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Give the Perfect Product Demo

Wondering how successful a product demo can be? Look no further than the responses from people who’ve experienced a powerful one.

“No matter how many times I see it, Nintex always blows me away,” tweeted consultant Sherman Woo after seeing a demo from Nintex Vice President of Workflow Mike “Fitz” Fitzmaurice.

At the Nintex Roadshow in New York City last year, 3-time Microsoft MVP Jason Himmelstein, our guest speaker, praised Fitz’s style – “demoing like a beast.”

Clearly, people recognize – and appreciate – an effective product demo. But why offer product demos at all and what makes demoing such an important skill to master?

Why is the Product Demo so Important?

According to the Houston Chronicle article “The Purpose & Benefits of a Product Demonstration,” a product demo is one of the best sales tools you can have if you sell a high-quality product.

Nintex Technical Evangelist Chris Ellis demos the Nintex platform frequently and he considers demos hugely important for companies that sell products. Often, a demo may be the only opportunity to convey the benefits of what you’re selling and close a deal with a prospective customer.

“You should always feel like the demo has helped progress you and your audience forward, leaving them better enabled, empowered and in the know,” Chris says.

The Houston Chronicle article pinpoints four chief reasons why the product demo is so critical, whether your product is technology, fashion, furnishings or something else:

  • Simulates interest

With products that are visual and more hands-on, prospective customers often want to see it in action before they commit to a purchase.

  • Conveys ownership

A product demo can give a prospective customer the best opportunity to experience what it would be like to own the product.

  • Provides proof

A prospective customer may have read marketing materials or watched videos about a product but a demo shows versus tells what a product can do.

  • Combats concerns

If someone is hesitating on a purchase because of questions or a need for more information, a demo can offer the perfect opportunity to address those.

Bottom line: Demos can turn prospects into customers. So it’s important to master them. What contributes to creating a memorable product demo?

Here are five tips from our Nintex experts for delivering great demos:

1.  Tell a Story

This is the most important thing to keep in mind, Fitz says. People think in terms of stories so tell them one. Show them what life is like without your product. Then, show them your product and the outcome that will result. And they’re the main character of the story.

The old commercials for the Veg-O-Matic food processing appliance – “It slices! It dices!” – illustrate how demos can tell a vivid story. Those late night commercials shared the product’s attributes in the form of a story by opening with the challenge of life before the Veg-O-Matic.

“Ideally, you’ll narrate the story to put the audience in there as a hero,” Fitz says. “It’s not: ‘This onion will take 15 minutes to slice without my Veg-O-Matic.’ It’s: ‘Are you tired of slicing an onion over 15 minutes, crying every second? What if you had a Veg-O-Matic? Suddenly, you drop the onion in here, you push a button and out pops onion slices.’ ”

2.  Remember the Purpose of a Demo

It can be tempting for beginner demo-ers to go into painstaking detail and attempt to teach their audience every nuance of what the product they’re demonstrating, Fitz says. But a product demo isn’t a class and teaching isn’t the purpose of one. You have your audience’s attention for a limited time so make the most of it.

“Demos are no better at teaching people how to use software than concerts are for teaching people how to sing,” Fitz says. “You aren’t teaching them to do something. You’re just proving something. A demo’s job is to impress somebody and convince them of something’s authenticity. I said you could do ‘X’ and then I showed you, ‘See…’ “

3.  Prepare, Prepare, Prepare

Thoroughly know your material and practice your demo by yourself or give your demo to employees who can offer suggestions. Technical Marketing Evangelist Dan Stoll recommends recording yourself when giving a demo and taking notes while watching it later to help you finesse your delivery.

Time yourself during practice demos and don’t forget to factor in time for audience questions. That all-important preparation extends to double- and triple-checking the laptop, overhead screens and any other technology you’ll use to demo your product.

“Make sure your tech works,” Chris says. “No one likes dead air, blank screens and error messages, particularly if it’s something seamless and easy to use like Nintex that we’re demoing.”

 4.  Tailor the Demo to Your Audience

Avoid generic demos whenever possible.

Learn about your audience’s specific challenges and processes, and adapt your demo accordingly so it speaks to them. Sometimes, all that takes is a 5- minute discovery session before the product demo.

“Know your audience and what they want to achieve,” Chris says. “If they have a specific business use case or issue to address, tailor the demo to talk to that.”

When demoing a product like Nintex Drawloop® Document Generation, that means showing an audience how to generate invoices if you know that manually creating invoices is a big struggle for your audience.

“Speak to the person you’re demo-ing for to hear their use case,” Dan says. “If someone said, ‘I want a car,’ you don’t want to give them a bike. You don’t say, ‘I can get you a bike. The car and a bike both have wheels.’ ”

Besides narrowing the focus of your product demo, thinking of your audience also means little but all-important details that make the demo smoother, Fitz says. Reduce the clutter on your desktop – maximize your windows, hide toolboxes and ribbons – so that the only thing on your screen is the one thing you want your audience to pay attention to.

Toggle between two different browsers if you need to rather than clicking all over the screen between multiple steps. Rest your mouse pointer beside what you want your audience to look at and leave it there rather than moving the pointer around in an imaginary circle. Both those tricks will minimize distractions for your audience.

5.  Adjust Your Approach if Needed

While preparation and practice sessions are key, don’t be so locked into your product demo that you can’t adapt as you go. With in-person demos, Dan makes certain to look at his audience throughout his presentation to see if she’s connecting with his audience. With remote demos, he checks in with people throughout the demo.

“I usually stop at certain parts and ask, ‘Does anyone have any questions before we go on? OK, we saw that document be created. Let’s look at the admin experience.’ “

Asking questions also serves to keep people engaged in your product demo, Chris says. And questions are usually a two-way street.

“Come expecting questions,” Chris says. “You will get them. Be the expert and convey confidence.”

Why Get a Product Demo from Nintex?

Partner Evoke Technologies advises getting a demo rather than just watching YouTube videos about Nintex products. The reason? Interactivity. “An interactive demo provides far more value than a YouTube video ever could.” Nintex Lead Technical Evangelist Vadim Tabakman echos that in his “Nintex – Why Get a Demo” blog post.


Contact us if you’d like a Nintex demo. One of our experts would be happy to give you one.

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