The Best Sales Pitch is a Great Story. Use These Best Practices for Memorable Product Demos.
A great sales pitch is simply a well-told story. Your product demo should feel like a movie—emotional and compelling. To prepare, follow these best practices.
Every salesperson knows how important it is to spend time with their customers and prospects. But did you know that the average salesperson only spends about 33% of their time talking with their customers and
prospects? How you use that time determines whether you’ll beat your quota or your quota beats you!
I’m going to show you how to deliver the perfect pitch to maximize your time in front of your customers and ultimately to close more deals.
Here’s what we’re going to cover:
- Getting yourself in the right headspace
- Setting the tone for the demo
- Giving the demo
- Delivering the close
Part 1: How to Get in the Right Headspace
The first thing that we’re going to cover is getting yourself in the right headspace to give a really great demo.
The right mindset for selling is that you’re not selling. You’re communicating the value of your product to your buyer. you should really believe it’s going to help them and make their lives better.
If you approach your demo from that headspace, it’ll go a lot better and come across much more authentically.
Imagine yourself going on the best vacation in the world – maybe it was a trip to Hawaii – and you want to tell your friend from work about it. You want to communicate to them how awesome this trip was because you care about them and you want them to have a similar experience. Imagine how you would talk about that vacation. The tone of your voice when you’re telling a story like that. A story you really believe in is so authentic and it makes you communicate in a different way.
When you’re selling your product or service it’s similar. You know how valuable it is and you’ve seen a hundred other customers that you sold it to benefit and get the value from the product or service that you sell. That’s the kind of the position that you’re coming from.
Part 2: How to Set the Tone
I. Be Confident
Now we’re going to do part two: setting the tone for the demo. Be confident! It’s okay to be nervous. I forget who said this, but there’s a great saying: “Be brave, even if you’re not, just pretend to be because no one can tell the difference anyway.” Communicating with confidence starts from the very moment you start talking with someone. Imagine that you meet me and I introduce myself in a shy and hasty way. It could almost sound like there’s a question mark at the end of my sentence, like I’m asking permission to introduce myself.
Instead I should introduce myself with a downward inflection in my tone and use pauses to communicate confidence. Reassure your audience that you’re an expert. You know what you’re talking about. You’re confident and they can be reassured that they’re in good hands.
II. Find Out Their Pain
The next thing we’re going to talk about is the pre-presentation, which is your chance to listen! Before you start presenting the product, there’s an opportunity in the conversation with your prospect to figure out why they are talking to you.
The absolute most important thing that you do during this part of your sales call is find out what is the pain that they’re hoping to solve by talking to you. Once you learn what is most important to them and what their pain is, then you can tailor your whole demo and map it to what they are actually looking for. You can also learn what the dinosaur feature is. More on what the dinosaur feature is in a second.
III. Make it a Conversation
When you’re in a sales call, make it a conversation. Have a conversation with your customer! Remember: you have two ears and one mouth, so use them in proportion. People don’t buy features. They buy solutions, trust, and relationships.
IV. Connect Features, Benefits and Business Value
The next thing I want to talk about is how to connect the dots between your features, the benefits of those features and the business value that your prospect or customer gets out of the thing that you’re talking about. A lot of reps are really good at talking about their features and that’s where they get stuck.
The step after that is to get them to understand the following: “Our product does [blank] (that’s the feature), which allows you to do [blank] (that’s the benefit) and that means [blank] in terms of real business value.” Getting them to see and believe that value chain and connect those dots is really what you are doing in a sale.
If they believe they’re going to get this business value and it is worth this much to them, and that is worth way more than what the thing costs, then this is a no-brainer decision for them and you will get action out of them.
You have to help them see through that whole connection. I can give you an example of how I would do this. As many of you know, my day job is that I am the CEO of Badger Maps. We make an app for field salespeople.
Our product optimizes a field sales person’s route when they are in the field and helps them build a schedule. So the feature I would highlight is: “Badger Maps has the ability to optimize your route and help you build a schedule for your day.” The benefit is that they save time in the planning and when they’re driving a better route they end up driving fewer miles and seeing more customers.
