Recently, I was asked to “demo my demo” to a group of salesreps. I have a  deck of Powerpoint slides that I created to provide an overview of the Acrolinx IQ software suite.  I also have a particular file that I use to show potential customers what the software is all about. And I was asked to perform my demo for a group of Acrolinx salesreps.

In preparing to demo my demo, I realized that I didn’t know what to say. I could walk through the slides, sure. And I could go through the demo file and point out all of the amazing features of the software. But, that’s not the way I do a demo. And that’s not the way a good demo is done.

A good demo is a dance with the customer. It involves quite a bit of listening to the customer’s concerns. It involves paying attention to the concerns the customer does not voice, too. When you really listen to the customer, and let the customer lead the dance, the engagement is completely different than stepping through a rote set of slides and clicking on a bunch of cool things in an application.

To me, dancing with a customer is an art form. It involves following the customer in lock-step, making smooth transitions, doing an arabesque when the customer starts spinning you around. A sales call is like a night at the improv. You have a general idea of the topic (for example, “You just met your biological mother for the first time and she’s your best friend’s mom…go!”). But there is no set script and the next move is based on the prior move.

My best sales calls happen when I meet with a customer, understand their dance, follow their lead, move at their tempo, and be the Ginger to their Fred.

Val Swisher