It's easy to get a demo on the books. But that doesn't put money in the bank. 

Product demos are the de facto selling tool used by modern companies to exhibit their products and acquire new customers. There is a ton of material available about how to schedule more product demos through inbound marketing and other methods.

But here's the thing: Scheduling product demos isn't putting money in the bank.

If anything, scheduling product demos that don't end up converting into sales is actually costing you money and time. So rather than focus on how to schedule more product demos, this post is going to focus on the much more important task of closing the demos you have scheduled. 

Make sure you are speaking with the decision maker.

This should be such an obvious element of increasing the close ratio of your product demos, but so many sales reps fail to perform this critical step. Instead, they become so excited that they have a demo on the books that they forget to ask if they are even speaking with a qualified buyer.

This excitement comes from the misguided belief that scheduling demos is automatically going to produce sales. The truth is, you could give 1,000,000 product demos this year -- but if you're pitching to interns -- you will produce exactly ZERO sales.

So the next thing to do is re-balance your priorities. It is better to have fewer demos scheduled than to have a lot of demos scheduled with unqualified buyers. Show respect for your time: if you can't verify that the buyer is qualified, don't do the demo.

Here's an easy question to ask the prospect prior to scheduling the demo: "Who are the people that will be involved in this decision?" Make sure that you invite all of those people to the demo.

Remember: The demo is about the prospect, not you.

Once you have qualified the buyer, remember that your role in the product demo is to answer questions for your prospect. Which questions? Only the ones that your prospect cares about.

A lot of sales reps get so caught up on the sequence of their product demo, which they have practiced and rehearsed a million times over, that they can't adapt when a prospect asks them a question out of order. The ineffective sales rep tries to skip over the question or tell the prospect that he will get to that question in a few slides, because they are too stiff to deviate from the comfort of their rehearsed demo.

This is wrong. You need to practice adaptability. Otherwise, what service are you providing to the prospect? You should consider yourself to be a provider of on-demand information that is concise and directed only at the expressed needs of your prospect.

Your product may offer a million features, but your prospect is only going to buy it for the two or three features that they really need right now. They don't care about the rest. So, let the prospect tell you which features they care about, and then focus on answering those questions! Don't force them to endure 20 slides from your pitchdeck that have nothing to do with anything they are interested in.

It's not about features, it's about how the features solve problems. 

Another way to phrase this (courtesy of Steli Efti) is: "The product demo is not a product training. " Your goal is not to educate your prospect on every single setting that they can adjust in the admin panel. Instead, you want to figure out the needs of your prospect so that you can highlight relevant features and position them as solutions.

The best way to figure out if you are focusing too much on "training" rather than "positioning" is to review your pitchdeck and take an inventory on the ratio of Technical vs Qualitative language. When you focus too much on the technical specs of your product, you are encouraging your prospect to tune you out and check their email until you finish talking.

Why? Because you are already talking about little details before you even addressed whether your product can solve their needs or not!

Instead, the first several minutes of your demo should be you asking questions about the prospect and their company. A great way to start this conversation is, "Prospect, I have your website open here. It looks like you provide <service> to <their target customers>. Tell me a little more about your <goals/struggles> that inspired you to request a demo today."

The answer to this question will tell you exactly what you need to focus on to sell the prospect. Write it down. For the rest of the demo, you should position your product to fit those needs.

When you describe a feature, tie it back into the goal or struggle that the prospect mentioned at the beginning of the call. "This is how this feature helps you <achieve goal / eliminate struggle>." And when you come across a feature that is irrelevant to those needs, skip it!

Keep it short and to the point.

Finally, keep it short. Dragging on a demo is going to make your prospect feel bored and unenthusiastic about your product. Especially if a big chunk of that time was wasted talking about features that didn't matter to them.

Remember, even in the world of technical and complex B2B products-- buying is still a largely emotional decision. You want your prospect to leave the demo with two things. #1) How your product does what they want it to do #) Energized by the interaction.

When your prospect reflects upon the demo over the next couple of days, you don't want them to remember how long the demo was or how bored they were during it! So keep your energy up and the duration down. 

If you follow the steps in this post, you will likely see a reduction in the total number of demos that you have scheduled. But you will see an INCREASE in the number of QUALIFIED product demos on your calendar. That's okay, because product demos don't put money in the bank-- only closed deals produce revenue.

Also, remember to tailor your demo to the prospect. Don't be afraid to wander off topic if it means you are answering a complex question, and always focus on the solution rather than the technical specs. 

Finally, keep it short and simple! Generate energy and interest while positioning your product as a central part of the prospect's goals.