Closing Sales Demos Made Easy: 8 Expert Tips
SDRs go to a lot of effort to book meetings.
Endless calls, emails and LinkedIn messages. Constantly having to keep motivated and cut through all the noise. Tasked with thinking creatively and providing value for potential buyers.
And that’s just the first phase of the B2B sales process.
The second phase is a meeting, usually with an Account Executive (AE), to demonstrate how the product or service works and hopefully close the sales demo.
Now wouldn’t it be a shame to fudge this crucial moment, losing the prospect’s attention and rendering all the SDR’s hard work in vain?
Well, never fear! We’re here to pass on some actionable tips to help you close a sales demo from the following sales experts:
- Sophie Pease, Enterprise Account Executive at Cognism
- Charlie Beale, Senior Enterprise Account Executive at Cognism
Hang onto your hats, people - we have a lot to share! 👇
1. Prepare thoroughly
According to Charlie, thorough preparation is crucial for a successful demo.
He believes you must genuinely understand your product and the prospect’s demands.
“If you don’t have all the information you need, you won’t be successful in that meeting. It’s about understanding their needs, what they’re looking for, and how our solution can help them.”
“Preparation typically has two parts. You’ve got preparation on the prospect’s side, understanding their needs, and then you’ve got preparation in terms of what your SDRs have gathered. You need both to be in place.”
2. Build a positive first impression
In any sales interaction, establishing a positive first impression is vital.
Here’s a piece of wisdom - get to the point and don’t talk about the weather!
Sophie approaches it like this:
“Make sure you open with something that’s valuable to them. I usually say, ‘I had a quick look at your LinkedIn profile earlier. I can see your remit is analytics and revenue operations, and you’re looking after KPIs for the sales team. Is there anything else that’s important to you that I should know about your role for today’s call?”
The key is starting the conversation in a way that’s relevant for them. Charlie recommends using LinkedIn to connect with prospects before the demo, saying:
“Something I’ll do with every person I’m going to speak with on a demo is connect with them on LinkedIn, at least the day before.”
“I drop a little connection note, saying, ‘Hi X, Y, Z, Looking forward to speaking to you tomorrow. SDR named X has brought me up to speed with the conversations, but let me know if you need anything in advance.”
This allows you to put a face to a name before the meeting - and it shows you’re planning ahead for them as well.
3. Establish rapport
Knowing how to close a sales demo includes establishing rapport, which is pivotal in B2B sales.
Sophie explained the difference between the enterprise and commercial space when it comes to building rapport:
“When you’re targeting smaller businesses, it’s much more personality led. In the enterprise space, I would say the rapport building is more trust building.”
“So drop names of people you’ve previously spoken to in the company, mention previous conversations and things you know about their business.”
Charlie stressed that you can develop rapport at any stage of the sales process. He believes the defining factor is whether you deliver a positive sales experience overall.
“I don’t think there’s one single thing you can do to build rapport. I think it comes from delivering a good sales process, seeming credible and showing that you understand their needs. That makes them more receptive and open to you, and you can build good rapport that way.”
4. Identify the prospect’s pain points
Understanding how to close a sales demo involves knowing how to tailor it.
Charlie’s advice is to ask open-ended questions, as they encourage the prospect to share their challenges.
One valuable technique Charlie mentioned is using “tell me" questions. These prompt prospects to openly discuss their concerns and pain points.
“You’ll usually get a lot of information in that initial response. And then it’s up to the AE to actively listen to that response and pinpoint areas that are important to them.”
Sophie emphasised the importance of empathy:
“You get the best results when you understand what is causing them the most pain in their daily role.”
5. Effectively handle objections
Like it or not, objections are an inevitable part of the sales process. If you don’t know how to handle them, you don’t know how to close a sales demo!
Charlie advised against providing an immediate answer to objections. Instead, he digs deeper to understand the underlying reason. This allows you to address the prospect’s concerns more effectively.
“I think a big misconception with objections is answering them straightaway. Often, an AE will blurt back a response to try and get around an objection. Instead, if you try to understand why the objection has come up, you’ll find that it’s probably not an objection.”
Charlie believes the most productive approach is to seek understanding. Rather than becoming defensive - respond with curiosity!
By asking open-ended questions such as, “Why do you feel that way?” you encourage prospects to provide insights into the nature of their objection.
“It’s essential to remember that objections are not always what they initially appear to be. They can stem from miscommunication or incomplete information.”
“By uncovering the objection’s true nature, you can tailor your response to address the prospect’s concerns.”
6. Demonstrate the product’s value
Sophie underscored the need for clear, concise demos built around the prospect’s needs. She recommends using relatable examples and case studies to help close a SaaS sales demo.
Sophie believes the demos that “show the least are the best.”
How does this work?
Following a comprehensive discovery, AEs can deliver demos that target the prospect’s specific pain points. Sophie cautioned that sharing too much information can overwhelm the prospect.
Not only that - they may think you offer more than they need!
Sophie provided an example:
“Let’s say we’re speaking to a BDR Manager who engages in outbound prospecting. They require more mobile phone numbers and use LinkedIn along with Outreach or Salesloft.”
“In this case, a five-minute demo would suffice. You can simply demonstrate the LinkedIn extension plugin, showcasing how they can obtain more mobile numbers. There’s no need to delve into the entire platform or other details.”
7. Follow up with clear next steps
As Sophie explained:
“Sometimes, if it’s not a match, it’s not a match, and it’s not always relevant to follow up. But I would typically keep it quite concise. Especially if you’re speaking to very busy executives.”
Mastery of closing a sales demo includes following up with succinct next steps. They help propel the prospect along the sales process.
What’s essential to have in the follow-up?
Sophie told us:
“Usually, my structure is explaining a single value proposition at the start of the follow-up, followed by their challenges.”
“The third paragraph would be one or two lines about how we can help them address this challenge. You want that challenge to tie into a larger business goal instead of only helping that individual you’ve spoken to. Because that way, it can be circulated more broadly in their organisation. And for the last part, spell out some next steps.”
Charlie has a clear call to action at the end of his demos, whether it’s scheduling a follow-up meeting or providing additional resources.
“Make sure you have some clear next steps. If you don’t ask for a follow-up meeting, chances are you won’t get one.”
8. Don’t overwhelm the prospect
According to Sophie, knowing how to close a sales demo means not overwhelming the prospect!
“Simplicity is key. Avoid too much technical jargon or unnecessary details. Keep the whole demo concise, clear, and focused.”
Charlie agrees with the sentiment and cautions:
“It’s important not to bombard the prospect with excessive information. Focus on the key features and benefits that directly address their pain points.”
There you have it - the inside scoop on how to do a demo and do it well!
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