Why Demos Fail to Sell


Why Demos Fail to Sell: A Question

Why do SaaS (Software as a Service) B2B firms make you go through a demo? This was the question on an expert platform I'm a member of. "What's with all the secrecy?" Why not, as is common in the B2C world, simply let the user download the SaaS and use it for a free trial period? Wouldn't that lead to better traction and more paying customers?

Before leaving Canada, I was Business Development Manager of a full service boutique IT firm. One of our main products was for network security. 'Book demos, book demos, book demos' was the direction. The idea was to get people on a call and screenshare appointment with one of our techs. My experience and understanding from then to now leads me to this conclusion:

I don't think it's secrecy. I believe it's bad selling.

"Look at this awesome thing I developed! Surely if you look at it, and I can control the demonstration, I can explain everything about it. Then you'll really want it!"

Sometimes a product or service creator can be fearful someone will "steal" their idea. They have not realized ideas are a dime a dozen: it's execution that is difficult to match! This could lead to the perception of secrecy. But I believe poor understanding of selling is a much more common issue in the SaaS world.

Underlying Reasons Why Demos Fail to Sell

Many products are developed because the creator had an idea. Not because the market told them they needed it, note. This is why so many SaaS startups fail. No need. Then they make up some sort of pricing structure which has no basis in reality and certainly isn't profitable...and then must go out into the marketplace and try to convert people into becoming users. Tough road!

What most salespeople (and people who shouldn't really be in sales, but accidentally fell into the role) fail to understand is that customers rarely buy because of ALL the features your product or service has. They tend to buy because of ONE of these.

Example: the network security product I sold had four main features. But buyers would only be interested in one of them--a different one each time. Only months later, when they came back and asked the now-perceived-as-expert (me), "Gee, we need X...do you know anything that does that?" I could then happily inform them, "What you have now does that already."

Sell first, educate later. Often, putting too many choices or things to think about in front of a prospect will result in overwhelming them. Another example: I'm a producer for a TV network. When we first meet with a prospect, I don't go into everything we can do. I stick to one big idea, and that's what we sell. When I first started in the field, I tried upselling, cross selling, what have you. Nope. All that did was confuse the prospects. Now I sell them on the one big idea...and then come back a little later, now that they're used to working with us, and pick up the other orders I knew would be a good fit following the first discussion.

What to Do Now That You Know Why Demos Fail to Sell

The standard belief is: "If I can just get in front of enough people and tell them about every single feature of my SaaS, I will get lots of customers." And to a degree this is true. If you see enough prospects, you'll accidentally make some sales. But you probably won't truly know why they bought.

The demo is an outdated mode of selling. The assumption that people buy because of features and benefits is false. These salespeople don't know any other way, though. They want you on the call. Live. Then, they believe, they can convert you into a paying user. On your own, as a consumer, you're not to be trusted to come to your own correct conclusions.

As a SaaS developer, what else can you do?

Don't develop your tool in isolation! Don't create something just because you alone believe it would be a good idea.

Ask your target market.

Do the people you're going to be relying upon to be paying customers agree this is a needed solution to a real problem?

What do they want it to be and do?

What size of a problem does it solve for them (pricing and validation hint)?

Do they instantly "get it"? Or do you find yourself mired in the quicksand of attempted explanations and blank looks?

Many, many SaaS startups have tried and crashed and burned because they did not find out the answers to these simple questions before they went ahead and developed their solution. It was a solution to a problem nobody but the creator thought was important.

If you asked these questions before starting development, and got clear responses from your target market, you would be able to create a solution to a real problem...including features your audience has told you they will pay for. Now do you need a demo? Of course not. The sales copy will practically write itself. User adoption will happen like a rising tide. At that point, it's just a matter of letting your market know you and your solution exist.

One final example. I sell a stock trading software currently valued at $5000 (the price is going up!). My discussion with prospects is NEVER about technical issues: I might have to answer one or two little tech questions, but we do not even look at the software. Buyers invest in the software because they understand it will help them make more money. I'll say it again: I have never had to do a demo or show a single screenshot of this software to sell it for $5000.

>> Do you have a question about why demos fail to sell, selling or SaaS? Comment below to let us know! And if this info helped you, please Like or Share to get it in front of others. Jason Kanigan is a profit maximizer for individuals and organizations that competently solve serious problems for well-defined target markets. For more information about Jason, click here. <<


Jason Kanigan Interview On Job Hunting

Jason Kanigan Interview On Job HuntingJason Kanigan Interview On Job Hunting? Yes! With the experience of having four companies create customized roles for Jason, this unorthodox approach has been systemized for anyone to use. If you have a core competency, and don't want to be fighting with dozens or even hundreds or thousands of other applicants for the same one boring job, this is for you.

With the focus on getting your unique value and skillset directly in front of people who have the power to hire you--NOT Human Resources--this process shows you how to:

  • Fight Fear
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and get the role you enjoy!

Details from the Jason Kanigan Interview On Job Hunting

The Kindle book by Jason Kanigan On Job Hunting outlines this method in detail.

