Monday, March 30, 2015

Stunningly Awful Demo Phrases

Here are a handful of phrases that we often hear from software vendors in demo meetings, followed by what the customer thinks in response…

Vendor Says:  “Let me tell you a bit about our company…”
Customer Thinks:  Nope, no need to – we wouldn’t have agreed to invest our time in a demo if we didn’t already know about you…

Vendor Says:  “Let me give you a product overview…”
Customer Thinks:  Is this for our sake or yours?  Which of these products are relevant to us and our specific situation?

Vendor Says:  “And we’ve just re-named our products, as follows…”
Customer Thinks:  Oh joy, more useless things to remember…

Vendor Says:  “And we’ve created some product bundles as well – let me share these with you…”
Customer Thinks:  Why?  Am I doing proof-reading for your marketing department?

Vendor Says:  “Let’s go through a day-in-the-life…”
Customer Thinks:  Oh god, no.  My day is painful enough already, why would you want to walk me through it again?

Vendor Says:  “So we’ve created 7 fictional characters:  Mark the manager, Angie in accounting, Isaac in IT, Candace the CFO, Oscar in operations, Eustace the end-user…”
Customer Thinks:  Wait – you want me to remember each of these names?  I don’t even know all of the folks in my department…!

Vendor Says:  “One of the questions I get a lot is…”
Customer Thinks:  Sure, but did WE ask it?

Vendor Says:  “The other question is…”
Customer Thinks:  Ditto..

Vendor Says:  “And this is really important…”
Customer Thinks:  Thanks – good to know what YOU think is important, as opposed to us…

Vendor Says:  “Another really important thing is…”
Customer Thinks:  Sounds like everything in your software is important – which means that none of it is…

Vendor Says:  “The other nice thing…”
Customer Thinks:  How many nice things are there?

Vendor Says:  “Oh, and this is really cool…”
Customer Thinks:  In whose opinion?

Vendor Says:  “Now, if you want to…”
Customer Thinks:  But what if I don’t?

Vendor Says:  “Or, you can also do this by…”
Customer Thinks:  Please just show me the fastest way to get it done…

Vendor Says:  “There are three ways you can do this – let me show you…”
Customer Thinks:  Will these be on the test?  Please just show me the one fastest way that I’d use in my day-to-day work.

Vendor Says:  “Let me show you how to…”
Customer Thinks:  Did I ask?  Do I care?  Am I interested?

 Vendor Says:  “What we call…”
Customer Thinks:  Who cares what YOU call it…  I’ll never remember those terms anyway.

Vendor Says:  “We have the concept of…”-
Customer Thinks:  Great – and how is this important for us?

Vendor Says:  “Gee, I’ve never seen that happen before…”
Customer Thinks:  We have…  All the time!

Vendor Says:  “Let me try that again…”
Customer Thinks:  To prove that it REALLY doesn’t work you, the technical expert, don’t know it?

Vendor Says:  “Remember when I said….”
Customer Thinks:  Nope.

Vendor Says:  “Let me show you what happens behind the scenes…”
Customer Thinks:  Did I ask?  Do I care?  Am I interested?  I like sausage, but I’m not really interested in seeing how it was made…!

Vendor Says:  “Let me explain how this works…”
Customer Thinks:  Did I ask?  Do I care?  Am I interested?

Vendor Says:  “We’re running short on time, so I’ll have to go really fast, but I want this to be interactive, so stop me if you have any questions…”
Customer Thinks:  Oh god no – the run-on demo…!

Vendor Says:  “Oops – looks like we ran out of time before we got to the best stuff…”
Customer Thinks:  Too bad – looks like we won’t ever see your best stuff…

Vendor Says:  “I’ve saved the best for last…”
Customer Thinks:  When our management team is gone and the rest of our brains are mush…  Why didn’t you do the Last Thing First?

Any additional to add?

Monday, March 16, 2015

Observations, Progress and Habits - Accelerating Learning For Demo Skills

Interestingly, it turns out that nearly every culture around the world uses onions as one of foundation ingredients in cooking.  Why?  the compounds that make us cry when cutting onions become preservatives and/or antibacterials/antifungals when cooked – making cooked food last longer and safer to eat.  How did our forefathers (and foremothers) figure this out?

Many, many (many) observations.  As a result of tracking various ingredients and their impact on dining “efficacy”, people eventually noticed that when onions were incorporated in cooked food, the food lasted longer and produced fewer sick people than with non-onion preparations.  This must have required the observations and experiences of many people over many years – ultimately resulting in developing good habits (“cook with onions”) and progress towards improved living (safer food, healthier people).

