Tag Archives: Demonstrations

Imagine yourself in a Cordoba

Our peer-approved standard is the day-in-the-life demonstration.  Agreed?

Our energy and creativity are poured into the perfect and entertaining demo mold of how our customer could use our system throughout their day.  The premise is they’ll see themselves clicking, typing, dragging-and-dropping merrily away in our system.  Because they’ll see how their life will be better, their business processes improved, simpler, faster, and automated through the use of our solutions, there’s no doubt they’ll go with us.

If we’re all saying “Imagine yourself in a Cordoba, surrounded in rich Corinthian leather,” then as competitors we’re all just trying to win the test-drive.  Heck, if they’re walking on the lot, chances are they’re going to drive home in something new today.

We’ve got to do something different.

Who’s the silent party in every day-in-the-life demonstration?  Their customer.  Who is on the other side of the order, return, marketing campaign?  Why, it’s our customer’s customer.

By thinking about that person’s day-in-the-life, how they interact with your customer, and what could make a better solution (the buzzword today is customer experience) for them, you’ll come up with insights for your solution and demonstration that are unique and visionary.   This approach will transform you from an entertaining  demonstrator of requirements into a trusted advisor.

Added bonus: This kind of solution creation gets visionaries excited.  Visionaries are usually in lead decision-making roles.  When they get excited, your sales execs will take notice and begin steering the conversation towards commitment and closure.

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A Spoonful of Sugar Helps the Medicine Go Down

Change is difficult.  It’s hard to learn something new.

Yet there we are, standing in front of an audience, demonstrating with great zeal and gusto all sorts of new things and better ways and innovative solutions.

Get ready.  Your audience is about to unleash a barrage of pointed, impatient questions.

It’s not that they don’t like what you’re showing.  They simply don’t understand what you’re showing.  They understand their world and what they do in a specific, familiar way.  What you’re sharing is different, a something-new your product and technology make possible.   Because it is new and unfamiliar, they don’t understand it.  Yhey are trying to make sense of your something-new through their questions.

So help them.  Give them an analogy that explains your product, your positioning, your solution in a way everyone can understand.  Let the analogy apply a concept they do understand to their current challenges, helping form your unique solution.

I provided a day long session where I used the theme of a master-planned housing community with all sorts of related analogies: pick from one of four basic home designs, choose your own fittings and fixtures, landscaping is later, be the first ones on the block, etc.  It was a huge pantry stocked with analogies*.  In a follow up call months later, the customer didn’t remember our product’s features and functions, but she excitedly recalled “the house! The house!”

Mary Poppins was a great Pre-Sales Engineer:

In ev’ry job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job’s a game

And ev’ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It’s very clear to see that

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

*See how I did that?

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I punched the hotel into TomTom and pointed the nose of my aging Audi towards the end of the driveway and towards, in fact, just the beginning of our shared 365-mile journey.  Jane, the voice of TomTom, prepared and thought and planned and warned me as best she could, usually a half-mile in advance, of intersections and of their imminence given my current pace, and she advised me and suggested when to turn right and when to turn left and of when the highway would split ahead and even of which lanes it would be best for me to stay in.  Together, Miss Jane and I made our way south from my home in Maine, the remoteness of which many consider to represent, and speak volumes about, me (and I cannot disagree with them). Heading downwest, we crossed the Piscataqua River Bridge and in turn traversed the No-Man’s-Land of Interstate 95 in New Hampshire that is evermore, for me, in addition to a convenient pair of state-subsidized liquor stores, a protective barrier from civilization (as its inhabitants refer to it) and a place to visit and a place to return from as best I might and as soon as I may.  West, south, into the dark we went, over turnpike and Berkshire, through hamlet and along parkway, and even across major bays on tolled bridges to reach eventually our hotel.*

I had a customer to see the next day. Continue reading

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