The B2B Revenue Executive Experience
The B2B Revenue Executive Experience

Episode · 4 years ago

Brian Burns on 5 Things That Make a Demo Great


Demos play a critical role in every sales process. Oftentimes, just being prepared to give a demo isn’t enough. Sales professionals need to be mindful of other factors besides knowing their products to have their demo be a success.

Brian Burns, host of The Brutal Truth About Sales & Selling, sat down with Chad Sanderson, Managing Partner, Value Prime Solutions, to discuss five things that make a demo great.

You're listening to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teams to optimize growth. Whether you're looking for techniques and strategies or tools and resources, you've come to the right place. Let's accelerate your growth in three, two, one. Welcome everyone to the Beeb revenue executive experience. I'm your host, Chad Sanderson. Today we're going to be talking about demos, and Brian Burns and I are going to break down the five things that make a great demo so help sales people hopefully understand when they should be using demos, what it takes to make them successful and when not to rely on them too much. Demos are great tools in the sales process. If used effectively, if prepared for properly, if they're executed flawlessly, they can do a great deal to drive a sales deal forward. However, the vast majority of sales reps today have a tendency to think that a demo is more significant in the sales process than perhaps it actually is. So what Brian and I wanted to do is spend some time talking about our experience with Demos, talking about what makes them work, why you should use them, when you should use them and some things to avoid. So, without further ado, let's jump right into the conversation with Brian Burns. It's time to talk about Demos. I mean demos are a critical part of every sales process and I'm sure you sat through a handful of them your career, more than my fair share, and I bet you've seen some good ones and quite a few bad ones. Let's contract that. Maybe you know like, what's your number one thing for making a demo great? You know it's interesting. So you always got to be prepared first off, and in this you got to be prepared for it to go poorly. Right, every demo always has the chance of going sideways because it's technology. So one of the things to make sure it's that I've seen people do to make sure it's great is, yeah, you've got your demo down. You know what features you want to highlight that will solve their business problems, that will go back to making sure they're addressing their business objectives. You've got all that down. You've practiced it, you've done the run through, but you're prepared in case the tech doesn't work and you're not sitting there wasting somebody's time, fumbling to try and figure out how to show them something that just, you know, crap the bed. So that preparation part of it for me and that ability to understand, you know, either eventuality and be prepared for it. That, to me, is where I've seen most you know, sales reps and a's or demo people really shine. Yeah, I mean, I don't know if you've ever been the guy giving the demo, but you know, that's kind of how I got my start in the career. I was the kind of the engineer that they pulled out of the cubicle to go to give the presentation in the demo and ask to, you know, cut your Pony Ial, will you? It's amazing, though, right. That's that's an awesome way to get started because because you know, you know going into it the technology can be a little bit skittish. I mean, especially today when things have to be connected or not connected. They've got to work in both modes. You never know what kind of presentation device you're going to be on inside of a customer setting. Some of them are, you know, had the latest and greatest nice flat screens with the HD of my plug in and and you're ready to rock and roll. Others, you know, you're still looking for a DVI connector to a projector that probably hasn't been dusted in ten years, right. So all of that has to be taken into account because if you get to a point where you have people in a room that need to know that this product is really what they're looking for, you need to make it shine and in order to do that you're going to be prepared for any eventuality. Yeah, and there was a lot of research done on like the best times to do this. And you know, I don't know what your experience has been, but I've never done one on Monday or Friday and I try and do it like Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday at either ten in the morning, whatever local time that is for them, not me, or two in the...