In the interview I was asked if this process would only work with confident people. My response on air was "I don't want to rain on anyone's parade"...but you SHOULD be confident! If you aren't confident, what do you have to offer?! If you have skill, BE confident. Employers want what you have to bring to the table; they just don't know you exist. And trying to stand out in a sea of sameness in resumes and cover letters is not the way to get results.

Standing Out is the key to the fast resolution of a job search...and getting the role you truly excel at instead of "just a job". A templated rewritten resume won't do that. A cover letter you agonized about every word over isn't going to do that. Getting differentiating content in front of top officers is.

Listen to the Jason Kanigan Interview On Job Hunting

A critical change you almost certainly need to make is with your thinking about jobs. You probably think jobs are scarce. Well, advertised jobs are scarce. But jobs themselves are plentiful. You just have to know how to find them. Having a company create a role especially for you is easier than you think. In this interview, I tell you what the "Goldilocks" company looks like--which employers you ought to approach to have the best chance of getting the result you want. These companies have money, and for them to move $60K or more over to pay you is not a problem.

This is a perspective and an approach very few people can even conceive of, let alone execute...but it's not hard, and I've done it four times.

Listen to the Jason Kanigan Interview On Job Hunting right here:

>> Jason Kanigan helps executives discover the role they love with the organization that's a perfect fit. If you believe you qualify, contact Jason to discuss transforming your job search into an ultra-effective opportunity machine. Did this information help you? Please Like or Share to let others know. And if you have a question about the Jason Kanigan Interview on Job Hunting, comment below to let us know! <<


Taking Action Is Stupid

taking action is stupidTaking action is stupid.

Okay, okay, I have to add a modifier to that sentence in all fairness, but we'll get to that in a moment. For now, let's clarify what I'm talking about: the “TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!” roar you'll hear from the self-employed online marketing crowd. The crowd that doesn't have a clue what it's doing. The crowd that just fell out of regular employment, probably shouldn't be running their own businesses in the first place, and haven't got the elements of what it takes to create a successful operation.

Is that who you ought to be listening to?

Why Taking Action Is Stupid

So their idea of market research is to go onto a forum and desperately ask every passer-by, “What's working? What are you doing that's working?” They hope everyone else there is a little bit farther ahead of them, and can give them the magic beans or the magic bullets or the magic sauce that will make selling a breeze. Nope. Turns out, unfortunately, nobody else is doing much better.

I saw a Facebook post where a guy was proudly announcing he spent 26 cents on Facebook ads and made $28. Good ROI, to be sure, but why hasn't he scaled it? Because he can't. It was a fluke. It's baloney. What'd he do, get 15 clickthrus and get two $14 t-shirt sales? (Who knows...he didn't provide that level of information.) Is $28 in revenue something you want to brag about? Really?

That isn't a real business.

So these shouldn't-be-preneurs are all standing around in a circle—gosh, this is sounding like the beginning of a bad joke, isn't it—all chanting, “TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!” at one another.

Only nobody knows what action that is.

Make a list. Uh huh.

Promote affiliate offers. Uh huh.

Email your list once a day. No wait. Twice a day. No wait. Until you annoy them so much they start leaving, and then you scale back. No wait.

Nobody's really sure about this--but they are sure you should TAKE MASSIVE ACTION! on it. This is exactly the kind of reason why taking action is stupid.

If you took massive action and made $28...

...is that worth it?

...is that motivating?

...is that building something?

...is that worth bragging about?

If the game you're playing produces $28, let me tell you: you're in the wrong game.

And this is where following the “TAKE MASSIVE ACTION!” crowd leads you.

I told you, taking action is stupid.

You have very limited resources. Your time. Your money. Especially these two.

You cannot afford to TAKE MASSIVE ACTION! by picking an almost-random direction entirely on rumor, pulling on your soldier's pack and storming off that way.

That is stupid.

And what comes along with this crowd? Paralyzing indecision. Information overload. You crawl into a corner and sit there hugging your knees to your chest, mumbling to yourself.

This is where the crowd's unthinking chant leads.

If Taking Action Is Stupid, What Else Can You Do?

Here comes that modifier I mentioned:

Taking inexpert action is stupid.

When you learn a martial art, the instructor shows you the new motion. You mimic it. Your mimic is slow and clumsy. But accuracy of direction, like in drawing, is more important than straightness of the line. You get the idea. You keep practicing that motion. The instructor helps you correct it. In a relatively short time, muscle memory kicks in and you've got it.

You don't learn a martial art by going to a Jet Li movie and calling out to the audience, “Hey guys! What's your favorite technique?”—and then expect to know how to defend yourself. But that's precisely what the online marketing crowd is doing.

Expert action from a proven source of instruction is what you need.

The two best sources of expert action for creating a profitable business I know of are Jeff Steinmann's How To Quit Working and my own Price Power Profit Series (ask me about it).

The right actions need to be taken in the right order.

Taking action is stupid unless you know what these are.

Find a proven, trustworthy teacher. Follow their instruction. Taking action is stupid when it's done blindly. All you'll do is exhaust yourself and become depressed. Instead, take expert action and become inspired...become serious about your business...and become more wealthy in spirit and in finances.

>> Did this information help you? If so, please Like or Share to let others know. Do you have a question about taking action? Comment below to let us know! <<