Kudos! You managed to turn the lead into a prospect.
It feels good because you’ve been chasing this decision maker for a couple of months now.
She takes the demo with you. And throughout the demo, she engages.
She answers your questions and asks a few questions.
Your heart is racing with the joy of potential commission.
The demo ends.
Then there’s nothing.
She doesn’t answer any of your follow-up emails. The silence is loud.
Well, that truly sucks!
How to handle the infamous prospect silence
Depending on where you sit, you’ll have to first off assess whether the demo was successful or not.
I know a lot of salespeople finish demos being very optimistic.
They think they’ve shown what matters.
It turns out that most of the things they showed did not resonate with the prospect.
The cause of the silence might not be the buyer. It could be the demo itself.
1) You Didn’t Ask Enough Questions
Demos are not a feature junkyard.
Yet, many of the salespeople treat it as such. They show everything they think is cool and “new”.
They spend very little time understanding the real needs and pains of the prospect.
Consequently, they do not exactly know what the prospect might be using the software for.
Ignorance is not bliss.
I’ve found that a good way to start a demo is to spend the first few minutes to establish the expectation for the meeting and to ask key questions.
In turn, this helps me to align the conversation with the needs of the prospect.
It’s important to deliver relevant and meaningful demos.
However, I can’t see how this will be possible without asking questions.
The fact that a previous customer loved your product’s feature X doesn’t mean this prospect will cherish it. Asking is the real shortcut.
If the prospect insists that you go ahead and show the demo (which will sometimes happen), I often respond by saying:
“I’d like to make this presentation meaningful and worth our time so I’d like to ask you a few questions. Is this reasonable?”
No one has ever responded to me by saying it is unreasonable.
2) You Didn’t Get Enough Micro Agreements
A micro agreement is a small, reasonable and unassuming engagement you get from the prospect.
For example, in a demo when showing a feature, stop and ask if this is something the customer considers valuable for her business.
Whenever a customer says Yes in a demo, it does two things.
One, it helps you to continuously gauge the level of interest and engage them.
Two, it facilitates the path to getting a final commitment or sale.
Additionally, the micro agreements are like priming for the final sale.
Therefore, the point here is not to always ask for the sale but ask intelligent questions.
If you’re selling a complex enterprise product, the demo might be the first of many to come.
You might have to present to other stakeholders in the decision-making unit. Don’t get worked up.
Arguably a rule of thumb is that during a 20 minutes demo, a salesperson should be able to get at least an agreement every five minutes.
Get the prospect to say Yes during the demo. Or even a No.
A No doesn’t always mean NO to the whole product, but maybe to one feature.
Your goal is to engage, gauge and get micro-agreements during the demo.
3) You Did Not Secure a Final Advance
Never end the demo with “we will touch base later” or some generic next step.
Your goal in every demo is to get a specific next step agreed with the prospect.
Good final advances include two things.
- They are specific actions. For instance, a sending a specific resource, or material or calling a specific person.
- That action should be time-bound, scheduled in both the prospect’s and your calendar.It’s always important to think about what this final advance will be when you’re doing the pre-demo research and preparation.
That final advance is the macro conversion for the demo.