11+ Tips for Conducting Sales Demos Effectively

You finished the two-hour meeting with the client, despite sweaty palms and a queasy stomach. However, weeks roll by without any response, leaving you to helplessly wonder what went wrong.

Sales demos aren’t easy. You can’t simply assume that your sales demo will succeed in a market full of such a wide variety of products. However great your product is, it still has to be presented to your prospective customers in a way they understand and appreciate.

Don’t have any idea how to do that? Don’t sweat it; I’ll teach you how to transform your demo process from blah to awe.

Sales Demo Best Practices

You only get one chance at a first impression with a new client.

You’re wasting your time if you’re not doing whatever it takes to make your sales demo successful. Below, I’ve provided the most essential principles sales teams need to understand for an effective sales demo process:

1. Dig Deep Into Prospective Customers

man writing with laptop nearby

Many consider sales demos to be the beginning of the sales cycle. However, the actual procedure begins with having a thorough understanding of your prospects.

When you reach out to the right people in an organization, it automatically boosts your chances of closing the deal. 

Gather insights about:

  • Decision-makers and their roles in the organization: Platforms like LinkedIn are a good place to start your research. 
  • Business goals and their competitors: Go through their website to get information. 
  • Their pain points and challenges: You’ll be surprised by how much information people share on professional channels such as LinkedIn, AngelList, and Twitter.

Once you know what you want to sell and to whom, you can open the discussion with them for a sales demo. Introduce yourself with a solid cold email that catches their attention and takes the conversation ahead. 

2. Tailor Your Demo Invite

greyscale image of someone creating an invite

Next, let’s discuss the importance of a proper demo invite.

This seemingly insignificant aspect of your routine is a critical component of a successful product demo. An actionable, personalized demo invite is the easiest way to instantly set yourself apart from the competition.

Keep these tips in mind to ensure your sales demo invite is purposeful and succinct:

  • First, summarize your previous discussions as a quick recap; keep it short and precise
  • Plan a clear agenda: A meeting without an agenda is a lost cause. It’ll also help your clients prepare better for the demo and set their expectations right
  • Streamline how you schedule meetings: Use tools that automate scheduling group meetings without the back & forth of just choosing the time. 
  • Share a small presentation or product deck with the invite: It’ll familiarize the client with the look and feel of your product and help them prepare their questions

By simplifying your demo invites, you’ll give a professional impression and avoid unnecessary exhaustion. Simplification allows clients to focus on the right thing: your product.

3. Plan Your Presentation Effectively

plans for construction

Going to a sales demo without properly preparing is like running a race with an injured foot; you might make it to the finish line, but you’re certainly not gonna win it.

While planning your sales demo, be sure to include the following:

  • An ice-breaking introduction: Starting with “In today’s sales demo…” is a boring way to begin your pitch. Use some common ground you’ve identified during research to wedge yourself directly into your clients’ daily lives. Even a simple, “How’re you all doing?” is better than nothing
  • A storyline: Create video demonstrations of the features you’ll discuss in your presentation. Develop an easy-to-understand presentation flow with problems, solutions, and why only your product is suitable for the job
  • A competitor analysis: Follow your competitors’ offerings, and let your potential clients know what makes your product stand out

Knowing your product inside out is crucial. The audience may detect your uncertainty in your pitch if you don’t feel confident in your own services.

“If you know both the enemy and yourself, you’ll win every battle.” – Sun Tzu

4. Ask Questions

two people talking

Monologuing through your sales demo won’t teach you anything insightful about your prospective customer and their needs. Throughout the pitch, move the spotlight to them a few times to understand how they operate. By doing so, you’ll steer the conversation in the right direction.

Take the time to understand your customers:

  • What’s their current process? 
  • What tools are they using for those processes? 
  • What issues do they have with their current process or tools?
  • What does an ideal product look like to them?
  • What strategies are they planning to implement?

During a sales demo, you have the perfect opportunity to build a meaningful relationship with your prospects. Demonstrate your sincerity and dedication by genuinely showing your interest in their lives.

5. Sell Your Product’s Benefits

people meeting with laptops open

Imagine you’re sitting through a sales demonstration, and the rep says something like:

“Our powerful AI-based system gets the analytics on this dashboard. We have a multi-tenancy system along with SSO that is supported by…”

Snoozefest! Sales representatives shouldn’t talk about their products like they’re reading an operating manual. That isn’t how your client speaks; they’re real people, not robots!

Things to remember during a sales demo:

  • Communicate with your clients in their language. Keep it simple and avoid jargon
  • Put the benefits of your product before the features. People don’t want to hear about a product unless it’s going to benefit them in some way

Here’s an example of a customer-centric sales pitch:

“Using cutting-edge technology, we’ll give you real-time analytics so that you’ll never worry about accuracy again. You can add as many users as you wish to the product, and they can log in quickly with a single click.”

It’s essential to give your product a human touch. Reading off your product’s numerous features like a robot can alienate prospects. Instead, show them how they can use it in their daily lives, even if they aren’t tech-savvy.

Your product shouldn’t require hours of explanation. You have an hour at most to make your product stand out; focus on the features you are confident will appeal to your prospects.

Proactively Disqualify Competition

Let your prospect know why one of your competitors won’t be a right fit for them.

If, for example, the candidate mentions that they require a specific feature or area of coverage, and you know that one or more of your main competitors lacks that capability or is hugely underwhelming in that area, let it be known to your prospective customer.

