Here’s When Your Reps Should Combine Discovery With the Demo

BY Kathy Crosett
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Would you like your sale reps’ demos to drive 50% conversion rates? Of course. Would that kind of conversion rate be possible with your current demo strategy? Probably not. 

Shortcomings of Today’s Demo Process

At the recent TOPO Summit in San Francisco, sales consultant Debbie Bender outlined the problems many organizations currently have with demos. For example, did you know that 54% of demos don’t connect with the prospect’s needs? That’s because your reps are likely running through slides that highlight the great features your product or service offers. Here are two other startling statistics Bender shared:

  • 44% of demos don’t include a call to action
  • 40% of demos are completely one-​sided. There’s no interaction between your rep and the prospect.

We all like to think that when our reps get to the demo stage, the prospect is truly interested in what we are offering. That may be incorrect thinking. The prospect wants to understand the value of the offer.

Combine Demos with Discovery

These days, prospects are in a hurry. They want information quickly. One way to help with their decision-​making process is to combine the discovery stage with a brief demonstration of your product’s most relevant features. Bender says this approach can work well in a couple of situations:

  • When your reps are selling in a high volume and velocity environment
  • When the prospect needs an education on the concept of your product because it is completely new and unfamiliar. A good example of this might be applying AI to a production line.

Trying the IDD Framework

In a more traditional environment, your reps will still do a complete demo, but with a twist. Bender calls her discovery-​demo framework: IDD, an acronym for Insight, Discovery and Demo. First your rep will introduce an insight. They’ll move to discovery with at least three questions on the topic. Then, they'll conduct a partial demo.

Here's how the process works:

  • Insight example: Our research shows that most businesses are only getting a 10% collection rate from their outside agencies.
  • Discovery: Are you getting at least 10% of the account you send out for collection settled? Have you ever had more successful collections? Have you thought about ways to increase the collection rate? 
  • Demo: Here’s what we are doing to increase collections above 10% for some of our clients.

After that, your reps start to move into a micro-​close. They try to get agreement from prospect on how what they’re selling could help them.

Throughout this process, the reps should focus on having an interactive, instead of a one-​sided, conversation with the prospect. Following this strategy will increase productivity and conversion rates.