7 Sales Demo Mistakes and How to Avoid Them

One of the most critical phases of any software sales process is the product demo. If you allow us a cheap comparison, it’s like going to a date after you chatted on a dating app to meet the person in real life and discover them for the first time. During the initial outreach, you can sell your company and software in the exact way you want, but when it comes to demoing the product, you have to show that it matches exactly your promising sales speech to “seduce” your prospect. Take our word for it, you don’t want the “sales Tindtrap” etiquette. 

As a sales professional, you obviously did your homework to understand your client’s pains ahead of the demo, and aggregated as much information as you can during the discovery call. That said, when the demo is on the table, there are still plenty of traps standing between you and the prospect’s heart (and pocket). 

Worry not: we collected here a list of the mistakes you should avoid if you want to offer your product the demo it deserves - and close deals. 

Behold! Below are the seven deadly sins of B2B sales demo: 

Not customizing the hell out of the demo

Potential clients have little patience for bullsh*t. They want to understand what is in it for them, quickly, and efficiently. You see where we’re going: Customization is key. The more your demo is tailored to your client’s needs, the higher the chances of getting them to understand how your product can benefit their company - and the lower the odds that the infamous goldfish-online-sales-attention-span will screw with your flow. 

In other words, the more you customize your demo, the better you sell. Ad break: With code-free demo editors like Walnut, you can personalize completely your demo without coding a single line. 

What should you customize? 

  • Features:
    Your product may be a spaceship, but don’t overwhelm your prospect by showing them all the features of your Millennium Falcon. Present only the ones that are relevant to their specific needs so they understand why they want to fly with you. 
  • Text:
    Your prospect wants to feel in their natural environment. When demoing your software/product, customize the numbers and texts to the ones that would make sense to them. 
  • Logo:
    Well, why not? It will only make them feel even more at home. 

Not listening to the signs

You don’t have to love Shyamalan’s aliens’ movies to understand how important signs are. Observe your prospect’s facial expressions, pay attention to the silences and listening signs, and make sure they don't switch off. 

One of the classical plz-keep-giving-a-f*ck techniques is to encourage active participation all the time. Don’t ever lose yourself in a long monologue - keep your shirt on, Hamlet. Ask questions about the usability of your product, the relevancy of the features, and more generally, invite them to interact as much as you can. You’ll not only keep them focused, but you’ll also learn about their needs and expectations. 

Not telling a story 

Humans are storytelling animals. Since the dawn of civilization, we use stories to communicate and convey knowledge. We won’t dig into this vast topic - it’s a blog, not a philosophy journal - but the point is clear: storytelling has power. 

Think about it. If we want to sell you that Walnut demo editor can guarantee zero downtime during your demo. We can tell you, among other things: “Walnut disconnects the software front-end from the back-end to publish the demo in a cloud environment.” Sounds nice. And boring as crap. 

On the other hand, we can tell you: “Has your software ever bugged in the middle of a demo? We feel you, it happened to us as well! What a nightmare. That’s why we created Walnut - to make sure no-one will have to deal with this kind of misfortune ever again .” Or something of the sort. Telling a story allows you to directly speak to emotion, to address pain, to explain a complex idea in a simple (and diggest) way, and to create a powerful connexion with the listener. 

Misunderstanding the prospect’s profile

Profiling isn’t an art mastered only by dark FBI agents. When talking to a prospect, it’s essential to understand their personality to make them sign a deal. According to your prospect’s profile, you may have to manage your demo in a completely different way. Here are some of the main types of prospects

  • The Doer:
    With this quick decision-maker type of prospect, you’ll want to avoid unnecessary details and go straight to the point. 
  • The Talker:
    Talkers, as the name indicates, tend to be talkative - surprising indeed. You’d rather open a discussion, share personal experiences, and invite the prospect to give their opinion and ideas. 
  • The Thinker:
    The thinkers are more rational and patient. When demoing to this kind of prospect, you’d rather emphasize the product benefits, and maintain a long-term relationship to build trust. 
  • The Controller:
    This is the analytical type of prospect. They need to understand deeply every aspect of your product to feel confident. You should put more focus on collected data and concrete insights to convince them. 

Neglecting the USPs - and the outcomes

It sounds pretty trivial, but it's worth mentioning. Don’t neglect your USP(s) when demoing. Just for the record, USP stands for Unique Selling Proposition - not to be confused with a famous shipping company. Try spreading your USP(s) during your demo speech to draw your prospect’s attention to what differentiates you from your competitors. 

More than that, it’s essential to always bring back the discussion to the actual outcomes for your prospect. For example, how much time, manpower, programs, your software/product can save them. This is especially useful since it will help you negotiate better the price of your quote when the money time will come. 

Not paying attention to the time 

Time is money. Your demo requests time. Your product costs money. It’s an expensive effort to ask from an innocent prospect. Therefore, you need to make sure to optimize each minute of your (typically) one-hour long meeting. Good time management will also help keep your prospect focused. 

One classical way to structure your call is breaking it down like the following: 

  • Intro – 5 minutes
  • Research recap’ / Reasons to believe  – 5 minutes
  • Demo – 30 minutes
  • Feedback and questions – 10 minutes
  • Next steps – 5 minutes

Of course, you can structure your demo differently - but under the condition that every second of your prospect time is used wisely. You’re the boss, boss. 

Not anticipating Murphy’s laws bugs

This bad one isn’t actually anyone’s fault: It’s simply bad luck AKA Murphy’s laws. You can train day and night, rehearse like a madman, know every line of your speech, and at the exact moment you show an important feature, boom, the software crashes. Yeah, that’s heartbreaking. 

If you read this article thoroughly- give that person a cookie! - you learned how with demo editor platforms like Walnut, you can avoid this kind of embarrassment. Our tech guarantees a bug-free and slick demo so you don’t have to worry about unpredictable bugs, never-ending loading time, and other sad surprises which would make your prospect go “meh”. 


Create customized & failure-free demos with Walnut today>