5 Expert Tips for Winning Demo Calls

Kristina Eventov
August 5, 2021

Struggling to host a demo that leaves your prospect wanting more? See what our experts have to say on giving a winning demo call.

A great demo is essential for any sale. This is your chance to really showcase the unique value your product can bring to your prospect’s specific needs – you should focus on the context of the prospect’s use case, not simply explain the product features. When done successfully, a demo will leave the prospect understanding both the benefits of using your product, as well as the downsides of not.

While planning is of course paramount at any stage of the deal cycle, this article will focus on what to do once you’re in the demo, to ensure you make the most of both your and your prospect’s time.

Quote from Dionne Mejer, CEO & Founder of Inside Sales: "Presence and how we show up set the tone and stage for ourselves and our clients. People can feel how we feel and that sets the tone and tenor for a winning demo call!"

Here are our 5 expert tips for winning demo calls:

  1. Check you’re all on the same page.
  2. Share your agenda.
  3. Customize your demo.
  4. Don’t treat it like a lecture.
  5. Summarize and establish next steps.

1. Check You’re All on the Same Page.

Now there’s no point just going through everything that’s already been covered in a discovery call, but it is important to make sure that everyone’s on the same page.

Before you get into your demo, take a moment to summarize your most important takeaways from previous discussions. Whether the prospect has explicitly told you, or you’ve been able to infer, clarify the challenges you believe they face and any particular pain points specific to their work.

Pain points can broadly be grouped into 4 areas

  • Productivity
  • Financial
  • Process 
  • Support

Try and have at least 2/3 prospect-specific examples which will provide the foundation for the value proposition you will demonstrate. From the get go, this will show your prospective customer that you really understand their needs and already suggest which areas of their work you can help them with.

2. Share Your Agenda.

Sharing a copy of your agenda will help set and manage your prospect’s expectations for what the demo will actually involve. Don’t keep your prospective customer in the dark, but actively involve them in the content of your conversation. This will make the prospect more comfortable and already allow them to start forming questions in their mind.

Quote from Donald C. Kelly, Founder and The Chief Sales Evangelist at The Sales Evangelist: “​​Create a formal agenda that helps you and your prospects have a clear plan of what will happen. The plan should be a personalized outline addressing ONLY the things the prospects need to see to convince themselves that you and your company are best suited to solve their challenges.”

Letting your prospect in on your structure won’t just help show how well-prepared you are, it will also show that you respect their time – you have specific goals for this meeting and you want to use this opportunity as productively and efficiently as possible.

An agenda doesn’t have to be too extensive but it could look something like this:

  • Introduction (5 minutes)
  • [Benefit 1] (5-7 minutes)
  • [Benefit 2] (5-7 minutes)
  • [Benefit 3] (5-7 minutes)
  • Q&A (10 minutes)

This will also help you navigate your demo as you can be aware of how much time you’re spending on each area – for example, if you’re speeding through or simply taking too long. It sets your prospect’s expectations and holds you accountable for delivering the demo efficiently.

3. Customize Your Demo.

The point of a demo isn’t just to show off your product in all its glory. Your focus should always be on your prospective customer and what the product can do for them specifically (as mentioned in the first tip).

Quote from Shep Hyken, Customer Service and Experience Expert: “A demo is a sales pitch. Demo the product or service and get the customer to buy. The best demos not only showcase a product, but also offer value to the customer in the form of education. Make the customer smarter and they make better buying decisions. Invest in them and they may invest in you.”

Once you’re in it, use the demo as an opportunity to tell the prospect’s story. 

At this point, you should know:

  • the role of the person you’re talking to.
  • their challenges.

Use this as the basis for your demo. Don’t waste time just going through every feature your product has, especially if it’s not strictly relevant for your prospect and their role. Use the roles at their company as the context for demoing different features, and show the corresponding benefits by constantly relating it back to their actual experiences. By providing bespoke solutions for a prospect’s pain points, you’ll elicit a stronger response and the prospect will be more likely to follow up with you and (hopefully) close a deal.

