Three Simple Steps to Nailing the Sales Demo

I built my career on the ability to show customers exactly what they wanted to see in the products I was selling. I developed this skill even before I was a salesperson. Coming out of technical support, it was natural for me to ask the customer what they needed and wanted, and to respond by showing them the part of the product that would answer their questions. And nothing more.

This is the essence of nailing the demo.

Clarify the need

First, you have to determine what your customer really needs to see. Remember, a demo is all about proof. A customer asks for a demo because they don’t believe you.  You are a salesperson.  The demo is you proving that your product can solve a critical issue your potential customer has. This is you proving that you know and understand the issue well enough to demonstrate a solution to said problem. Honestly, I never considered this a skill until I realized how few people do their demos this way. It’s much more common to have someone sit down, open their laptop and do the “Full Monty” demo. And we all know, no one likes that. So the first thing you have to do is talk to your prospect and really understand their need and how you can demonstrate effectively solving the problem they have. And only that. You don’t want to show them one more thing at this point. Just. Solve.Their. Problem.

Relate back to the problem

Next, you have to show them something that resonates with the audience. I have found, over the years, that I have to show a customer their data with documents that look like their documents in order for the customer to be “wowed” and the full solution understood. It’s not good enough to show what other companies in their industry do. They aren’t those other companies. Take the time to name fields the same way the prospect names them, take the time to understand their full process and try to use the same nomenclature they do when explaining.  This has the added benefit of you being able to really get deeper into their process and really understand how they do things today.


The final step, once you have shown your killer demo and the prospect is head bobbing and asking questions, this is the time to set a date for the next meeting, and branch for the door. That’s right, you can do no more good at this point. To put it into text lingo, in case you don’t understand my lingo, GTFO. End on a high note, get out, be gone. Be polite, but after you have crescendoed, get the hell out of there as gracefully as you can.

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