How To Make Your Product Demos a Success
Designing and building a brand new product is pretty exciting, especially a product you’re proud of. A lot goes into the process of “idea to implementation”. But building a great product doesn’t do you any good if you can’t sell it. I’m not a salesman, but over my career I’ve had the opportunity to demonstrate new products across the country. In reality, aren’t we all salesmen when we’re in front of clients or potential clients? Demos aren’t the only facet of selling your product, but it sure is a vital one. Here are some tips to ensure your demos are a success…
Know Your Audience
There are typically 2 types of audience members interested in your products: users and buyers. Since I work in the Healthcare Software arena, the users are usually physicians and nurses and the buyers are usually executives (C-suite). Be prepared to demo your products differently depending on the audience.
Set the stage and tell the story. Show the users how they will use your software. For example, if you’re demonstrating an EHR, sign in as a physician and become the physician. Tell the story as if you are the physician. Demo how you would review the patient’s chart, point out something you need to act on (i.e. abnormal lab result or fever). Then act on it. Order a new medication, write your progress note, and move on. That’s how physicians work. They don’t need to see every button clicked or view every page (more about this below). They want to see how they’ll use the software on a daily basis. If you market your software as being able to complete 3 tasks in 5 minutes, but it takes you 30 minutes to demo it, then you’ve failed.
I still recommend becoming the user and telling the story, but for executives, feel free to drill down and show more features. Spend more time explaining what you’re showing. And make sure you can explain how your software can save the company money or make the company money. For example, will the software allow the physicians to see more patients? Will the software help recruit and keep top-notch physicians?
Don’t Show Every Feature
When you’re buying a new car, do you want to see the gas cap? When you’re looking at a new house, do you want to see how the pipes work? Of course not. The same goes with demonstrating software. Potential clients aren’t interested in seeing your Login page. They aren’t interested in seeing how you set up users. Stick to your bread and butter. Concentrate on what sets your software apart. Say what you want about Steve Jobs, but he was a master at demonstrating new products. There’s a reason he didn’t show how to turn the iPhone on or how to adjust the brightness. Stick with the wow factor.
Know Your Product Inside and Out
I mean REALLY know your product. Be able to explain every pixel on every page. Know why the colors were chosen. Know why a label on page 3 says X instead of Y. Know why you can access feature A from page 1 but not from page 2. Be able to explain why you chose to do certain things as well as why you chose not to do certain things. Know what’s coming in future versions.
Knowing your product inside and out benefits you in 2 ways. The more you know about it, the more comfortable you’ll be talking about it. And when your audience asks you “the tough question”, they might not agree with your answer, but they will respect your answer if you give an intelligent well thought out answer that shows a lot of time and effort went into the decision.
I know this sounds cliché, but it’s true. Don’t wing it. Practice your demos by yourself, in front of family members, in front of co-workers. Take pride in demos. Be proud of what you’re showing. And sell it!
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