Demonstrations skills training: this is Part 2 of a two-part segment on demonstration skills training.
Demonstration skills training: why, when, how
To read Part 1 of this Demonstration skills training module, see above on this blog.
4: Conduct the body of the demonstration.
The objectives you negotiated earlier with the prospect (as part of the “Gentleperson’s Agreement”) will normally serve as topic headings in structuring your coverage. Resist the temptation to take the prospect on a guided tour of every aspect and capability of your product.
Instead, organize your coverage so that you show how each of the agreed-upon objectives can be accomplished.
As you finish your coverage of each objective, pause and ask the Decision Maker and others on the team to confirm that they understand the points you have made. Make sure they understand how this aspect of your product fills the specified need.
If their understanding does not seem to be clear, or if they hesitate or disagree, pause to find their root concerns and deal with them before moving on to the next objective.
Be direct in comparing your proposed method and their present system (if one is in place):
“Presently, getting the monthly ABC report out takes, by your estimate, an average of 170 working hours, and effectively stops all other work being done in the section for the final week of each month. When you install the GEM 4000, the same report will be produced with 25 clerical hours, plus 10 hours of management time — a tremendous saving in time.”
When you have the agreement of the decision maker and her team that you have proven your product’s ability to meet each objective, check it off on your visual aid (to make a clear signal that you have meet that standard), then move on to focus on the next objective.
Tip: Treat your product with extreme respect. Handle it with the loving care that you would a priceless family heirloom. Treat your samples with equal reverence: if the samples are paper, handle the sheets as if they were fragile medieval parchments of incomparable value.
5: Deal with questions, comments, and objections.
In dealing with objections and questions, use the approach we have covered earlier. The core is always PROBE, RESTATE, RESPOND POSITIVELY. Then MOVE ON without getting bogged down.
(Please note: some of the hyperlinks in this and the other pages on this blog have not yet been activated. However, in most cases you can find the linked page by searching on this home page.)
Very likely, some of the people who have worked with you (Decision Influencers) will make favorable comments. Don’t let those positive comments slip away into the air. Pick up on them, support them, amplify them as appropriate, as in this model following. For example, a department head may say,
“This is what we’ve needed for a long time, to deal with that backlog in (whatever it is).”
Pick up and support that comment, with something like, “Absolutely right, Mr. Jones. “You and I talked about that need when we met. You pointed out how (you fill in.)”
6. “Close” for the sale or next appropriate action.
“Closing” here is asking the Decision Mkaer to take the action agreed upon in your pre-commitment “Gentleperson’s Agreement.”
Normally the agreement will be to buy your product.
However, in some cases, the action may be an agreement to proceed to another step, such as to cooperate with you in working up a formal cost proposal for a multi-unit order.
To lead up to this request for action, briefly review the objectives agreed-upon earlier. Pause at each objective to gain the prospect’s agreement that your demo satisfied it:
“As I showed you a few minutes ago, the GEM 4000 will meet this first objection by _____ . Are we in accord that it did accomplish that objective?”
When the Decision Maker nods agreement that each has been accomplished, put another check mark (for completion) beside that item on the flip-chart.
In the same summary manner, work quickly through all of the specified objectives, showing how your product can meet them.
Once you have done that, showing their agreement that your product has demonstrated the required capabilities, then it is only logical that the Decision Maker will be ready to sign the order.
That means you you can proceed on the assumption that the sale has been made, so all that remains is to wrap up the details. (Assuming the sale is acting on the premise that since buying makes such perfect sense the Decision Maker will naturally agree.)
One of the best ways of projecting your assumptive confidence that the Decision Maker will naturally buy is to transition to your suggested Action Plan or Implementation Plan. (Set this up perhaps on a wall chart or overhead transparency, as appropriate to the setting.)
For additional ideas on closing for the sale, see Chapter 19: More Ways of Asking for the Order.
But suppose you find that the Decision Maker is reluctant to sign the order, even though she agrees that you proved that each of the objectives settled upon in the earlier “Gentleperson’s Agreement” have been accomplished?
By her reluctance to sign, the Decision Maker is now, by implication, saying that you have not yet proven — to her complete satisfaction — that you can accomplish one or more of the specified objectives.
Deal with that reluctance as an objection. PROBE, RESTATE, RESPOND POSITIVELY, then MOVE ON. Probe to find on precisely what point the Decision Maker is hung up, and focus on it. Do not let other issues intrude now.
Your demonstration skills are not intended to show everything your product or service can do, but rather to prove to the customer that what you are selling can meet the needs that are of special importance to this customer.
Demonstrations are to demonstrate — that is, to show. Don’t let your words get in the way. Let the product (or sample) do most of the talking.
To summarize, there are six key phases — or “gates” — that you need pass through in a demo or formal presentation:
1: Set the context with an Opening Benefits Statement.
2: State and confirm the objectives agreed upon earlier. Check for completeness. If appropriate, add others the DM suggests.
3: Confirm the DM’s Pre-Commitment you obtained earlier.
4: Conduct the body of the demonstration.
5: Deal with questions, comments and objections. But don’t get bogged down. PROBE, RESTATE, RESPOND POSITIVELY — then MOVE ON.
6: “Close” for the sale or next appropriate action.