Thursday, April 30, 2009

Nice “Adaptive” Touch…

In a recent Great Demo! Workshop, held in a company’s training room, I noted a box full of various power-plug adapters for the use of the participants who may have arrived from out of the country. This was welcomed and several of the adapters were used during the Workshop. Nice touch!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Loss of Trust and Credibility

In a recent Great Demo! Workshop, an audience member suggested adding an item to the list of “What bad things happen when the demo goes poorly”: Loss of trust and credibility between sales and presales.

Very good point – this can be extremely damaging on a personal level in addition to a team or organizational level.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

What Do Cookbooks Have to Do with Demos?

You are paging through a new cookbook, trying to get ideas for an upcoming important meal. Which recipes do you tend to explore – those that are simply text descriptions or those that also include a photo of the finished dish?

Cookbook publishers know that most readers prefer cookbooks with photos of the finished product. The pictures help readers gain a rapid understanding of what the completed recipe should look like – if it looks appetizing, it has a higher likelihood of being pursued.

The Great Demo! concept of Illustrations works the same way: the prospect is presented with an image of what the final deliverable looks like, right at the beginning of the demo. If the end deliverable looks interesting, the prospect will be more likely to pursue exploring the offering further.

This suggests that we should work to make our Illustrations and end deliverables appear to be as appetizing as possible!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Customer’s Perspective: The Impact of the Initial Screen in a Demo

I met a CFO on a plane flight recently who commented on the importance of the first screen he sees in a software demo. He noted that the more complicated that first screen appears to be, the less likely he will be to purchase the product.

He also commented that a key point here is “appearance”:

- He said that some screens that could have been perceived as complicated were made simple and clear by equally simple and clear descriptions by the demo presenter;

- Conversely, he also said that other screens started off appearing to be easy to understand, but became complicated and confusing by the too detailed and lengthy verbal descriptions.

Albert Einstein summed this up nicely when he observed, “Everything should be a simple as possible, but not simpler…”

Monday, April 13, 2009

What Does a Jigsaw Puzzle Have to Do with Demos?

Imagine that someone has just dumped a 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle on a table in front of you – a large pile of unintelligible puzzle pieces – but you cannot see the box cover.

(And for those who are experienced at working jigsaw puzzles, to make things even tougher imagine that the puzzle appears to have no distinct edges…)

Where do you begin? Without a clear understanding of what the puzzle is supposed to look like, it will be very tough to complete it.

Imagine being presented a demo delivered the same way – lots of individual pieces but no clear picture of the end result…

On the other hand, if you are shown a picture of the completed puzzle up-front, then you have a reasonable possibility of working the puzzle. Similarly, it you are shown the end result of a demo at the beginning, then you have an understanding of how the various pieces contribute to the end deliverable.

A jigsaw puzzle is a wonderful example of a Great Demo! before-and-after Illustration in practice. The “before” is the image of the pile of confusing puzzle pieces; the “after” is the picture of the completed puzzle.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Great Quote

“Sure, I can show you a day-in-the-life demo, but it will take a week…!”

- Great quote from a Great Demo! Workshop participant.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Another Reason to Arrive 15 Minutes Early for Web Meetings…

This sadly funny video shows why you may want to consider setting the time for your web meeting to start 15 minutes before the formal meeting is scheduled to begin:

The folks at Glance ( offer an alternative, “instant on” web meeting tool that also helps to address the problem so wonderfully articulated in the video.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Annotating over Live Meeting Shared Applications

Can you recommend any third-party annotation tools - tools that can be used to annotate over a Live Meeting session, for example, since Live Meeting does not currently provide capabilities for annotating over a shared application.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Out-of-the-office Email Messages

Out-of-the-office email (automated) reponse messages range from non-existent to full-blown advertising. As a customer, it is good to know:

- The dates when the person is unavailable
- Whether or not the person will be checking voicemail/email
- Who are alternative people that can be contacted

Here is an example of a nicely executed out-of-the-office message:

**This is an Automatically Generated Message**

Thank you for your e-mail. I will be out of the office on vacation from Monday March 16 through Friday March 20, and will be back on Monday March 23rd. I will not have access to e-mail or voicemail during this time, but will respond as soon as I return.For any immediate concerns please contact:

Customer Service:
Toll-Free phone number: 1-800-555-5555
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm PST Mon-Fri

For Technical Support:
Toll-Free phone number: 1-800-555-5553
Hours: 8:00 am - 5:00 pm PST Mon-Fri

Best Regards,

Bob Sanchez
OurCo Inc.
1538 Windblown Blvd.
Centerville, CA 94555
Telephone: +1 800 555 5525