Sunday, December 7, 2008

Product Demos: Connecting With Your Audience

This question was posed on one of my LinkedIn groups: How do you create and deliver effective product demos? Specifically, how do you connect your solutions and benefits to the needs of C-level and V-level buyers.

Good question. Here's what I recommended:

  1. As with any audience, you need to understand where they are coming from on an emotional level. What are their pain points? Why are they so painful? Or, conversely, what are their dearest wishes? And what does your product or service do either to cure the pain or provide the emotional payoff behind the wish?

    It can take some hard thinking to connect your offering to this emotional level, but assuming your offering is of real value to the buyer, the connection is there somewhere. You need to put yourself in the audience's head and keep asking the question: "Why should I care?"

  2. Design your demos around one or more stories that concretely show how you cure the pain or provide the emotional payoff. If you have actual customer success stories you can use, so much the better. But cast these as a personal story. Describe the buyer and their problem. Imagine their joy and relief when the problem was solved. Then write the story and build your demo around it.

    To make this more scientific, you might want to create several stories and test each one to see what gives the best results--the best connection and response from your audience.

  3. As far as delivering the demo (and this assumes you are delivering it in person, not doing a webinar or building an on-demand demo), there is a good article in the November 2008 Harvard Business Review called "How to Become an Authentic Speaker." Takeaways: rather than practicing speaking tone and gestures, the speaker should practice being open to the audience and feeling passionate about the subject.

What do you think? What makes a demo work?