By Daniel Hunter

An astounding 70 per cent of lost sales could be down to a reluctance to properly demonstrate a product or service according to a world-leading sales training organisation. So why are some sales people shying away from one of the most tried and tested routes to effective sales closure?
Doug Tucker, Managing Director of Sales Commando, believes he has the answer.

“Sales Commando provides world-class sales training to business to business, financial services and technology companies ranging from start-ups to blue chip enterprises. It’s no coincidence that when I analyse why some of these companies are losing pitches when they should be winning sales I find that they either haven’t properly executed a live demonstration of their product or service or have skipped the live demonstration completely.”

According to Doug, the reasons for this are two-fold; either complacency or, somewhat surprisingly, lack of confidence.

“In a sales training environment, complacency is the first factor I tackle. A live demonstration should never be a tour of product features. It is up to the sales person to research the customer and tailor any demonstration to show how the product or service can solve that customer’s problems. Yes, this takes extra effort but a well rehearsed properly focused demonstration will nine times out of ten result in a successfully closed sale. And that’s what selling is all about.”

On the other hand, lack of confidence has to be approached in different ways to achieve the same successful outcome.

“It surprised me to find out that one of the biggest reasons that sales people avoid live demonstrations, specifically in high tech or financial services sectors, is that they feel the risks of messing up a demonstration far outweigh the advantages of doing one. I wouldn’t normally expect a sales person to lack confidence but my research shows it’s unfortunately all too common.”

Breaking down the reasons for confidence lapses, Doug has identified two key areas that can be addressed quite simply with lateral thinking, something that Sales Commando is a specialist at instilling into its sales clients.

“First up, if you’re not 100% confident about demonstrating a technical product or service, bring in a product manager or technician to your sales pitch and let them do the physical demonstration. Meantime, you focus on the sales angle.

“If a product or service — for example a financial investment package — is difficult to demonstrate because its successful outcome depends on the future, then show the customer how similar plans have worked in the past.

Showing by example is another form of live demonstration and is an extremely effective tool in its own right.”
With Sales Commando’s straight forward advice there is little excuse for sales people not to include live demonstrations of products in their presentations, as Doug Tucker concludes:

“In sales terms, live demonstrations are not an option — the rule is, don’t just talk about it, demonstrate it!
“If you find yourself shying away from physically showing off your product, now’s the time to roll up your sleeves and put in that extra effort or, if you’re dealing in high technology, overcome your fears by bringing in product or software specialists to do the demonstrating for you - and start closing more sales more effectively.”