...afternoon. Oh, what's the thought process behind that? I had I hadn't heard that research. What, where's that was that? Tell me more about that. I'm curious now. Yeah, I'm going did a blog post about it, because what they have and there's this mostly remote stuff, right, meaning that Um, you know, you where you go to boom or some kind of screen sharing app they recorded, analyze it and then map it in sales force or whatever crm to what deals close and how long they take to close, so they can correlate the effectiveness and the correlation of different things that happened during the call. And you know, certainly for me, you know, anything before ten, people are rambling and rushing around within their office trying to get Radya, they got to get coffee, toast their Bagel, catch up on the game or, you know, the the TV last night, especially like Monday morning, forget it. You know, everyone's got meetings they're talking about. Curb your enthusiasm. It's like this. The focus is not on work and and that ten am meeting is always a good twenty to fifty percent better than the two PM meeting. You know, two pm you got to let people get back after launch, you know, catch up on their stuff, get reacquainted with their jobs, and then you can, you can get down and do some work. But after like three, you know, and certainly nothing near for a lot of people, like Oh, will get your right at the end of the day and it's like yeah, people are burnt and looking with their Goge wow, I think kids soccer game or something to go to and and, you know, and Fridays forget about it and you know, you know what chatting about travel and one of my rules was never travel on Monday or Friday because it's like amateur hour. Friday, she got you know that the grandma's going to see the grandkids and the security lines are always so our people like, Whoa, we have to get x rayed, all the stuff that they have no idea. They got their coffee in one hand and their phone in the other and you're like, Oh, and and Monday's, you know, forget about it because everybody's, you know, things they're trying to get. The consultants are all trying to get on location. You know first thing in the mornings that they had some kind of weekend. Oh Yeah, I love when I've been unfortunate enough to have to do something with a client where I can't get out on a Friday night and traveling Saturday morning from someplace. It's like a totally different world, isn't it it? Oh, wait, I'm not supposed to be in TSA preo. I don't have to take my shoes up. Will know my shoes might set it off. Now I want to talk to the TSA agent and I'm sitting there going okay, deep breass, deep dress like this is. This should be seamless. People like the signs, read the signs, observation, yet travel. I could go on, obviously after this week, I could go on with forever. that. That day to though, that came from Gong, you said, go, yeah, gone, dot. I love those guys put out some amazing day to. The tools awesome as hell. I've had conversations with their CEO before, but the data they put out, the blog, the content, absolutely amazing. I love that. Yeah, it kind of inspired this episode because, you know, I don't talk enough about demos and it's demos or something you have to talk with interactively with someone else, you know, because I've been through room so many times that, you know, I think that number one thing for me is to find something to engage them with. You know, what is the thing that they that's going to change their life? You know, if you think of like a test drive, there's some one thing about a car that everybody wants. It might be might be the seed, it might be the power, it might be the look, it might be you know, tetops or Sun roof or convertible? I don't know, what's It for you? I mean it well, I think that I think you're on a something right there. Right, you have to be able to in a demo, remember first and foremost that that people make emotional buying decisions right, and so if you can tap into it,... if you're going to show me file open, file close, file say or Hey, I'm stop, just stop, because I don't give, I don't care. So you have to have done your homework and have to have talked to an understand your audience first and foremost, and if you can show a demo in a way that that brings to light how it's going to help them, how it's going to provide them value, solve a business problem, generate Roi for them, and you can start to show it in a way and deliver it in a passionate way. None of this monotone hey, do this, like the no. No, they've got to be an event. You almost want the demo to be an event so you can tap into those emotions, because they're not going to buy it just because it has this long list of features. They're going to buy it because you helped them connect to it. Yeah, and it's something that you really can't delegate, because a lot of times I've worked at companies where the person given the demo was in what they called a pool. Like you know, and and you may have only work with this person like one time before and they don't really report to you, and and you, and you, you don't have enough time before, because I'd always try and sit down with them, have a cup of coffee and say, okay, here's how I like to roll with the Demo, and they go no, no, I got my way of doing it. I go understand, but, you know, let me explain what they're looking for, what they care about, and I go, let's have a signal. Okay, when I start talking, you stop talk. Okay, when the customers starts talking, we both stop talking. Okay, I love it. And and he got offended and he went and talk to his managers. Manager agreed with me. Be Goes, that's brilliant. Yeah, let's not make it complex, right. Yeah, there to listen to the customers. So stop and and it's always I mean there's two ways to look at it, right, depending on how complex the product of the solution is. There are somewhere. I've been able to do the demos, but I've also sold things like we back in the day we sold math libraries for D geometric modeling engines. We didn't even have a UX. It was all code and Algorithms, and I laugh on the last dude that needed to be doing the demo. But if you have somebody you know, that a that that product expert, that can really roll through it, you have to dry run it, you have to go through it and practice it, you have to know the signs, the cues. Those are the most simple cues I've heard. Usually it's like, you know, I always got probably two creatives like, all right, if I tap my pen twice, just shut up because it's time to let the customer talk. Right. But if you don't practice it and go through it, especially if there's two people involved, you run the risk of coming off flat. And then if it's a product that you're trying to tell him is simple and easy to use, that you know, one of the things I like say is, look, I'm a I'm a sales guy and even I can do this right. That's so there's a credibility portion. If the product is something that you are comfortable enough with as well. Either way, you still got to make sure that you know you come on flawless, passionate and get out of the fact that you've probably given this demo a hundred times and you don't want to get into that monotone. If you can do that and stay passionate about it, those are the ones that I've seen go go the best. Yeah, yeah, I mean I recently posted a video clip from madmen where that they're pitching a Kodak about everybody clip. Do you yeah it because it was so convincing because, you know, they the customer was telling them, I know this is hard, it's just a wheel and for the audience it's the carousel. Will you put in those little lot of slice? Yeah, and maybe your parents had them. I certainly remembered them. And the slide would drop in in front of the light and would project the image onto a screen and that's how people had like home, not movies, but you know, pictures, and people after a vacation, we get the pictures back and have their friends over and show it. And Don Draper, who was pitching the idea, explained that you know what was,...