So, what is the business value of that? I would ask the prospect: “What is your sales reps time really worth and how much more would your sales reps sell with two more meetings every single day?” If that business value is worth a lot more than the product that you’re selling, then half of your sales job is done.
Let’s walk through a hypothetical situation to show you how to get your customer to nod their head and say: “Yes, I agree. This is the business value and I see this ROI and it’s greater than the cost and so obviously I should do that.”
Sales Rep: So, Mr. Customer, currently your company is losing out on sales opportunities because reps aren’t able to spend their time as effectively as they could when they’re out in the field. Reps end up zigzagging around town. It sounds like you’re losing out on a lot of potential deals.
Prospect: Well, that’s right. That’s why we’re looking at your system right now.
Sales Rep: Okay. Well, if you could make a guess: How many meetings per rep per week could you get if you’re rep were able to spend their time more effectively? I’m sure that many meetings a month would drive in your business.
Prospect: Well. you know… I haven’t really done the math on this, but I’d say well let me think… About $5000, per rep per month.
Sales Rep: Wow! $5000, per rep and you got 25 reps, that’s 1.5 million dollars in lost deals every year. Well, I’ll show you how we can be doing this with Badger so that your your reps will be able to get those extra two meetings a day and make those extra sales.
So you see what we just did there? By asking questions and getting the actual numbers out of the prospect, we’ve been able to show with their own numbers that they will be making 1.5 million dollars more a year if they were to use our solution. That’s how you can move a deal way down the line in terms of making a sale.
Part 3: How to Give the Demo
I. The Dinosaur Feature
So what is the dinosaur feature? Think about the movie Jurassic Park. Did you show up on the boat and they put you in this little Jeep and did they take you right to the lab or you got to see some egg?
No! You got onto your Jeep and they drove you over to see a dinosaur! That is the first thing they do to you. Why do they do that? Because that is what is the best part! They wowed you, they blew your mind and now, when they show you the egg, that is really interesting because you just saw a dinosaur!
And you’re like a twelve-year old. Granted, the dinosaurs eat you late, but that’s beside the point… We’re not talking about that movie right now, we’re talking about how to do a demo..
So, what is your dinosaur feature? Here’s the trick: It’s not the same thing every time! In the pre-call, when you’re talking with them, you’re feeling out what’s most important.
You have to figure out what their pain really is and which one of your features is really going to map to that. A sales demo is not a book or a movie. So, you can give away the ending (the best part) right in the beginning. Right off the bat. Show them the dinosaur!
II. Don’t Present, Sell
Now I’m going to say something a little crazy. I would like you to think about not presenting the product when you’re giving a presentation. During a sales call you should only be presenting the product about 25% of the time. The rest of the time should be spent selling. And when I say selling, I mean showing them how they can achieve those results.
Get them to describe a specific problem they would like to solve. How do you do that? Well, you say: ”To step back for a second, Mr. Customer, why did you agree to this meeting? What is the problem that you would like to fix here?” Get them to actually express to you what the pain is they are trying to solve.
Verify with them that you understand them and map your product to those business goals. That is what I mean by selling.
III. Don’t Make Assumptions
That brings me to the next point: Don’t make assumptions! If you are not sure you understand a question they had, clarify. You don’t want to make an assumption and go in the wrong direction or lie.
If you don’t totally understand, you can say: “So what you’re saying is…” and you can repeat what they just said. If they answer: “No, what I mean is this.” You just uncovered something. So don’t make assumptions.
IV. Don’t be too instructive
Another point on that thought is that a presentation is not a training session. A rookie salesperson might spend too much time in the weeds of how exactly their product works, what the features are, how to use those features, etc. They don’t spend enough time on the value that these features are creating for the prospect.
After they purchase and become a customer, there’s plenty of time to teach them how to use the product. Now is not that time. Now is the time to get them to buy it in the first place!
V. Use your sales deck the right way
The final thing I want to talk about is how to have your sales deck at your fingertips and use it in a conversational way. A lot of salespeople go through their whole deck slide by slide and it’s just them speaking for minutes. This tends to kill the conversation.
