Editor’s note: This post is adapted from a video presentation by Winning by Design. You can find the full video at the end of this post.

Every sales rep knows how frustrating it can be to walk a potential customer through a product demo, only to have it go nowhere. Maybe you had a great discovery call and felt pumped that you’d found someone who was a great fit. Maybe you took extra care to walk the prospect through all of your products’ best features, trying to create real engagement at every step of the way. Maybe you did everything you could think of and you still wound up hitting a wall. 

The question is why and what could you have done differently to get a better result? It turns out that it may be time to rethink your approach. In this post, we’ll look at the steps you should follow to crush your next product demo.

Start by diagnosing your customer’s pain points

Before you ever even think about doing a product demo, make sure that you fully appreciate the fact that your customer has a problem that you need to solve. Use your discovery call with them to inquire about their specific pain points and to make sure that you fully understand them. Then, when it comes time to move forward with a product demo, take the time to structure the conversation around showing your customer exactly how your product can address those particular challenges.

At the beginning of the demo, list off what you understand their pain points to be and ask them to confirm that you’ve got it right. When they do, tell them that you’ve tailored the demo for them to explain exactly how your product will help them address those pain points. Of course, if you’ve missed any of the nuances, take that new information on board and make sure to adjust your demo accordingly on the fly.

Don’t bombard your customers

There’s a lot your product can do, but overwhelming your customers with all of the details isn’t going to win them over. Instead, let them know that while there’s a lot your solution can offer, you’re only going to show them the top three things that will have the biggest and most immediate impact. For example, you might say something like “I’ve got 50 slides here, but I’ve picked out the three that I think are most relevant to you. Would you like to see those?” Not only will the answer be yes, your customer will be thankful that you’re not bombarding them with more information than they need or want.

Remember, potential customers just want to see the main ways in which your solution will impact what matters to them. They’re not interested in every single aspect of your product and certainly don’t want to waste time talking about features and functionality that don’t apply to their needs.

Make sure your customers are only seeing what they need to

Screen shares are typically a big part of product demos. Just remember that when you share your screen, it’s important to ensure that the customer is properly oriented. Although you’ve probably seen your demo thousands of times, this may very well be the first time for your customer. Don’t get nervous and start moving your cursor all over. Your customer will probably be following it and could easily get distracted. 

Make sure to explain what they are seeing in general (multiple dashboards, tabs, etc.), and then specifically what they should be looking at (the dashboard in the bottom right-hand corner, for example). That way the customer will know exactly where to pay attention. And, if you have any unnecessary tabs open on your desktop, close them out before you get started so that everything looks neat and professional.

Make it all about them

As you get into the demo, try saying something like “Because you said X was your number one pain point, I’d like to show you this specific feature.” Then explain exactly how that feature works, trying to use the same words and language they used during the discovery call in your description. This will help you further engage your prospect and show them that you really understand what they need. 

Every time you show your customer a feature, you need to ask three questions: 

  • Is what I showed you relevant to your situation? 
  • Do you see how this feature could solve the problem? 
  • Do you understand how this challenge could be improved by using this feature?

While all three questions basically ask the same thing in a different way, that’s intentional and designed to get your customers thinking about how your product will make life better for them.

Make an emotional connection

Ever noticed what the number one question is that real estate agents ask when trying to sell you a house? It’s whether you can imagine living there and coming home to that house every day. Of course, that’s no coincidence. It’s a calculated move to try to tap into your emotions and get you to buy. So why not do the same sort of thing when pitching your product?

Let’s be honest. Your customer isn’t going to remember all the features and benefits you just showed them, but they will remember how your demo made them feel. Using emotionally driven questions will help tie everything together. Ask questions like “Do you see how that can solve your problem?” or “What would happen if that problem was solved for you?” or “What impact would having this product have on your business today?” Always try and peel the onion and get deeper, emotional responses to your problem-solving efforts.

Final thoughts

Running a demo is all about teeing up the next step in your customer’s journey. But to do so, you need to connect the wagons. Asking the right questions, listening, and clearly demonstrating how you can solve their problems is critical. Make sure that you take the time to give them a personalized experience that’s tailored to their needs, and you’ll start getting real results.

To learn more, watch the full video: