6 Ways to Improve Your Demo Close Rate

Aja Frost
Aja Frost





Are you having trouble converting prospects from the demonstration stage into paying customers?

If only giving a successful demo was as simple as explaining what your product is and what it does.

Unfortunately, this approach will cause most prospects to nod off in the first few minutes.

To make buyers sit up, pay attention, and ultimately decide to buy your product, there are crucial elements of the demo you need to get right. Read on to learn six strategies for improving your demo close rate.

1) Customize, Customize, Customize

Good reps never give the same demo twice. After all, every prospect has different challenges, priorities, and needs, so they’ll be interested in a unique combination of product features and use cases.

Robert Falcone, VP of sales at Zoomer and author of Just F*ing Demo!, recommends using the “You-They-You” framework.

You need to show your prospects only the specific features that they need to achieve what they want, so that you can get the result you're aiming for,” he explains. “The success of a demo depends on your prospect’s understanding the value you could add.”

Showing your audience exactly how your product will align with their strategy, solve their pain, and fit into their day-to-day is far more engaging and persuasive than giving them a laundry list of features.

2) Do a Dry Run

What do all best-in-class performers have in common? They practice. Salespeople who go into demos completely cold usually set themselves up for failure because successful demos require the rep to have many moving parts under control simultaneously.

“In a demo, you must simultaneously focus on the customer, the effect the demonstration is having on the customer, and the mechanics of the demonstration,” Sales Source creator Geoffrey James points out.

Rehearsing the flow of your presentation in advance gives you the opportunity to discover any potential issues and get comfortable with your messaging and the sequence. And if you notice warning signs clues that your agenda isn’t addressing your prospect’s interests, you’ll have an easier time adapting because you’ll have reviewed their priorities before the meeting

3) Borrow Your Prospect’s Language

Before you head into the demo, read through their website, your previous communication, their blog posts, and your call notes. Pay attention to any industry-specific language you can incorporate into your presentation.

It’s a small touch, but hearing you use their jargon makes buyers feel more at ease. It also shows you’re familiar with their business.

4) Build Rapport

Engaging in some lighter conversation before you talk shop is an important part of every demo. At this point, you’ve hopefully established some rapport with your prospect -- so take this chance to build on the connection. This step will help put them at ease, increasing the likelihood they’ll ask questions or speak up if they’re confused.

Here are some rapport-building ideas:

  • If you’ve already established common ground, build on it.
  • Comment on a piece of content they shared.
  • Ask a general question, such as, “Since you’re interested in [topic]; I was wondering if you’d read [book on topic]?”

Once you’ve spent a few minutes oiling the conversational gears, transition into the actual meeting.

5) Recap the Prospect’s Top Issues

To show your prospect you’re focused on what matters to them, kick things off by recapping their current situation and main priorities.

Niti Shah, senior marketing manager for HubSpot Asia, suggests creating a slide for their goals, plans, challenges, and timeline (GPCT).

Here’s an example of what you might say when presenting that slide:

In the next year, you want to increase total application rates by 10% and West Coast rates by 5%. To get there, you plan on running recruiting campaigns on social media and working closely with schools in California, Washington, and Oregon. But you think budget might be an issue. Because the application season starts in September, you need to finalize your plans by February. Did I get all that right? Is there anything you’d like to add?”

6) Pause for Their Questions

You want buyers to feel comfortable voicing their questions as soon as they think of them -- after all, it’s nearly impossible to maintain full attention when you’ve got a doubt or concern weighing on your mind.

With that in mind, don’t wait until the end of the demo to answer your prospect’s questions. Every time you transition topics or explain a complex idea, pause and say, “Is there anything you have questions about?”

Bill Cates, founder of Referral Coach International, also recommends the following soundbite: “Hey, I know this stuff can be confusing. Let me just ask, am I explaining this clearly?”

By putting the onus on yourself to make matters clear, you’ll create a safe environment for prospects to ask anything without feeling unintelligent.

For more closing tips, check out VP of Sales at LogMeIn Michelle Benfer’s session at Inbound Sales Day.

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