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How not to conduct a presentation

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Conducting product demonstrations (whether in-person or virtually) is a common sales strategy, but not everyone does it right. Recently, a colleague shared this real-life example of what not to do:

An inside sales rep (my colleague’s wife) was teamed up with an account executive to conduct an online demonstration for a new prospect. The account executive took the lead and the sales rep was supposed to actually demonstrate the product. Forty-five minutes after the presentation began, the sales rep was still waiting for her opportunity to explain the product, but the account executive would not stop talking about their company.

To add insult to injury, the demo had been scheduled for 4:00 p.m. on a Friday afternoon. At five o’clock, the prospect interrupted the sales rep and said, “I have a six o’clock appointment and have to go. Send me information.” The demo was done.

Attempts to schedule a second appointment to actually demonstrate the product failed, and the account executive eventually gave up on the prospect.

But here’s the kicker: The sales rep said that the executive was completely oblivious to the fact that he was the cause of the problem. He blamed the prospect, called him a time-waster and complained about being cut off. He had absolutely no idea what had actually happened.

Don’t let this happen to you. Delivering an effective sales demonstration does not mean talking incessantly about your product or your company. Your prospects are far too busy for this approach. Skip the background about your company, your clients, how long you have been in business and anything else that is seller-centric.

Instead, focus on demonstrating exactly how your product, service or solution will help your prospect solve a business problem. Keep it brief and to the point, and you’ll close a lot more business.

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