...what was the emotions like? A carousel. Yeah, like a child, child and the timelessness and the wonder, the time travel and nostalgia and it was like an all of a sudden it was his life, it was him with his kids, and he went back to when the his wife was pregnant, he went back to his wedding day, back to when he met her, and one of the people who worked for him started crying and had to leave the room. I have never done a demo that where I've inspired somebody so much that they've actually cried. That would be great, but I mean that's I cry given one, but I've cried after. I've cried after I've done my fisher crying after for sure. That's it and I remember it's probably the most dramatic product I sold was, you know, we had this magical capability called incremental compilation where we could basically cut the time it took to build a program from hours to seconds. And the first time you showed some buddy to what, they go, wait a minute, you didn't do anything like, oh no, it's done and I let me show y'all run it. Okay, now we'll change at you. What variable do you want me to put in I'll put in the setting and that way. You know, I did it and people would be like awe struck right, and all of a sudden, you they now saw that they could take their work day and cut it into like one, eight, ten and and men. Then they said, well, Jesus, now we can have vacations and go home on the weekends. Can actually use all the vacation time I have. Yeah, and all of a sudden they were able to articulate that to their manager. So the I mean that with every product there is some magic thing and I think people get too lost trying to train the customer during the demo as like a training class. Here's how you use it well, and that's a really good point, right. The demos not meant to train them on the product. It is meant to connect to them, right, to inspire them, especially if you're talking to I mean, I don't know about you, for me, a lot of the demos we did we're never with the ultimate buyer. They might be there for like two seconds and go, Oh, you're going to do a demo. All right, I have other things to do. So so what? What we always try to do was that person that you're demoing that person that now has the technical validation or whatever they're being called, whatever their role is in the buying process. Always wanted them to walk out of there with some type of personal connection to it, because then their passion came through when they were talking to the buyer or their boss or whatever. And that's it. And what you want to do is try and elicit from their questions how well they're getting it, you know, because typically there's somebody in that demo that has that problem that you solve and you've got to connect with them. And when they come back to you and go, wait a minute, let me see how that works again, and doesn't connect up with this and doesn't do that, then you've got you've got the Mojo right, you know. And you know, I think the best test drive I've ever book been on when I was I bought this Z and I'm sure the listeners is sick of hearing about this car, but of course I bought it in July, we know, with the streets were nice and dry and there wasn't a you know, rain or snow or anything, because it was horrendous with an either rain or snow. The test drive, the guy took it out he's a good let me drive. I'll take you back into some back roads into Virginia and these windy little roads that were barely, you know, wide enough for two cars. And he skated this car and there's long and it was just like mesmerized as the passenger, and then he pulled it over those okay, your turn, and then, of course I went like one ten that speed he did, but the feeling, because he goes. You see how that feels. It's like, okay, instead of breaking in that curve, accelerate into it. And then he took the tea tea top, the roof off and put it in the trunk and and it goes, what kind of music do you like? He put on the music and all of a sudden the connection, that transfer of ownership, took place. Yep, without a doubt. I had and it's funny because I had so when come when Camaro just redid the body styles, what was that for? Five,...

