Personal Finance

Demos are effective in selling, but you still have to close the sale

As  good as your demo may be you still have to navigate the B2B  selling stages. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH
As good as your demo may be you still have to navigate the B2B selling stages. PHOTO | FOTOSEARCH 

A demonstration is not the sale. It’s merely a presentation. An effective one I’ll admit, but a presentation still. Don’t lean wholly into it expecting it to close the sale for you. It won’t. You will still have to handle objections and attempt to close; in the case of a Business-to-Business (B2B) sale, a demonstration only takes you past the critical technical stage; you still must navigate the politics and commercial stages.

Many times sellers with a demo will be itching to show it off in the (mistaken) belief that, “Once the buyer sees what the app can do (or, in the case of merchandisers in a supermarket, how the chocolate tastes), he’ll be blown away into signing on the dotted line.” And yes he does get blown away…but he doesn’t sign. And why? Whereas your CV was impressive, this does not guarantee you the job; you still have to satisfy the panel of interviewers.

A demonstration cuts to the chase. It saves time and effort which would have been expended getting the buyer to ‘get it’. With a demonstration, your credibility spikes against the competitor’s; whereas they are explaining what they will do, you are showing what you have done.

That’s powerful.

Creative agencies that respond to the client brief with, say, a relevant proposed jingle and card holder, create an immediate buzz. They demonstrate effort, seriousness and sincerity. They are silently saying, “We really can do this, and, as you can see, have already given deep thought to it.”

An emotional connection is created.

But that’s not all a demonstration does. A demonstration assaults the senses. Experts say that the reason why committing something in writing is powerful is because, it involves sight, touch and sound (you silently verbalise what you are writing).

Equally, the more the buyer’s senses the demonstration interacts with, the higher the chances of making the sale, as the connection created is magnetic. (That’s why fries are so addictive.)

Once you have shown how the app works, and the buyer has tested it for themselves, the questions quickly zoom in around the demo. Can it do this, can it do that? What if we wanted this and not that, how fast would you turn that around? Will you sell, or lease it to us? And so on. An exciting time for the seller, but not a guarantee of the sale. What to do then?

During the demonstration, anticipate and respond to the buyer’s questions before he or she asks them. Show the product’s capabilities relative to his problem. “This GPRS component in the app will be useful in monitoring your sales team movements, controlling costs, and reducing your loan processing time by 36 hours. Here’s how it works.”

When tackling the commercial stages of the B2B presentation emphasise aspects such as reduced risk, error free, saving on research “because as demonstrated, the product solves (client problem).”

Prepare for the sale as intently as you would have if you didn’t have the demonstration. Because, the demonstration is not the sale.