5 Steps to Effective Mobile Device Demos

Originally published
Originally published: 1/1/2012

Research, practice and telling a story are still most important.

When selling HVAC equipment and systems, it’s typical to use software to show the prospect how much they’d save by upgrading or adding a feature (such as zoning). While today’s technology makes these simulations easier than ever, there’s an “art” to using mobile demonstrations to help you to close business.


Here’s a five-step process to turn your mobile demos into powerful sales tools:

1. Research your prospect: Ideally, an online or mobile demonstration allows the prospect to see how things will be different after they’ve bought your product, feature, or upgrade. Because every prospect has unique characteristics, a “canned” demonstration or simulation won’t be as compelling as one that fits the individual prospect.

Before you pull out your iPad and start showing the numbers, find out exactly what motivates the prospect, what keeps them up at night, what they hope to accomplish long-term, what pitfalls they feel they must avoid, etc. To do this rely on experience, get on the Internet, use your network of contacts if it is a commercial job, and discover what will motivate this individual prospect to buy. Use this knowledge to guide the rest of the process.


2. Create a compelling story: A mobile demonstration should never simply present features, functions, and numbers. Instead, the demo should tell a story, using the offering as the “hook” that makes the story real. Most impor- tantly, the story that’s told must be the prospect’s story, with the prospect as the hero who uses your offering to overcome an obstacle or achieve a goal.

Think of your offering as a “magic sword” that helps the prospect to win the battle, the key element that leads toward the prospect’s individual success. For example, suppose you’re demonstrating the impact of zoning on a data-center cooling system. Your demo for the IT director might tout the value of being more “environmentally friendly.” The same demo, given to the CFO, would probably emphasize ROI.


3. Simplify the message: The last thing you want is for prospects to feel overwhelmed when they think of your offering. Here are some pointers to keep things simple.

  • Never discuss a meaningless feature. Everything you discuss or demo should be tied directly to that pros- pect’s problem.
  • Keep it simple. Find an appropriate demo objective (such as “show the CFO why the ROI claims are true”). Focus on that objective and leave the rest for another time.
  • Craft a script. The “talking” part of your demo should match what you’re going to show the prospect. This means rehearsal, by the way.
  • Pace yourself. A perfect online dem- onstration should be seamless, with- out long pauses and dead spots. Once again, remember to rehearse.
  • Avoid techie-talk. Even if your pros- pect is technically oriented, don’t get too deeply into HOW the product works. Focus on what it does for the prospect.
  • Jettison the biz-blab. Don’t trot out trite phrases such as “best in class,” “robust,” “bleeding edge,” etc. That stuff only makes you look foolish.


4. Test it beforehand: A bungled demo — even if you’re showing only a simulation — tells the prospect, at a visceral level, that you didn’t adequately prepare. Therefore, you should always give your demo a dry run, preferably at the actual location where you’ll be pre- senting it.

If you’re demonstrating for a large group that will be viewing on a large screen (such as in a conference center), never assume that the equipment will work as expected. If at all possible, use your own laptop, your own projector, your own pointing device, and so forth.

Have a backup plan, just in case you DO encounter technical difficulties.


5. Ask for the business: If your online demonstration has gone smoothly, make a final check that the prospect has seen (and experienced) what it would be like to own your offering. If you get anything that looks like a green light, ask for the business. Simply put, there is no better point in the sales cycle to ask for the business than after you’ve given the prospect a solid demo of how your offering will solve their problem.

Geoffrey James is the author of several books, hundreds of business articles, and currently writes the popular Sales Machine blog on CBS Interactive’s BNET website.

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