Corollary:  The people that didn’t track their observations didn’t come to the conclusion to include onions in their cooking – leaving them at an evolutionary disadvantage (e.g., they died off while the onion eaters thrived, everything else being equal…).

The change from random ingredients to developing and practicing the habit of incorporating onions must of taken many generations – perhaps thousands of years.  (Why?  Because apparently early mankind did not have smart phones to help them remember things…!)

Do you see where I’m going here? 

Developing good habits for demos can take a long time, as well, if we use only our brains to remember the key steps and practices.  However, using a tool like DemoCoach on an iPhone helps us develop great habits much more rapidly than relying on memory alone.

DemoCoach used before a demo serves a similar purpose as a checklist.  (Note that airline pilots, in spite of having flown their aircraft hundreds of times, still use checklists to make sure they have prepared everything correctly before a flight.  Similarly, even after operating this business for nearly 12 years, I still use a Discovery document to help guide me in my Discovery conversations with my customers.)

Here’s an example of why checklists are important:  How many of us took a trip to market without a shopping list (“Gosh, it’s only 5 items – I can remember those…”) and then forgot two of the items that were on the list (“Honey, where is the ice cream I asked for…?”).  Note that NOT having a list doesn’t keep you from shopping; but you are likely to forgot what you came for and bring home items that weren’t on the list in the first place…  (Spouse:  “Honey, why did you buy beer – it wasn’t on the list…” Reponse:  “I thought beer was always on the list…”)

DemoCoach used after a demo provides the observations that drive awareness and the formation of great habits.  (“What did I do well; what could I have done better?”) 

Tracking observations and trying to remember process steps using one’s brain can take years – using a tool like DemoCoach can compress this time to a few weeks… The whole objective is to accelerate learning.

Onion soup, anyone?  

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Great Demo! Self-Coaching Tool - Building Great Habits

Hi All,

Many of you have asked for a way to help refresh and reinforce the ideas we covered in our Great Demo! Workshops and Seminars – some way to support you when you are preparing demos, working with your colleagues (e.g., in sales), and post-demo to reflect on how things went.  Now, there is…!  Presenting:  your personal DemoCoach!

My colleagues at FactorLab ( have created a wonderful way for you to reinforce the key parts of the Great Demo! methodology.  DemoCoach is being offered by FactorLab to Great Demo! Workshop and Seminar alumni for your use for free.  It is a personal tool to help you establish and improve practices and to develop truly terrific Great Demo! habits.

- Do I have a complete Situation Slide?
- Is that really a Critical Business Issue for this customer?
- Was the demo really a two-way conversation with the customer?

These are the kinds of questions we often ask ourselves before and after demos.  DemoCoach enables you to track your own progress – and, as the community of DemoCoach users grows, you’ll be able to compare your results anonymously with your peers.

Using DemoCoach takes about the same effort as sending a text message or two – and that small investment will likely pay sizeable dividends in terms of improved demos…!

We’d like this tool to truly enable the Great Demo! Community – we look forward to your feedback, comments and suggestions.  Looking forward to your ongoing improvement…!

Get started now!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

[Warning: Shameless Self-Promotion Alert!] 2015 Great Demo! Public Workshops

There are two Great Demo! Public Workshops currently scheduled for 2015, as follows:

-          May 14-15 – Near Salt Lake City, UT.  Registration and additional information can be found here.
-          October 14-15 – San Francisco Bay Area.  Registration and additional information can be found here.

These are excellent opportunities for individuals, small groups or for teams that have new hires. Both are 1.75-Day Workshops, with the first day focusing largely on core Great Demo! material and the second ¾ day addressing more advanced topics and techniques. 

The May 20-21 and October 14-15 Public Workshops will take place in the San Francisco Bay Area (Sunnyvale), in conjunction with the folks at SKMurphy.  

We’ve found that these sessions are most productive when there are two or more participants from each organization – and best when a combination of sales and presales participants are present (singletons are also fine). This helps to mimic real-life interactions as much as possible, both when preparing demos and delivering them in the role-play sessions.

PS - If you do decide to register for the San Francisco Bay Area Public Workshops and are coming from out of town, you might want to make reservations now at the hotel where the Workshop will take place (or nearby), as hotels in the area tend to fill up rapidly.