“In a World:” Why and How Your Demos Can be More Like Movie Trailers

Matt Darrow Matt Darrow

How do you do compelling demos in an era of all-virtual meetings? What we’ve seen be successful, at Vivun as well as with some of our forward-thinking customers, is rethinking the demo as a movie trailer.

Even if you send a calendar invite and block an hour, you’re not going to get someone’s attention for that long. You’re just not. It’s likely to be your prospect’s fifth Zoom call of the day, and it’s easy for them to let their eyes wander to Slack…and their fingers wander to their phone.

(And their mind is probably thinking of something involving a football team, a beach vacation, or a sirloin steak. Something like that.)

So how do you cover the most compelling parts of your product’s epic story within…let’s say ten minutes?

Just like a movie trailer, it means consolidating your story into only the dramatic bits. The good stuff. Enough to fire the senses and get a taste for the full product, but definitely in “teaser” format.

Here’s what you should cover…and again, this is 10 minutes or less.

  • What is your prospect’s business objective, tied to their overall corporate strategy?
  • What’s your overall message/takeaway for your prospect based on what you learned in the discovery process? Think of one thing that they should remember about your solution, the thing that ties directly to the business objective above.
  • What critical capabilities of your product — 3-5 max — can you show that reinforce that message?
  • For each of these capabilities, what brief customer story can you tell as a proof point? (e.g. The team from Awesome Logo had your same objective, and with our product’s three capabilities, they achieved the outcome that you also want.)
  • What do you show — and in what order — in order to visually tell the story of the three capabilities?
  • At each step, think to yourself: “Why am I saying this,” and “Why am I showing this”? (Like any movie trailer editor, you need to be ruthless in order to cut the story down to its most enticing, dramatic moments while still being coherent!)
  • What’s your strong close? (Spoiler: Your strong close is not “Do you have any questions?” It should be a restatement of the prospect’s business objective and an interesting, different way of stating how your product can help that objective be achieved.)

The world is unlikely to be exactly the same once Covid is over, and it’s possible that this will be the new gold standard for Demos — not the full 45-minute exposition dump, but the fast-paced, white-knuckle teaser that pulls in the prospect and encourages them to see more. But in the meantime, this is the kind of demo that’s likely to get repeat business on Zoom. 

It doesn’t negate packing the crowd to see the full demo down the line — but you can worry about that once you have their full attention. Your first order of business is convincing them that giving up an hour of their day is worth the price of admission.

Matt Darrow Matt Darrow October 12, 2020