Ten Tips For New Product Demos

Here are ten tips for managing new product demos to prospects. While it’s always a good idea to preview inside the team and perhaps call in some favors for “friendly fire” review, at some point you have to bite the bullet and start giving new product demos to prospects. Here are my top ten tips (or lessons learned) for a new product demo:

  1. I use GoToMtg to walk through 3-5 screen of a new site or SaaS Apps with one to three customers at a time. GoToMtg can screen share and record the session. There are many other alternatives to GotoMtg  that are also viable.
  2. In a one on one demo or where a handful of  folks are all from the same company consider giving control of the mouse to the prospect. You will learn a lot from how they interact with your product.
  3. There are always obvious problems that get overlooked until the first half-dozen real customers look at it: corollary, the fastest way to find a typo is to print a few hundred copies for a trade show, one of the first five visitors to your booth will spot it immediately.
  4. Things you think are obvious turn out to be undiscoverable by many users.
  5. New visual metaphors and interaction models are never as well accepted–no matter how powerful you think they are–as using existing representations customers are comfortable with. You need to offer them side by side or in parallel. A spreadsheet, bar chart, or trend line lets them understand a directed graph, treemap, or other complex visualization.
  6. People are much more accepting of a small but immediate–one that takes little effort–benefit than a large benefit that takes a lot of work. More than about three mouse clicks without a payoff is effectively forever (or never). Present a small benefit as quickly a possible (or a larger benefit with only a few clicks) and put it up front, don’t build for 15 minutes to a large payoff.
  7. Have a PowerPoint slide version available of key screens, use the markup tools embedded in PowerPoint slideshow mode to let the customer markup the screen for what they would like to see (make sure you save the markup in a copy of the deck). Often you can do a walk through just in PowerPoint (with image stretched to screen edge so that it looks like a real application).
  8. Keep a Text File / Word Doc open and take notes in front of them to stress that you are listening to what they are saying. If you just rely on the recording to capture their words it can seem like less of a conversation. You can also use a GoogleDoc or PrimaryPad for shared note taking if it’s more of a problem discovery conversation than a pure review of a new app.
  9. Have them show you what they are doing now to solve the problem with an existing app if it’s more of a problem discovery or initial conversation. Or they really don’t like what you are showing. Paradoxically if they hate it you often get better specific feedback than from a lukewarm “that’s nice” or ‘this looks interesting” reaction.
  10. Have a second person on the call/screenshare you can trade off with to probe for specific issues and to give you time to think to ask good follow ups. The “listener” can also be taking notes in real time. You can miss things in the first run through you catch on the tape but the act of taking notes in real time forces you to focus on what’s important in  way that listening to a recording does not seem to.

 Great Demo! Public Workshop October 15-16, 2014

October 15&16, 2014 “Great Demo!” San Jose, CA Register Now

Our next public Great Demo! Workshop is scheduled to take place October 15-16 in San Jose, California.

This is an excellent opportunity for individuals, small groups or for teams that have new hires.

We’ve found that these events are most productive when there are two or more participants from each organization (singletons are also fine). This helps to mimic real-life interactions as much as possible, both when preparing demos and delivering them in the role-play sessions.

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