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 RevenueExecutive Experience, a podcast dedicated to helping executives train their sales and marketing teamsto 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 yourhost, Chad Sanderson. Today we're going to be talking about demos, andBrian Burns and I are going to break down the five things that make agreat 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 toomuch. Demos are great tools in the sales process. If used effectively,if prepared for properly, if they're executed flawlessly, they can do a greatdeal to drive a sales deal forward. However, the vast majority of salesreps today have a tendency to think that a demo is more significant in thesales process than perhaps it actually is. So what Brian and I wanted todo is spend some time talking about our experience with Demos, talking about whatmakes them work, why you should use them, when you should use themand some things to avoid. So, without further ado, let's jump rightinto the conversation with Brian Burns. It's time to talk about Demos. Imean demos are a critical part of every sales process and I'm sure you satthrough a handful of them your career, more than my fair share, andI bet you've seen some good ones and quite a few bad ones. Let'scontract that. Maybe you know like, what's your number one thing for makinga demo great? You know it's interesting. So you always got to be preparedfirst off, and in this you got to be prepared for it togo poorly. Right, every demo always has the chance of going sideways becauseit's technology. So one of the things to make sure it's that I've seenpeople 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 businessproblems, 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 therewasting somebody's time, fumbling to try and figure out how to show them somethingthat just, you know, crap the bed. So that preparation part ofit for me and that ability to understand, you know, either eventuality and beprepared for it. That, to me, is where I've seen mostyou 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 thecareer. I was the kind of the engineer that they pulled out of thecubicle to go to give the presentation in the demo and ask to, youknow, 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. Imean, especially today when things have to be connected or not connected. They'vegot to work in both modes. You never know what kind of presentation deviceyou'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 HDof 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 probablyhasn't been dusted in ten years, right. So all of that has to betaken into account because if you get to a point where you have peoplein a room that need to know that this product is really what they're lookingfor, you need to make it shine and in order to do that you'regoing to be prepared for any eventuality. Yeah, and there was a lotof 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 oneon Monday or Friday and I try and do it like Tuesday, Wednesday andThursday at either ten in the morning, whatever local time that is for them, not me, or two in the...

...afternoon. Oh, what's the thoughtprocess behind that? I had I hadn't heard that research. What, where'sthat 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 andthere'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 whatdeals close and how long they take to close, so they can correlate theeffectiveness and the correlation of different things that happened during the call. And youknow, certainly for me, you know, anything before ten, people are ramblingand rushing around within their office trying to get Radya, they got toget coffee, toast their Bagel, catch up on the game or, youknow, 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 ammeeting 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 lotof people, like Oh, will get your right at the end of theday 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, youknow, and Fridays forget about it and you know, you know what chattingabout travel and one of my rules was never travel on Monday or Friday becauseit's like amateur hour. Friday, she got you know that the grandma's goingto 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 noidea. They got their coffee in one hand and their phone in theother and you're like, Oh, and and Monday's, you know, forgetabout it because everybody's, you know, things they're trying to get. Theconsultants are all trying to get on location. You know first thing in the morningsthat they had some kind of weekend. Oh Yeah, I love when I'vebeen unfortunate enough to have to do something with a client where I can'tget out on a Friday night and traveling Saturday morning from someplace. It's likea totally different world, isn't it it? Oh, wait, I'm not supposedto 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 talkto the TSA agent and I'm sitting there going okay, deep breass, deepdress like this is. This should be seamless. People like the signs,read the signs, observation, yet travel. I could go on, obviously afterthis week, I could go on with forever. that. That dayto 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, butthe data they put out, the blog, the content, absolutely amazing. Ilove that. Yeah, it kind of inspired this episode