So what I encourage people to do is this: have your sales deck, but don’t just go through it. Make it a conversation! You know what’s in there and so you can get them talking about things. You can jump around slides, you can refer to it, you can use it as a communication tool, but you’re not stuck just going through it slide by slide.
You can always flash through the whole deck towards the end of the conversation. You can say: “Let’s check the deck really quick, just to make sure that I got everything” and you start flashing through it. The whole conversation can be much more organic and it feels customized. It feels like you’re being consultative. That’s how you can use your sales deck in a way that is much more effective.
A great thing to ask is: “Mr. Customer, on a scale of 1 to 10, how much of what you wanted to cover have we covered?” By asking that question, you elicit if there were more things that they wanted out of you. That’s a really great little line to just slide in there 75% of the way or so through the call. You still have enough time to cover an additional thing that they wanted to cover.
Part 4: How to Close the Demo
I. Anticipate Objections
This brings us to part four: the close, the finale of your performance.
The first thing that I want to talk about with respect to closing is anticipating objections. This is something you do throughout the entire sales process. If you’ve done it right, by anticipating and handling objections as they came up, then the close becomes a lot easier.
You don’t wait for them—the prospect—to raise an objection; you bring up the objection proactively. In this way, you remain in control of it, how it’s positioned and how it’s dealt with.
If you don’t do this and you have to deal with an objection that they raise, then you’ll oftentimes end up sounding defensive.
If it’s an objection you know is going to get brought up, you should bring it up first. This also makes them feel like you’re really in tune with what they’re thinking.
Example of anticipating an objection:
You can say: Mr. Prospect, you’ll notice that our prices are higher than some of our competitors, and that’s really because of its quality and its effectiveness. Let me show you how it’s higher quality and more effective than other solutions.
You see what happened here? We brought up that the price was higher, and showed them why. They had that question in their mind anyway, and you just checked it off.
II. Don’t Be Afraid to Say No
Don’t be afraid of saying no if a prospect or customer asks you to do something that your product or your service just really doesn’t do, or doesn’t do that well. You shouldn’t be afraid to say no. It builds credibility with the prospect.
They’ll say: “Oh, does it do this?” And you say: “No, but we hear that a lot from our current customers. Unfortunately that’s an area where we have some work to do and I can find out where that is on the roadmap and then I can get back to you in some amount of time.”
That way you’ve built credibility. That’s the kind of person that people want to do business with.
III. Create Urgency
The next thing about closing is how to create urgency. To do this, you need to show why not taking action is going to be super detrimental to the prospect.
In the case of Badger Maps, for example, we know that people have been doing field sales for thousands of years. People in field sales have never had a mapping and routing solution on their phone because that wasn’t a thing. Granted, this is a really cool thing that they could have now, but they could also just do nothing and keep doing things the same way they’re doing them now.
That might be the case with your product as well. So how do you get them to actually do something?
You have to bring your customers’ pain points to their attention. A great trick for doing this is to show them another customer who had a similar problem. Then you can show them how your product solved that problem.
Case studies and testimonials are really useful. if they think “I’m like this person,” then they can envision themselves using your product and getting those same benefits.
IV. Establish the Next Steps
A key part of closing is to finish by agreeing on what the next steps are. You need to have a plan and understand where this prospect is in the sales cycle and what you need to do to push them to the next stage.
You have to leave five minutes at the end of the meeting to really cover what you’re going to do next.
Letting them think about it and get back to you later is not a next step. You need something concrete.
In my world, it would sound like this: “So Mr. Customer, in terms of next steps, I may get approval for a three-week trial for your 10-person team and you are going to send me over the territory data. When do you think that you’re going to have access to that information?”
If you follow these tips when giving your sales pitch, you will soon notice how your performance increases significantly. Keep an eye on our blog for the next installment of Training Tuesdays on how to follow up with your prospects after a sales presentation.
Steven Benson is the Founder and CEO of Badger Maps, the #1 route planner for field salespeople. Badger visualizes sales data, optimizes daily routes, and generates meeting reports – helping users drive 20% less and sell 25% more on average. He is a former regional sales manager at Google.
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