The Lost Art of the Product Demonstration

Comms Business talks to Pragma Distribution and their reseller Lily Communications about how rediscovering the art of product demonstrations has dramatically increased their strike rate for winning new business.

I can recall doing customer on site PBX product demonstrations in the late 1980’s. Of course I was a lot younger then and it was just as well as the demonstration kit available at the time needed something akin to a Pickfords van to haul it up and down the country. Then, when you turned up on site I remember my heart sinking when told the kit had to be lugged up two flights of stairs to the boardroom.

And for what? To show how call transfer and call divert worked between three phones and not much more. But, and it’s a big but, the demo did its job. The customer saw the kit, felt the handsets and pressed a few buttons themselves – and you got an order.

Will Morey, Director at Pragma Distribution: “Today that art seems to have died, leastways the part about getting the kit in front of the customer has. Today it is more about getting the customer in front of the kit and into a vendor ‘Executive Briefing Centre’ to show off the product. And of course that works too. But as we all know, customers are busy people and are more likely to be on their site for a product demo than travel a fair distance to a vendor site. It’s so easy for them to cry off isn’t it? So how can we make that demonstration in the comfort of the user office a simple and business winning process today?

Well, here at Pragma we have a solution that means the art of the on-site demonstration will continue to close deals and drive opportunity.

The reality is that taking the demonstration to the user wins business, but for many the advent of IP based systems meant they thought the days of the on site demo were over. However, as Pragma and their resellers have found out, the on site customer demo is actually the best way to bring the power of IP to life.

If you just talk about IP few users understand it, but plug a phone in to the network and all that changes. Then combine this with applications on laptop, a smartphone or a tablet and suddenly the user is sitting up paying attention and signing the deal before you leave the office.”

Pragma regularly run Ericsson-LG iPECS demonstration training courses that specialise in bringing out the best of the system and according to Adrian Jackson of Bradford based Lily Communications, who has put himself and his team through the course, ‘it really works’.

“Included in the course is a suggested ‘script’ on how best to bring out the what the customer wants to see and demonstrate those feature as well as all the equipment and set up skills to deliver a winning demonstration.

Not only are we closing more deals but we are closing them quicker and with fewer customer visits and meetings. This means we are retaining a higher margin as the user is less inclined to shop around for alternative quotes. Add to this the fact that the sales value is higher because the users specify the best handsets; after all these are the ones featured in the demonstration.

The Ericsson-LG demo kit itself is really compact and light to carry. It’s no problem whatsoever even if you have to travel to a city based user on the train. Before the advent of this demonstration kit that would have been very difficult for many of us and impossible for female sales executives.”

Will Morey says, “The art of the user demonstration is alive and well with Pragma and our channel partners. In 2014 we anticipate the importance of the demo in winning business will increase as we continue to the Ericsson-LG iPECS platform.

In my opinion we spend too much time in our industry marketing to each other and not enough time thinking what the customer wants. A lot of sales people talk to users about applications such as unified communications, social interaction and collaboration. As an industry we are inward looking with our jargon – we tend to use buzzwords all the time. However the demonstration cuts through all this jargon by showing the user the true benefits of the products in their office and in their market.”

Morey concludes, “We have a reseller incentive for our demonstration courses and the kit required which means that our partners quickly fund the cost through increased sales and support from Pragma.”



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David Dungay

Editor - Comms Business Magazine
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