because, youknow, I don't talk enough about demos and it's demos or something you haveto talk with interactively with someone else, you know, because I've been throughroom so many times that, you know, I think that number one thing forme is to find something to engage them with. You know, whatis 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 carthat everybody wants. It might be might be the seed, it mightbe 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 foryou? I mean it well, I think that I think you're on asomething right there. Right, you have to be able to in a demo, remember first and foremost that that people make emotional buying decisions right, andso if you can tap into it,... if you're going to show mefile open, file close, file say or Hey, I'm stop, juststop, because I don't give, I don't care. So you have tohave done your homework and have to have talked to an understand your audience firstand foremost, and if you can show a demo in a way that thatbrings to light how it's going to help them, how it's going to providethem value, solve a business problem, generate Roi for them, and youcan 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 bean event so you can tap into those emotions, because they're not going tobuy it just because it has this long list of features. They're going tobuy it because you helped them connect to it. Yeah, and it's somethingthat you really can't delegate, because a lot of times I've worked at companieswhere the person given the demo was in what they called a pool. Likeyou know, and and you may have only work with this person like onetime before and they don't really report to you, and and you, andyou, you don't have enough time before, because I'd always try and sit downwith them, have a cup of coffee and say, okay, here'show I like to roll with the Demo, and they go no, no,I got my way of doing it. I go understand, but, youknow, let me explain what they're looking for, what they care about, and I go, let's have a signal. Okay, when I starttalking, you stop talk. Okay, when the customers starts talking, weboth stop talking. Okay, I love it. And and he got offendedand 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 Imean there's two ways to look at it, right, depending on howcomplex the product of the solution is. There are somewhere. I've been ableto do the demos, but I've also sold things like we back in theday we sold math libraries for D geometric modeling engines. We didn't even havea UX. It was all code and Algorithms, and I laugh on thelast dude that needed to be doing the demo. But if you have somebodyyou know, that a that that product expert, that can really roll throughit, you have to dry run it, you have to go through it andpractice it, you have to know the signs, the cues. Thoseare 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 mypen 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 ifthere's two people involved, you run the risk of coming off flat. Andthen if it's a product that you're trying to tell him is simple and easyto 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 thisright. That's so there's a credibility portion. If the product is something that youare comfortable enough with as well. Either way, you still got tomake sure that you know you come on flawless, passionate and get out ofthe fact that you've probably given this demo a hundred times and you don't wantto get into that monotone. If you can do that and stay passionate aboutit, 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 thatthey're pitching a Kodak about everybody clip. Do you yeah it because it wasso convincing because, you know, they the customer was telling them, Iknow this is hard, it's just a wheel and for the audience it's thecarousel. Will you put in those little lot of slice? Yeah, andmaybe your parents had them. I certainly remembered them. And the slide woulddrop in in front of the light and would project the image onto a screenand that's how people had like home, not movies, but you know,pictures, and people after a vacation, we get the pictures back and havetheir friends over and show it. And Don Draper, who was pitching theidea, explained that you know what was,...

...what was the emotions like? Acarousel. Yeah, like a child, child and the timelessness and the wonder, the time travel and nostalgia and it was like an all of asudden it was his life, it was him with his kids, and hewent back to when the his wife was pregnant, he went back to hiswedding day, back to when he met her, and one of the peoplewho worked for him started crying and had to leave the room. I havenever 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 forsure. That's it and I remember it's probably the most dramatic product I soldwas, you know, we had this magical capability called incremental compilation where wecould 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 doneand 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 thesetting and that way. You know, I did it and people would belike awe struck right, and all of a sudden, you they now sawthat they could take their work day and cut it into like one, eight, ten and and men. Then they said, well, Jesus, nowwe can have vacations and go home on the weekends. Can actually use allthe vacation time I have. Yeah, and all of a sudden they