Keep Calm and Carry On: What to Do When Your Product Demo Call Goes Wrong

Sophia Obrecht
October 7, 2021

Don't let bugs & slip-ups get in the way of closing your deals. Read Ciara's tips for what to do when your product demo call goes wrong.

In life and in sales things don’t always run smoothly. This is especially true when it comes to product demo calls and product tours. Sometimes tech just fails, but it is how you recover that can prove to a prospect that your product and services are still worth investing in.

Here’s what you need to do when your demo meeting goes wrong.

Breathe.

It can be pretty nerve-wracking when something goes wrong during a live product demo call with a prospect, especially when it is product-related. Here you are ready to show a potential customer just how great your product is when all of a sudden something breaks and you’re left to wonder how you can recover from this and save face to keep your deal on track.

But just count to 10 and breathe, all is not lost, far from it. You still have the opportunity to win your prospect over even if that means working around a technical issue.

What you do next is what really matters.

If it is a minor issue, move on with your demo call.

So, during your demo meeting you wanted to show your prospect the latest feature of your product which is not even live, but there seems to be a technical issue in staging. First, consider how integral a feature is in the overall value of your product for the said prospect.

It might be that you can still sail through your product demonstration without your prospect noticing anything! After all, you’re the person with the in-depth product knowledge, your customer will just follow your lead.

Be open with your prospect during your demo meeting.

If the problem affects an integral part of your product demo call it is important to acknowledge that something is not working as it was designed to. Highlight that there seems to a technical issue, emphasize that this is a rare occurrence, and use the opportunity to emphasize the fantastic tech support that you have on your side.

Whatever you choose to do next be clear with your prospect and don’t panic. Explain “there seems to be a technical bug preventing me from showing you xzy feature, I will contact support to see if there is a quick fix, in the meantime let me run you through why xyz feature is important for your use case”

Reach out for help if it can be fixed quickly before the end of your demo call.

If the issue is one that you believe could be solved quickly, perhaps it is something that has happened before, reach out to your tech support team to see what they can do. However, remember that the meter is still running on your product demo call and you can’t just pause and restart without wasting your prospect’s time.

Once you have contacted your tech team, refocus on your prospect and your product while the tech masters work behind the scenes. If you’re lucky and there is a fix before the end of your call, you can demonstrate the product and the fantastic efforts of your tech team, but if this is not the case you still will have the opportunity to make a great impression.

Refocus on the value proposition.

So you can’t show your prospect how a feature or in the worst case the overall product works. That doesn’t mean that you can’t talk them through why each feature and your product is important for them. When tech fails you refocus on the value proposition. After all, what your prospect really needs to know is how your tech can help solve their specific problem.

Explain in basic terms what the productor feature is supposed to do, and then explain how this has helped to solve specific challenges for other customers, before focusing specifically on the prospect’s use case. You can even take this opportunity to ask them more specific questions about their pain points, or what their ideal product would look like to get some in-depth learnings and feedback for your product team.

Be effective with your next steps.

Your product demo call is about to come to an end, the demo meeting did not go the way you planned. That’s ok! Here’s what you can do next...

After the demo call, record the perfect video demo for your prospect, incorporating any new information you gained during the call. You can use Ciara’s automated call summary and transcript to pinpoint all the key info! Be specific and be intentional with this demo recording and make it clear that you are demoing to their specific needs. You can use tools like Loom to film your demo and voiceover. Once this is complete, send over your recorded demo to your prospect along with a meeting invite for any follow-up questions that your prospect may have. Remember to send this perfect product demo soon after your “failed” demo meeting, to keep the momentum of your deal moving forward.

Get more insights into product demo calls with our free Ultimate Guide to Demo Calls!