My Top 3 Tips for Giving Demos to Customers
Written By: Matt Louis
I have been working at srcLogic since August 2019 and have gained plenty of experience demonstrating new functionality to customers. Demos are extremely important when it comes to technical consulting. While developing the correct solution is important, it is just as important to be able to clearly communicate that solution to customers, and ensure they understand the benefit of what you have worked on. srcLogic’s New Hire Training program did an excellent job preparing me for presenting to customers as well. Here are my top 3 tips for giving a great demo that could be helpful for both novice and experienced consultants.
1. Preparation is Key
Preparing for a demo the right way will make giving the demo significantly easier. The first step I recommend is to write some sort of script. This can consist of listing the major features you want to discuss during the demo, as well as what you will be presenting on your screen during those moments. A script helps organize thoughts so the demo can flow as smoothly as possible. The next step after the script has been created is to do practice run throughs. This consists of doing the same clicks in the same environment you will be doing the demo in and practicing what you will say. Doing a few run-throughs will help build confidence and ensure that there are no issues that will arise during the demo. Lastly, depending on the type of demo you are going to give, it can help to give a practice run to an internal audience before doing the real thing. This way you can get feedback from your team and correct issues before having to do the actual run-through.
2. Feature -> Benefit
This tip is arguably the most important piece of advice I can provide. When presenting features to customers, you should always follow up with why that feature benefits the customer. This can include relevant business context, improvements from the legacy system, etc. I have seen many demos where the presenter is simply explaining what they did and describing what is on the screen. While that is important, explaining the benefit is where the customers will truly see the value of your work.
For example, don’t just say “I added a dropdown feature so users can choose the breed of dog they want.” While that is a good start, this can be elaborated on by saying “We understand there have been issues in the past with users manually inputting dog breeds. This has led to typos, poor data integrity, and reporting concerns. Now that this field has become a dropdown, users will be forced to choose a valid option and you will not have to deal with the headache of typos anymore.” Explaining the benefit shows that you understand the problem and implemented the right solution to make customers’ lives better.
3. Stick to what you Know
Speaking confidently to content you fully have a grasp of is the best way to give a demo. However, sometimes customers will ask you a question you may not know the answer to. In this case it is perfectly acceptable to say, “That is a great question, let me circle back with the team to ensure we provide the right answer.” This is the best way to approach this situation, rather than attempting to speak about something you do not fully understand. This also gives you the chance to prepare a well-thought-out answer, that would be better than a response provided on the spot.
Another common scenario is when the customer asks the presenter to click on something on the screen they had not planned to demo. This is a common pitfall I have seen presenters fall into. I have seen presenters show errors on the screen and fumble with their words when presenting something they had not prepared for. This diminishes the quality of the overall demo and can be easily avoided. The best way to avoid this is by saying something like “That feature is outside the scope of the current demo, but I’d be happy to schedule another demo to discuss that further.” This response shows you listen to and care about the customers' concerns and want to ensure that you give that feature the time it deserves.
Preparation, emphasizing the benefit of features, and speaking to content you know will make for a great demo to a customer. srcLogic does an excellent job preparing and empowering new hires to be able to effectively communicate with customers. These tips can be helpful whether you are just starting as a new hire, or are more experienced.