wereable to articulate that to their manager. So the I mean that with everyproduct there is some magic thing and I think people get too lost trying totrain the customer during the demo as like a training class. Here's how youuse it well, and that's a really good point, right. The demosnot 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 demoswe did we're never with the ultimate buyer. They might be there for like twoseconds and go, Oh, you're going to do a demo. Allright, I have other things to do. So so what? What we alwaystry to do was that person that you're demoing that person that now hasthe technical validation or whatever they're being called, whatever their role is in the buyingprocess. Always wanted them to walk out of there with some type ofpersonal connection to it, because then their passion came through when they were talkingto the buyer or their boss or whatever. And that's it. And what youwant to do is try and elicit from their questions how well they're gettingit, you know, because typically there's somebody in that demo that has thatproblem that you solve and you've got to connect with them. And when theycome back to you and go, wait a minute, let me see howthat 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 wasI bought this Z and I'm sure the listeners is sick of hearing about thiscar, but of course I bought it in July, we know, withthe streets were nice and dry and there wasn't a you know, rain orsnow 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 littleroads that were barely, you know, wide enough for two cars. Andhe skated this car and there's long and it was just like mesmerized as thepassenger, and then he pulled it over those okay, your turn, andthen, of course I went like one ten that speed he did, butthe feeling, because he goes. You see how that feels. It's like, okay, instead of breaking in that curve, accelerate into it. Andthen he took the tea tea top, the roof off and put it inthe 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 transferof ownership, took place. Yep, without a doubt. I had andit'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 oneof the new CAMAROS men. Same situation. It was a total it was atotal emotional by I knew what I was doing. I walked into thedealership because because my wife at the Times jeep needed service. So I wasgoing down to pick her up or something. I walked in and they had thisorange Camaro SS eight cylinder in there that they had put a Hennessy conversionkid 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 showroom and we're out there and it took all of I don't know, twoseconds once I sat in the car. For me, yeah, I'm takingthis home now. Much like you, it was a summer you want totalk about, not that thing. If, if it missed it, if itdude, it could not go outside. It was all muscle, no brains. But it was that emotional connection, right, and it was him beingable to tell me about the Hennessy conversion kit and connecting it to thethings that I cared about that made that such a powerful experience. That happensto 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 anddemonstrate it to the the client and have them get it and don't worry aboutthe rest, because doing two demos is not a bad thing. That's agood thing. Doing a customized demo is a good thing, not a badthing, because I think too many reps, and we're most deals get stock isyou have that great demo and it goes a little bit longer, whichis one of the things Gong notice is the best demos when a little bitlonger. But the problem then is you run out of time and you don'tget that critical next step scheduled and all of a sudden momentum is lost rightright when in the episode, just out of curiosity, when in the salesprocess, 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 doingthe demos? Are there certain things you want to see or recommend that peoplelook for or have from the client before they're willing to invest the time andresources to do a demo? Well, I think today people are trying torush it. I think people are assuming just because they will take a meetingif they want to see it down. Yeah, and you know, andunless you're the end user of the product, you're the direct user. The wayyour 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 giventhe demo isn't getting the meeting. It's usually somebody else kind of gets themeeting 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 ofdo. Where are you in this? Is it a priority? How doyou 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 thedemo as a conversational piece. And I've got this one guy that's inour industry. He's got this product and every time I talk to him heopens up a window and starts giving me a demo. Now, now I'veused his product for three years now and you know, I literally have inspiredmost of the product direction for them because I'm a super user of it andI love the product. And he all insists on giving the demo instead oftalking 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 anI go no, that's not what I'm talking about. Stay away from theproducts. 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 theyuse slides as a crutch. And if you can't have that, that solid, interactive conversation about the industry, the problems that people face, the customersroll in the company for a good half...

