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In continuation of our Demo Wizards series, one of our very own Demo Wizards, Martin Booth, is going to look at some of the common ways a demo can fail and how these failures can be avoided.

We’ve established that there are 3 main goals for a technical demo:  winning an opportunity, education, and proving a concept.  Last week we explored how you can win an opportunity with your sales demo, and you can check this out in more detail here.

Today, we are exploring #2, Education.

Education – “Did I learn anything?”

I typically find myself presenting to large audiences at various product conferences such as Microsoft’s Ignite.  As a result, the goals of my demos are to teach something to a large audience all at once.  Whether it’s a quick How-To or a deep technical concept, the audience should walk away feeling like they have learned something.  During these educational-style demos (such as training events or conferences) there are a couple of things that can limit the effectiveness of the demo:

Distractions: Keeping the demos on point and specific will help drive home the concepts being shown. Distractions that can divert your audience’s attention can include excess things on the screen (personal desktop background photos, multiple icons, apps, and shortcuts on the desktop), pop-ups, and jumping around the user interface of the product.

 

These distractions can easily be avoided by:

 

  • Using a fresh, clean demo machine
  • Signing out of IM and closing email before the start of the demo
  • Keeping the flow of the demo smooth and linear

This category can also include distractions such as that fancy new laptop or a witty t-shirt.  I remember seeing a handful of sessions by a well-known speaker at a conference – I can’t recall the session topics, but I can remember the humorous t-shirts he was wearing…

 

Techno-babble:  Make sure your demo content matches the technical level of your audience.  A guaranteed way to disconnect your audience is to overload them with technical terms or acronyms that are unfamiliar to them.  It can be a challenge when you have a wide range of skill levels present, in which case you need to make sure you briefly define any terms you use and then move swiftly on.

 

Missing the point:  Every demo should have a few (and just a few) key messages that it is trying to deliver.  You want those points to be the main things that the audience walks away remembering.  Avoid anything in your demo that does not reinforce the key message, such as pointing out other options or scenarios along the way.

 

Make it actionable:  A good way to help drive home a demo is to give the audience a way to try it out themselves.  If you’re showing a software product, is there a trial version where they can replicate your demo?  If it’s code, can they download the source to play with themselves?  Is a video available of the session or demo that they could review again later?  Some of the best demos are the ones where the audience leaves with the desire to try it out for themselves.

Stay tuned next week as we explore the third and final part of this trilogy, Top 3 Ways to Win the Deal with a Live Sales Demo – Proving a Concept.

Want to learn more?  Check out our other blogs from the Demo Wizard series:

Top 3 Ways to Win the Deal with A Live Sales Demo – Part I

Top 5 Tips for a GREAT Live Demo Presentation

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