Many speakers follow up their presentation with a demonstration of their product. Whether it’s a software application, a piece of mechanical equipment, or a small appliance, the demo is the presenter’s chance to put their words into action, validating the claims they made during their slide deck.
The demo is your chance to put words into action.
Yet, most presenters are so focused on the quality of the presentation itself, they forget to fine-tune the demo. As a result, they build up audience expectations, then fall flat when it really counts.
Here are some great tips for giving an amazing product demonstration.
1. Differentiate Yourself
Chances are, the prospective customer already has evaluated similar products, or will be speaking to other competitors in the near future, before making a final decision. Since time will be limited, don’t waste it walking them through all the “me too” features. Instead, highlight the characteristics of your product that make it unique and/or superior.
2. Customize It
Every product has countless interesting features and functions, but you’ll only have time to demonstrate a fraction of them. So, it’s best to gather a little intelligence in advance. Find out what the customer is trying to achieve through the use of your product, and focus on those capabilities that will help them get there.
3. Make It Interactive
Keep your audience engaged at all times, especially if the product you are showing is complex in nature. Allow them to ask questions, or even select an audience member to participate “hands on”. This will not only prevent their attention from wandering, it will give you the opportunity to capture valuable information about what they want to see, so you can structure the demonstration accordingly.
4. Keep It Simple
Always remember that your audience doesn’t have the same level of technical or mechanical savvy that you do. To avoid confusion, whenever possible, steer clear of technical or engineering jargon, and present the features of your product in layman’s terms.
5. Be Flexible
Scripting and practicing your demo ahead of time is a wise idea. However, you need to leave some room for “on the fly” change, based on audience response. For example, a prospect may request to see a certain feature that you weren’t planning to show. Or, they may ask a question that requires you to go back and re-explain functions that were already covered. While preparedness is important, you also need to be able to “go with the flow”, so the audience is satisfied.
6. You Need a Plan B
You’ve finished delivering your slides, and you’re getting ready to show your product. But, you discover that it’s broken. Now what? Make sure you always have a backup plan in case of such emergencies. For example, if its equipment you’re demonstrating, bring a second piece, just in case. Or, keep a brief tutorial video on hand, so you can convey how certain features work. If you’re showing software, be sure the room has a Web connection. If your laptop fails, you can simply access the application via the Internet.
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