...six years ago, I got one of the new CAMAROS men. Same situation. It was a total it was a total emotional by I knew what I was doing. I walked into the dealership because because my wife at the Times jeep needed service. So I was going down to pick her up or something. I walked in and they had this orange Camaro SS eight cylinder in there that they had put a Hennessy conversion kid on, six hundred and seventy five horse power, and I was like, I would like to take this for a test drive. You know, they had to open up the big doors and get it out of the show room and we're out there and it took all of I don't know, two seconds once I sat in the car. For me, yeah, I'm taking this home now. Much like you, it was a summer you want to talk about, not that thing. If, if it missed it, if it dude, it could not go outside. It was all muscle, no brains. But it was that emotional connection, right, and it was him being able to tell me about the Hennessy conversion kit and connecting it to the things that I cared about that made that such a powerful experience. That happens to be to be all the time. That that is really what we're after. That's it. And if you can figure out that one thing out and demonstrate it to the the client and have them get it and don't worry about the rest, because doing two demos is not a bad thing. That's a good thing. Doing a customized demo is a good thing, not a bad thing, because I think too many reps, and we're most deals get stock is you have that great demo and it goes a little bit longer, which is one of the things Gong notice is the best demos when a little bit longer. But the problem then is you run out of time and you don't get that critical next step scheduled and all of a sudden momentum is lost right right when in the episode, just out of curiosity, when in the sales process, because I just was actually discussing this with a client earlier this week. When in the sales process do you recommend people start to look at doing the demos? Are there certain things you want to see or recommend that people look for or have from the client before they're willing to invest the time and resources to do a demo? Well, I think today people are trying to rush it. I think people are assuming just because they will take a meeting if they want to see it down. Yeah, and you know, and unless you're the end user of the product, you're the direct user. The way your the demo makes perfect sense to you, then it might make sense. And but I think you know the today, because the person who's given the demo isn't getting the meeting. It's usually somebody else kind of gets the meeting and then you kind of got to Redo the discovery a little bit. Right. I think you first need to you know, reestate rapport kind of do. Where are you in this? Is it a priority? How do you do it today? How would you like to do it? You know, what's the outcome you like to achieve? And then if you can keep the demo as a conversational piece. And I've got this one guy that's in our industry. He's got this product and every time I talk to him he opens up a window and starts giving me a demo. Now, now I've used his product for three years now and you know, I literally have inspired most of the product direction for them because I'm a super user of it and I love the product. And he all insists on giving the demo instead of talking to me and it is just such a turnoff and I'm like, Buddy, I know that the demo is worth let's talk about these things are important, and then he'll say, oh well, goes, let me show you an I go no, that's not what I'm talking about. Stay away from the products. They away from them. Yeah, let's let's talk like human beings, and I think too many reps use it as a crutch, like they use slides as a crutch. And if you can't have that, that solid, interactive conversation about the industry, the problems that people face, the customers roll in the company for a good half...

...hour, you're not qualified. Yet you did got to get build up that knowledge base and because those are the things that are really, really great sales people are good at. The Demo was kind of a rookie tool. It's kind of a crutch for a lot of people. There's nothing wrong with it. It's great reason to get together, you know, it's kind of like, Hey, let's meet for cocktails. It's not the beer. You can have a beer anywhere, right. You want to get together to talk and reconnect. Yeah, I'm without without that understanding, without that context of the salesperson doesn't bring that context to it. You're right, they have a tendency to use it as a crotch. I remember the first time I had a new AE there was going to go with me to do a demo and we hit dry run to it and dry run and dry round it. But our practice was only I think, we think we got it done in twenty five, twenty seven minutes every time on average. Right. But the meeting was for sixty minutes and as we're driving up to the customer site he goes, so I have a question for you. I was like all right, sure, shoot. He's like what are we going to talk about for the other thirty minutes? I'm like what? He's like, I don't know, we're only doing a demo for twenty seven minutes. He's like, even if I go long, it's thirty five, is it? What are we going to do the other twenty five? I'm like, are you? Are you being serious? Right now? We have a whole list of things we want to talk about and actually we want to talk first, then do a little demo and talk at the end. And all of a sudden you just saw the blood drained from his face, like well, wait, a wet you mean we're not going to have the demo to rely on? Like I'm not going to have oh hey, let me show you this cool thing about the product. No, no, know, it's not about that. It's about them, what they need, what they think is valuable and how we connect to that. Yeah, and that's it. And I think if you can really like start by showing how other people do it, like somebody they may know or respect or understand or even compete against, and it's like, okay, here you today, you have three dispurged systems. Okay, you'd like to have them all work together. So today, what do you do? You have to manually cobble them together. What if you could do this? This is how you know IBM does it. This is how Oracle does it. This and all of a sudden, Ze, Microsoft does that. This is what it was like before. This is how we transitioned them. This was the outcome that they got, and you build that into a story and how it affects them. It's great. And you raise the real good point on the timing, because typically, even if they have extra time, the room that you're in typically expires rate on the top of the hour and they get the peep outside, knock, and and all of a sudden, not only do you have to leave, you have to pack up and leave and you still you haven't closed the meeting for a next step, which is the most valuable action night in that can come out of this, because if you don't have it. I wrote about this in my book because I had this vp come with me and we be out in the parking lot. He was a fantastic rock star presenter, but he always went long and and he was like the Steve Jobs of the company and then we'd be like literally being kicked out of the building. They're trying to go to launch. You know we've all gone over by a half an hour and they're all like, oh, this fantastic, let's talk soon. Yes, send me a proposal and he's in the in the parking law tell me how great it went. But yeah, but, yeah, we don't have a next step. He goes send a proposal and I'm like yeah, to who? About? For what? There's so much more we need. Right. It's like the next hook. It's like, Oh, you having that first great date. It's like all of a sudden you think you have a relationship and it's like maybe you do, maybe you don't, and it's like that's that part and people just assume because it went so good and I've seen very few demos. Probably like ten percent go bad, but you know, eighty percent typically go, you know, bb plus right, but not that. Eighty percent don't close. Right,...

