shows you understand the pain points your audience is experiencing.

  • Begin with the results to reel in the audience. Let them know what they could accomplish by listening in. Let them see (1) the goal they wish to achieve, (2) the challenge that prevents them from achieving it, and (3) how your product tears down that challenge.
  • Break large problems down into smaller, specific ones. The potential customers must know how to customize your product to fit their particular needs.

An Everyday Example

Say your audience is a group of business owners and managers complaining about how inefficient communication among employees is. Through your questioning, you allow them to discover that they spend too much time scheduling meetings and appointments and have to pass around flash drives, or wait for files to upload and render whenever they work on new files.

As a software developer, you have created a messaging service that’s not only faster than traditional email, but one that includes several business-relevant features such as a built-in calendar with visual indicators showing what times are available for each employee and a file storage system that is shared throughout the entire company.

In your demonstration, you focus on how your calendar feature eliminates the need to ask every employee when he or she is free for a meeting. Additionally, the file storage feature helps facilitate collaboration by making sure everyone is on the same page when it comes to updated documents.

By bringing them on this logical path of how your product’s features connect with their specific problems, you greatly increase the demo’s impact.

Strike the right tone.

As important as your product and features are, the tone in which you deliver your product demo is equally as important. Striking the right balance between enthusiasm and professionalism in your delivery is essential for gaining trust and connecting with your customers. Our brands all have personalities, but it is often the people behind those brands that drive their success.

Here are a few tips to boost engagement:

  • Mirror your audience’s tone. An invoicing solution to a banking manager should be done in a serious tone. Finding novel ways to increase ticket sales of a carnival would benefit from some excitement.
  • Sprinkle relevant stories and surprising statistics throughout to keep them engaged.
  • Listen more than you talk. When someone is talking, wait a second before beginning your response. Doing so facilitates audience participation and gives you time to formulate an impactful response.
  • If you find that you can’t answer a question, respond with “I have an idea but need to confirm it. Let me write that question down and get back to you later.” Be sure to write it down in front of them.
  • Be adaptable. Going in with a rigid plan isn’t the best idea since your audience shapes your demonstration. The presentation should be able to speed up and slow down at any time. You might have to take extra time to answer a complex question, or time might run short.
  • Keep a calm and positive tone

And finally, leverage your technology efficiently. Chances are, you will be pulling up PowerPoints and various websites on your laptop for the demo. If that’s the case, remember to:

  • Keep your hands away from the laptop when you’re not using it. Your audience’s attention goes where your hands go, so don’t distract from your points.
  • Load up online content beforehand so a slow connection, non-existant connection, or other technical difficulties don’t break your flow.
  • Optimize your desktop. The last thing you want is an annoying email notification or Facebook pop-up during the demo. Not only are rogue notifications awkward and embarrassing, but also distracting and unprofessional.
    • The process for disabling notifications is different for every web browser, program, and operating system. Ensuring an interruption-free presentation can be time-consuming.
    • Consider using Demodesk, which bypasses these notifications by hosting a virtual desktop in the cloud instead of streaming directly from your screen. The tool is accessible from any device’s web browser without requiring any downloads. Remember, the more steps you add, the greater the chance something will go wrong.
  • If you need your audience to focus on a particular part of the screen, use your cursor to divert their attention. Doing so is faster and more accurate than verbal description.

5.   Close

At the end of the demonstration, there are a few things you’ll want to consider:

  • Agree on the next steps. Understand the decision making process your customers must go through and address any concerns that are left over. For instance, you could end your talk with something like “I’m more than happy to make any necessary accommodations to move the sale forward.”
  • Provide some kind of call to action to get your potential customers to subscribe, purchase, or to further nurture them through the sales process.

And finally, don’t be afraid to ask for the sale directly. The result should always be a sale or polite decline. A “maybe” reaction implies some questions were left unanswered and you may be able to salvage it with the right approach.

The Takeaways

If you’ve made it to the end, you now know how to deliver a product demo that will convert. We discussed many of the main factors that make up a product demo, things like the need to:

  • Prequalify your potential audience to make sure their issues and goals are compatible with the product you are selling to them.
  • Research your clients to mould the presentation around their occupations and interests.
  • Ask the audience extensively what their problems are and show how your product’s features act as solutions to each of those issues. The demo should be customized to their case study.
  • Mirror your audience’s tone to gain their trust and connect with them on a personal level.
  • Have an adaptable agenda that can speed up, slow down, and be interrupted without breaking your flow. Remember, your audience shapes your presentation.
  • Master the technology you will be using.
  • Answer and attend to all questions and concerns before finally asking for the sale.

The next time you deliver a product demo, breathe and show your customers that you are confident and knowledgeable about the products and services you are selling.


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