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Sorry Sales Engineers of the world. But it's true. Great demos; amazing demos; the best demo — none of these lead to a technical win or a closed deal. I know that's what you're being told by sales. And some other folks who think they know. They're wrong. It's best to admit that now, so you can focus on the right thing. 

Your job is to get the technical win. And yes, getting the technical win when selling technology is essential to getting a deal done. It's kind of like making sure the prospect can spend money or has a problem you can solve. It's a critical path on the road toward closing the deal. And if you don't agree, we'll save that argument for another time. 


So, if the great demo doesn't achieve the technical win, what actually does?


YOU do. That's it. Just you. 


If you believe that people buy from people — which they do — then your prospect isn't buying your great demo. It’s not your flawless demo flow, or the fact that you put their logo and colors in your application, or the fact that the product executed flawlessly without a crash. They're buying you. 

So, I shouldn’t do a demo?

Of course not. Achieving the technical win doesn’t happen without showing them the product. And it’s natural to think that means it’s ALL about showing the product. You fixate on making the demo flawless. Ensuring that it never crashes, that you never screw up in your click path, that everything you do is on point. Suddenly it becomes more about the show than the prospect.     


But what's most important is your ability to CONVINCE your prospect that your solution is the most worthwhile and valuable investment as compared to their other options and INSPIRE them to want to make a change. And while you may think that’s all in what you show, it really takes building a relationship with them. 


I see most SEs focus their efforts on asking the right discovery questions to then be able to determine how to show their product and what words to say. There is a belief that the product will speak for itself. That the demo does the selling. If you show a compelling solution that clearly solves a problem, why wouldn’t they buy it? But that’s not how people work. How many times have you been presented with something that shows well and clearly solves a problem for you, but you didn’t buy it? How many late-night infomercials or YouTube ads have you seen showing amazing consumer products that you watched and then didn’t act on? And why? Didn’t they solve your problem? Didn’t those demos speak for themselves?

You know it’s more than that. You’ll buy something on the advice of a friend sight unseen before you’ll buy something based on a demo in an ad. Convincing and inspiring comes from people, not from product. So, in addition to focusing on the demo flow, why don't SEs focus on things like: 

  • Am I coming across as likable? 
  • Do I really care about this person to whom I'm trying to sell something? 
  • Am I genuinely concerned about them as a person, or do I just think of them as a PO? 
  • Am I being considerate, getting to know them on a personal level, and being genuine with them? 
  • Do I interact with them as I would interact with the new neighbor that I'm trying to get to know, or treat them more like that person I'm being nice to because they have something I want? 


That's what will make the difference between achieving the technical win or not. That's how you'll convince and inspire them. If you really care about them and work to build a good relationship with them, you'll find your successful demo becomes a natural extension of that relationship. Like showing your neighbor how to configure their new router or showing your mother-in-law how to set up her email. Those aren't necessarily great demos. But they fill the needs those people have at the time and show them you genuinely care. 

Being You Means Being Successful

Let's face it. You can talk all you want about how differentiated your solution is. It isn't, really. There are lots of technologies that all do about the same thing. There is only one you. Make THAT the thing that gets the technical win. 

Written by:

Bill Balnave

Managing Director


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The Leadership collective is a group designed for PreSales leaders in a management capacity (Manager+ title) who are looking to network, grow professionally, and actively participate.

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