Quote from Jake Dunlap, CEO of Skaled Consulting: "“I hate the word "demo" because it implies something that's a little one size fits all. Instead, I like the term "matching" because almost EVERY point you bring up in a demo should be tied to something that was said in the discovery.  "You mentioned this…let me show you how to do ‘this’" If customers don't mention it….you shouldn't spend too many minutes on it either.”

If using a presentation, it may help to have the prospect’s company logo on a slide, alongside the assumed challenges etc. This will show that the presentation is tailored to them. Additionally, you can present (or ask for!) example scenarios and showcase exactly how your product can be used to deal with each one and, ultimately, improve the user’s experience.

Quote from Richard Williams, Ciara Sales Manager: ​​“The best demo is the most relevant one - you can show every single feature your service offers, but if it's not relevant to the pain of your prospect, it's not going to mean anything. Continually stop and ask, ‘Can you see this being useful in your prospect’s work?’”

4. Don’t Treat It like a Lecture.

As much as you want to make sure your prospect knows about all of the amazing features your product has to offer, be careful not to overwhelm them with too much information. After all, it’s not a lecture – it should be an interactive demonstration of the product specific to the prospect’s use case(s). 

Quote from Jake Page, Ciara Sales Manager: “Interactivity is paramount, especially in a virtual sales environment, where your prospect can get bored or distracted very quickly.”

Some advice to help with this:

  • Ask questions. Whether that’s checking your prospect understands, or seeing if they have anything they’d like to add, be sure to include them in the dialogue.
  • Pause often. Give the prospect time to digest what you’ve said. If you’ve asked a question, leave a pause after the prospect’s answer to show that you’re really listening to them and encouraging them to be as open as possible. One idea is to count 2/3 seconds in your head to make sure you’ve allowed enough time to take in information and get a response.
  • Speak simply. There’s no point trying to show off with fancy words and technical terms. Use plain language that gets your point across and highlights how simple it is to use your product and how clear the benefit is.

Even if you’ve allocated time for a Q&A at the end, the conversation should flow organically so allow for ad hoc questions throughout the demo. The prospect wants to feel included, not talked at.

Quote from Dionne Mejer, CEO & Founder of Inside Sales: "Show up prepared and curious....ask more questions than issuing statements and that will help craft a winning demo call!”

5. Summarize and Establish Next Steps.

Great – you’ve shown how invaluable your product is and your prospect is hooked. Now you need to act quick! This is the prime time to discuss how to move forward.

If your prospect still has any concerns or worries, now is the time to address them. If they’re too big to tackle in the demo, arrange another time to speak where you can go into more detail. Alternatively, see if there is someone else in the team you can speak to who might be convinced of your value proposition.

If the prospect is happy, check who the decision-maker is and make plans to meet with them.

Unless it has become incredibly clear that your product might not actually be a fit for this prospect, you should always end the demo with something to keep the deal moving forward.

Quote from Sam McKenna, founder of #samsales: “As a close, my goal for the next call is to always double the quality or double the quantity of the people on my call. What I mean by that is, if I’m speaking to the Director of Sales, I want to make sure that I either get a second person involved in my second call, or that I get a title to join us that is higher than the Director. I want to scale my time as much as I possibly can, so by doing this, I can get more eyes, more influencers and possibly a decision maker on the line.”

Sam’s closing of choice to achieve this? ​​

“Who else on your team do you think could find value in this or who else would you like to invite to be a part of the conversation?”

Finally, before you leave your prospect, give a brief summary of everything that’s been discussed. Highlight key takeaways, clearly state how you are going to proceed, and mention anything you may need from their side. The prospect will leave the demo reminded of the key value your product brings and feel well-informed on what to expect next. 

If you follow these 5 tips, you’ll be sure to have a great demo call that’s bound to leave your prospect wanting more! Remember, the focus is on the prospect and the benefits your product brings them, not your product’s features.

Download the Ultimate Guide to Product Demos that Win Deals