...hour, you're not qualified. Yetyou did got to get build up that knowledge base and because those are thethings that are really, really great sales people are good at. The Demowas kind of a rookie tool. It's kind of a crutch for a lotof 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 withoutthat 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 gowith me to do a demo and we hit dry run to it and dryrun and dry round it. But our practice was only I think, wethink 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 drivingup 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 wegoing 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 sevenminutes. 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'mlike, are you? Are you being serious? Right now? We havea whole list of things we want to talk about and actually we want totalk first, then do a little demo and talk at the end. Andall of a sudden you just saw the blood drained from his face, likewell, wait, a wet you mean we're not going to have the demoto rely on? Like I'm not going to have oh hey, let meshow you this cool thing about the product. No, no, know, it'snot about that. It's about them, what they need, what they thinkis 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 peopledo it, like somebody they may know or respect or understand or even competeagainst, and it's like, okay, here you today, you have threedispurged systems. Okay, you'd like to have them all work together. Sotoday, 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. Thisis how we transitioned them. This was the outcome that they got, andyou 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, evenif they have extra time, the room that you're in typically expires rate onthe top of the hour and they get the peep outside, knock, andand all of a sudden, not only do you have to leave, youhave to pack up and leave and you still you haven't closed the meeting fora next step, which is the most valuable action night in that can comeout of this, because if you don't have it. I wrote about thisin my book because I had this vp come with me and we be outin the parking lot. He was a fantastic rock star presenter, but healways went long and and he was like the Steve Jobs of the company andthen we'd be like literally being kicked out of the building. They're trying togo to launch. You know we've all gone over by a half an hourand 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 mehow great it went. But yeah, but, yeah, we don't havea next step. He goes send a proposal and I'm like yeah, towho? About? For what? There's so much more we need. Right. It's like the next hook. It's like, Oh, you having thatfirst great date. It's like all of a sudden you think you have arelationship and it's like maybe you do, maybe you don't, and it's likethat's that part and people just assume because it went so good and I've seenvery 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, noone teaches said yeah, and you see the reps get so excited. Iwatched, I have watched sales reps. they'll do their practice, they'll dotheir prep and they get in there and they start to see the reaction fromthe 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 cuesthat they're engaged and they're starting to get excited. And then the REP Blieis off of that and gets excited and forgets that what you have to doat the end is get that next step. So they walk out and they gothat was great, and then you wait about three and a half minutesand it duns on them. Crap, I don't have a next step.Right. Yeah, that was awesome. It might have been an a plusperformance, but from a sale standpoint you may be here at a solid seeif 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 andthat 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 acustomers 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. Youknow, it's natural to get caught up in that. It takes a proto actually remember you need to control that, throttle their emotions and make sure you'reensuring 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 hadwas 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 linkwhere the demos always go great but nobody ever buys the product. I gothat's a sales process mistake. Yeah, and the guy who ran sales usedto sell, you know, alarms door to door and in that case theyeither bought or they don't buy period. Right. You know, it's alot like when you're on that lot, you either buy that Camaro or thatZ or you don't write. You know, and that that next step. Andyou can't ask them what they want to do. Nett, you can, but they don't know right, because they'll say, Oh, send mea proposal, but you're not the person who signs the proposal, so what'sthe point in sending you a proposal? You take me to meet the personwho can signed for the proposal. Or let's get the full sale, completeit 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'tafford 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 thattechnical sale. Yeah, I work with a lot of sales reps where wherethey're extremely technical, they want to talk about the tech, they love thetech and they get out about the tech and then when you have to explainto them that, okay, well, the person that is ultimately going tosign the contract, no offense, probably doesn't care. They'd probably don't careabout the future set. What they care about is the person that they trusttelling them, yes, this product will do it, and that's where we'reat when we're doing the demo. So making sure you're constantly keeping that inmind becomes a critical step. Yeah, because when you do the on site, you know it that the pattern was always consistent. The manager would comein in the last five minutes and he would, he or she would lookat 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. Andplus 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 goodman, this has been great. Thank you. All Right, Ladies andgentlemen, 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 valuein this. I'm really enjoyed my time and the episodes we're doing with BrianBurns. It's great to talk to another professional and provide you guys, insightsand hopefully a little bit of humor along the way. I want to thankyou all for listening and if you could do me a favor and go toitunes drop us a review, that would be great. We really look atthose to see what kinds of content you're interested in, as well as pleasedo not hesitate to share this out with friends, Co workers, family,anyone you think we'll get some value out of it. Again, thanks forlistening and until next time, we have value prime solutions. Wish you allnothing but the greatest success. You've been listening to the B Tob Revenue ExecutiveExperience. To ensure that you never miss an episode, subscribe to the showin Itunes or your favorite podcast player. Thank you so much for listening.Until next time,.

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