Doing Product Demo 2.0

    June 28, 2007

How many of you sell products that require salespeople to visit customers to provide a demonstration? If that sounds like your company, you’ve probably written off the Internet for that. Perhaps you use the Web to explain your product and to have prospects contact you, but you still need to to send that sales rep to the demo. Until now. Check out how some companies are doing Product Demo 2.0.

What exactly does an in-person demo do for you? It puts a real person in front of your customer who can notice what objections are raised and meet them. It puts someone knowledgeable in a position to demonstrate the value of the product and the problems that it solves. Clearly in-person product demos drive great value, but they are very expensive.

Some companies are doing product demos on YouTube. Check out how IBM demonstrates a new way of developing Web applications, called QEDWiki. Now does a video demo work as well as an in-person demo? Of course not. But it’s much less expensive and it can be seen anytime the client wants to do it.

After the video demo, the client must follow up to contact the company to get questions answered, so expect that a higher percentages of clients viewing video demos will drop out of the sales cycle. But think of how many more people will see the demo—who cares if the percentages are lower? You’ll likely get more leads than you did the old way.

You might think this is only good for software, but it’s not. Perhaps you’ve heard of the funny "Will It Blend?" videos for Blendtec blenders. Blendtec has dramatically raised their sales by showing funny demos of blending IPods and other household objects as feats of strength.

But while those videos have attracted attention as a viral marketing technique, know that Blendtec shows standard Blendtec demos on its Web site, as do many other companies. Do you demonstrate your product on the Web? Why not?