...but probably twenty percent of those clothes. Why? Because somebody doesn't know what to do next. Well, no one teaches said yeah, and you see the reps get so excited. I watched, I have watched sales reps. they'll do their practice, they'll do their prep and they get in there and they start to see the reaction from the customer. Maybe they'd lean forward, maybe there's some asking some questions, maybe they're starting to talk a little bit faster. They're giving you those cues that they're engaged and they're starting to get excited. And then the REP Blie is off of that and gets excited and forgets that what you have to do at the end is get that next step. So they walk out and they go that was great, and then you wait about three and a half minutes and it duns on them. Crap, I don't have a next step. Right. Yeah, that was awesome. It might have been an a plus performance, but from a sale standpoint you may be here at a solid see if you don't have a next step, and that's what the goal is, right. It's a lot of reps will get so focused on that demo and that one step they lose that strategic view of the account in the sales process, and I understand why. I mean it gets awesome when you have a customers in across the table and they're excited and they're talking to you in there. Think of all the things we can do if you want to. You know, it's natural to get caught up in that. It takes a pro to actually remember you need to control that, throttle their emotions and make sure you're ensuring that you have that next step or time to get it. Yeah, because one of my when a customers are one of the jobs I had was a company called chain link technology and they call it the chain link effect. It was kind of ironic that you would think up as a chain link where the demos always go great but nobody ever buys the product. I go that's a sales process mistake. Yeah, and the guy who ran sales used to sell, you know, alarms door to door and in that case they either bought or they don't buy period. Right. You know, it's a lot like when you're on that lot, you either buy that Camaro or that Z or you don't write. You know, and that that next step. And you can't ask them what they want to do. Nett, you can, but they don't know right, because they'll say, Oh, send me a proposal, but you're not the person who signs the proposal, so what's the point in sending you a proposal? You take me to meet the person who can signed for the proposal. Or let's get the full sale, complete it not just the technical because this is really the technical sale. You know, you love the Camaro, but let's say you were sixteen, you can't afford the Camaro. You know you're loaded, so you can afford it. Yeah, it was an imposed by for sure, and you're right, though, I mean it is a component of a much larger process, and that technical sale. Yeah, I work with a lot of sales reps where where they're extremely technical, they want to talk about the tech, they love the tech and they get out about the tech and then when you have to explain to them that, okay, well, the person that is ultimately going to sign the contract, no offense, probably doesn't care. They'd probably don't care about the future set. What they care about is the person that they trust telling them, yes, this product will do it, and that's where we're at when we're doing the demo. So making sure you're constantly keeping that in mind becomes a critical step. Yeah, because when you do the on site, you know it that the pattern was always consistent. The manager would come in in the last five minutes and he would, he or she would look at the people who are the smartest and see how they were reacting to it, and then you can get the nod, the smile, the thombs all, or they would get the let's keep looking, let's keep looking. And plus you know, much like in Madmen, that the people, your competitors, coming in in two hours right. You know exactly the right behind you, the right behind hey, cool Chad, there's been a lot of fun. Anything else about the demo before we drop? Oh No, I'm good man, this has been great. Thank you. All Right, Ladies and gentlemen, that does it for this episode of the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. Hope you enjoyed Brian Burns and I going back and forth about Demos, what makes them effective, what not to... Hopefully you found some value in this. I'm really enjoyed my time and the episodes we're doing with Brian Burns. It's great to talk to another professional and provide you guys, insights and hopefully a little bit of humor along the way. I want to thank you all for listening and if you could do me a favor and go to itunes drop us a review, that would be great. We really look at those to see what kinds of content you're interested in, as well as please do not hesitate to share this out with friends, Co workers, family, anyone you think we'll get some value out of it. Again, thanks for listening and until next time, we have value prime solutions. Wish you all nothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the B Tob Revenue Executive Experience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the show in Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening. Until next time,.

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