Why Defining Next Steps During Your Demo Can Make or Break the Sale
There is one thing you must always do before you end your product demo. No, it’s not getting your potential buyer to sign the contract on the spot. Although, that would be ideal and it’s sometimes worth a try.
The best way to keep the sale moving forward at the end of your demo is to define and agree on a clear “Next Steps” strategy.
The Next Steps could be anything relevant to the sale, such as scheduling another call to talk about quotes, visiting the prospect in person, or giving a second demo to more decision-makers. The point is that you need to discuss and agree on something before you end that meeting.
According to Chris Orlob, Director of Sales at Gong.io, your close rates can plummet by over 70% when you fail to discuss the next steps.
Don’t lose your focus after delivering a strong demo by skipping the next steps and leaving everyone guessing. Instead, end the demo by defining what is going to happen and have everyone involved nodding their heads in agreement.
Statistically speaking, sales professionals who spend just four minutes longer discussing next steps than their peers, win more deals. Why? Because when your prospects commit to next steps, they take on some of the responsibility to keep moving forward. Let’s look at five tactics you need to consider when planning your “Next Steps” strategy.
5 Tips to Help Close Your Demo With “Next Steps”
1. Define Your Next Steps Before the Demo Even Starts
A recurring theme throughout the sales process is advanced preparation. The more you plan beforehand, the more you can anticipate the inevitable sales objections and curveballs along the way.
Proper planning is also critical when defining the next steps. Think about where the demo falls into your prospects’ buying process and anticipate what needs to happen next. If you’ve qualified them properly, you should have a pretty good idea.
Do you need to bring in more decision-makers? Are you ready to present the contract? What is their buying process? How can you move the sale ahead?
One technique that can be very effective is to share the next steps with the prospect before the demo begins. If you can define the process, your prospect will feel more at ease knowing what’s next.
For example, when you schedule the demo you can add a sentence like:
“Following the demo and Q&A, we’ll send you the final proposal the next day for you to review and schedule a contract call at that time.”
Predefine your desired timeline of what the prospect can expect if they move forward with the deal. That way, when the demo ends, you’ll be prepared to lead the discussion and/ negotiation.
2. Ask Questions after Your Demo During the Q&A
Every demo should have time allotted for a Q&A session. This is your opportunity to clear up expectations and for your prospects to better understand the product and how it fits into their business.
At the start of the Q&A, your questions should be open-ended to encourage them to talk more and give you a more complete understanding of their thinking. But, as you get closer to the end of the demo time, your question style should change from open-ended to pointed questions.
Pointed questions require short answers and are meant to shed light on what’s next in the process. For example, you can ask questions like,
- Is there anything else you need to see to help you make your decision?
- Can you help me understand your internal next steps and timing for a final decision?
- Would you like to set up another meeting now to include your colleagues?
If you already know their decision process, you’ll be able to gauge how close you are to a sale. Asking pointed questions will get you clear answers quickly. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a temperature-read and figure out where the prospect’s interest level is at.
3. Make a Strong Closing Statement
Your prospects just heard some great selling points throughout the product demo, but don’t assume they connected all the dots. Spend a few minutes toward the end of your demo recapping the main points and specifically explain how your solution solves their biggest challenge.
The closing statement should have a clear call to action that naturally evolves into the next step. For example, if there is another stakeholder you still have to meet with, you can say something like:
“Do you think (name of stakeholder) would be excited about seeing how our X feature is able to reduce your costs and solve X pain points? As an immediate next step, we should show them how it works. Do you have their availability to schedule something now?”
Remind them of the value proposition you just presented to them during the demo as the fuel to light a fire for the next steps.
4. Set Their Expectations For Success
Your prospects need you to be their guide through the sales process. Every company is different, so your audience likely has no idea what’s supposed to happen next.
Show your leadership and put them at ease by clearly setting up their expectations for what they need for success. Do they need to see another feature? Do they need to meet with an expert from your team? Do you want them to read the contract?
Whatever the situation dictates, give them a clear direction. Never assume that the prospects are aware of the process. It’s also better for you to control the journey as opposed to the buyer taking over the sale.
Don’t hesitate to over-communicate and give step-by-step instructions if you think that is what is needed for the situation. When you are proactive with the next steps, they will happily follow to see what’s next.
5. Always Confirm the Next Steps for your Demo
You might see your prospects nodding and smiling when you discuss your next steps. Don’t take that as a confirmation! You must get some sort of verbal agreement with the next steps that you are presenting.
Ask them if they want to add anything or if they have any questions about what you are proposing for the next steps. This subtle step of getting your prospects engaged in the next step discussion goes a long way in putting some responsibility on them to remember and follow through the discussion points.
When you get this smaller commitment, you are taking steps to make your prospects more comfortable agreeing to larger commitments down the road, which will come in handy during contract time.
“Next Steps” is not the same as the “Follow-Up”
Your “Next Steps” gives the prospect a road map of what to expect or what is needed to proceed. The “Follow-up” happens after the demo when you contact them within 12 hours to recap and reconfirm.
Our next article covers the best practices for a demo follow-up email. Just like every part of the product demo process, following up needs a meticulously prepared strategy. At Demodesk we’ve noticed successful sales follow-up emails share a similar formula that leads to more effective responses. Here’s our guide to following up.
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