6. Leverage Real-World Data

laptop with data analytics software

Sales reps can enhance client satisfaction by using data to prove a claim. First, however, be sure that the data is accurate and meaningful; fake numbers will harm your credibility and kill your sales pitch.

Here are a few things to remember when presenting your data:

  • Make it easy to understand: Visuals graphs, like pie charts, can go a long way in getting your message across effectively
  • Add the data to the right place for high impact: Don’t include anything without a purpose and randomly in your presentation.
  • Cite sources: Mention the source of your data for authenticity. 
  • Illustrate real-world applications: Include brief use-cases and testimonials of your existing clients that belong to the same industry or faced a similar problem.

Haphazardly throwing out impressive numbers during the sales process won’t get you as far as you think. Take the time to intelligently insert analytics to back up your claims rather than distract from them.

7. Listen, Listen, Listen!

Listening to your prospects is equally important as presenting a good sales demo; be attentive to your prospects’ observations, questions, and comments. Here are a few ways to show off those listening skills you learned in grade school:

  • Ask them to suggest a new feature they would like to be part of your product
  • Get a sense of the challenges they face with their current process and suggest ways to streamline solve them using your product
  • Draft a custom plan tailored specifically to your prospective customer’s requirements & expectations.

When you actively listen to your prospects, you can perceive their feelings about your services and tailor your demo directly to their needs.

Provide Suggestions

While exercising those active-listening skills, put yourself in the shoes of the lead and offer a few suggestions throughout the presentation to help them visualize the result.

Suppose you were presenting a B2B list-building/lead-generation tool, and you said, “We always recommend saving the list so you can share it if needed or use it more than once.”

8. Record Your Product Demos

If the audience gives their permission, you should record your sales demo and share it with the client. Recodings will allow you to reference the material whenever required, as opposed to rehashing it at random

In addition, you’ll be able to reference it for training your sales team further. The ability to replay and analyze a software demo can be a potent tool for optimizing your presentation.

9. Present Like a Professional

woman presenting

When caught up in the excitement of planning your sales demo agenda, it’s easy to forget the fundamentals of your presentation. No matter how well-thought-out your product demo is, it’s worthless if your sales team can’t present it effectively.

Convey Confidence With Your Body Language

Body language is everything.

Your body should be as still as possible, and your hands should be relaxed or out of sight. It’s an excellent way to display confidence and calmness, which are fundamental for presenting yourself and your company as stable and reliable offerings that prospects can trust.

Keep a Neutral Tone

Overeagerness comes across as needy and unauthentic; let your tone convey things honestly. You should get excited about showcasing the product your company worked on, but don’t take things overboard.

Be Not Afraid of Awkward Silence

Learn to tolerate awkward silence whenever you feel uncomfortable and want to fill the vacuum with small talk. Instead, let the silence speak for itself, and you’ll be much better off.

Use Video Chat for Remote Meetings

If you’re meeting is remote, make sure those video cameras are switched on. Being able to see and interact with your prospective customers makes a huge difference from a regular phone call.

If you’re not sure what online meeting tools to use, my favorites are Zoom, Google Meets, and Microsoft Teams.

10. End With a Post-Demo Agenda

open agenda book

A product demo that ends with a mere “thank you and goodbye” leaves the door wide open for ambiguity; prospects may be unsure what to expect next.

Instead, give your prospects ten minutes for any questions or feedback before terminating the call. Then, after that initial discussion, spend a few minutes deciding how to proceed.

When wrapping up your sales demo, make sure to do the following:

  • Give a quick summary of what happened during the call
  • Let them know that you’ll send the recording and minutes within the hour
  • Make sure they also have the chance to view further information on their own time
  • Specify a tentative deadline by which they should respond with their decision.

Immediately after sharing the above info with the client, let them know what they need to do next.

11. Follow-up Intelligently

woman on the phone

The prospect hasn’t converted into a customer just because a sales pitch has ended. You’re only just beginning the conversion process, so don’t let it slip away.

Afterward, you need to nudge your client forward in a way that doesn’t annoy them. Here are a few tips to keep in mind before sending your first follow-up email:

  • Your prospects will need some time to read over the information. Be careful not to come across as annoying by following up too soon
  • Make sure they have contact information for you and any other account executive involved in the sales demo
  • If the prospect hasn’t responded 24 hours after your predetermined deadline, politely nudge them for a response. Send an email that’s short, well-written, and precise
  • Ask them to give you a call if they have any questions
  • Make sure they have access to your company website
  • If they’ve expressed genuine interest in your product, never stop following up until you get an answer

Follow-ups are imperative because you can’t assume the prospects will respond to you immediately. Remember: successful demos don’t end after the last agenda slide deck. A reminder given at the right time can make a huge difference in closing the deal.

Bottom Line

In essence, a good sales demo process isn’t complicated; it’s all about communicating the value of your product or service in a way the client can apply to their workflow.

It’s all about understanding your prospect’s pain points and selling solutions tailored to their unique needs. Oh, and don’t forget to follow up! Make it easier for candidates to connect with you through the right tools and smarter calendars when you do. 

That’s all I’ve got, sales rep! Now get out there and skyrocket your sales growth!

About the Author

Trevor is a SaaS growth consultant and co-founder of Taggg which helps schedule group meetings effortlessly by connecting calendars and overlaying availability. He leads product development and built Taggg to solve scheduling problems other software solutions have not solved particularly for active schedulers.

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