• Peter Cohan

Does That Make Sense?

We hear this question so often at work. We also hear questions about using this phrase. So, should we be using this phrase in our demos and/or are there alternatives?

No, Yes, and Yes…


There are many folks who are violently opposed to “Does that make sense?” – and we can see why, as the customer’s response options are rather limited.

Vendor asks, “Does that make sense?”  Customer responds,

  • “Um, yes…” (meaning, yes, it does make sense and I understood)

  • “Um, yes…” (meaning, I’m not sure I understood)

  • “Um, yes…” (meaning, no, it didn’t make sense to me – but I don’t want to look stupid!)

  • “I think so…” (meaning I’m not sure either way…!)

  • “Sorry, no…” (meaning, I’m getting angry at being asked this over and over…!)

  • “No!” (meaning, I’m getting very angry and if you ask me one more time I’m terminating this demo!)

The ambiguity here is very high!


Using the phrase occasionally is likely acceptable – particularly if other check-in phrases are distributed (richly) in between its use.  Additionally, it is adequate if you are answering a specific question with a detailed answer – in this case you are likely looking for comprehension and testing the completeness of your response.

However, it can get pretty oppressive when we ask, “Does that make sense?” every 2 minutes in a demo.  Worse, it can result in confusion.  So are there other options?  (Of course…!)

Yes – Alternatives

The intent of “Does that make sense?” is to check-in with the customer and get feedback.  So, here are a few options you can consider:

General Check-in Alternatives:

  • “Questions?”

  • “Questions or comments?”

  • “Your thoughts?”

  • “Feedback?”

  • “What do you think so far?”

  • “Comments, questions, observations?”

  • “Does that resonate?”

  • “What are your thoughts on this?”

  • “How does this look to you?”

  • “Is this the kind of capability you have in mind?”

When Responding to Specific Customer Questions:

  • “Does that sufficiently answer your question?”

  • “Is that sufficient?”

  • “Have I adequately addressed your question?”

  • “Is that what you wanted to know?”

  • “Is that sufficient or do we need to go deeper?”

Another (terrific) option for both cases is to do a brief summary:

  • “So, to summarize…”

  • “To recap…”

  • “So what you’ve seen so far…”

  • “In conclusion (on this point)…”

  • “To sum up…”

The act of summarizing lets your customer know it is their turn to comment or ask questions.

Peter Cohan Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of The Second Derivative and the Great Demo! methodology, focused on helping software organizations improve their sales and marketing results.

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