The previous piece written about demos spoke directly to partner solutions. You can read it here. A quick summary, every company who expresses interest, regardless of size or potential revenue deserves a quality demonstration from a knowledgeable team member.
But there are two sides to every story. In the haste of the day, demos can quickly turn into a less than desirable, scheduled appointment. Maybe there is not room in the current budget, or capacity in the organization to take on a new product or project. When we listen to demos with a strict mindset, they can start to seem like a waste of time.
What is Your Responsibility?
There is a responsibility on you to discover and learn about new, or revamped solutions designed to improve one’s vitality and quality of life.
You are the gatekeeper to great resources like innovation, life changing tools for older adults and their families, much needed efficient and effective staffing solutions, mobility aids, dignified and evidence-based content, or new designs for development and structures. There are thousands of people with unrelenting passion to improve the life of every person as they navigate later years.
View demos as a window into the world of possibilities and the future state of your industry. A clear view into the desires and wishes of your future consumer. View it as quick crash course into lifetech and new ideas from around the world aimed at turning Earth into a more age inclusive and friendly environment.
Beyond the Sales Pitch
Demos will always come with a sales pitch. That is the other side of that passionate and creative entrepreneurial mind. Yes, there is a need to make money to continue to refine the design and reach more people. But commit to first giving that person, or product a clean slate to start. Do not assume anything and have an open mind.
We are all a bit jaded and cynical when it comes to giving freely of our time when we think it could be better used elsewhere. But what if in that demo/pitch you discover ideas, further enhancing your personal creativity and problem solving mind opening up new realms of application? Maybe you realize you do not need that product, but the idea they are trying to pitch is something that can transform how you think about your role and commitment to deliver the best in class services and offerings.
Do not simply view yourself as a potential customer, rather a student deciding to be present and attentive to unlock an even greater understanding of the bubbling well-spring that is the longevity economy.
A Handful of Takeaways
If you are burnt out, strapped for time and contemplating if you should say yes to a demo (when your first notion is to say no), here are a handful of tips that will make it worthwhile, even enjoyable:
- Be the One to Set the Tone
Put together some initial thoughts that you can share at the beginning of the meeting. Research the product and bring your questions to the table. Start by asking the other party why they think you or your organization is a good fit for the product or solution. Create parameters and verbalize what it is you want to take away from the meeting it sets the tone for a more constructive, engaging conversation that creates value for both people and/or groups.
- Communicate the Current Obstacles and Pain Points
Elaborating a bit on current obstacles or pain points in your setting or organization in regards to technology, vendor partners, staffing, resources or budget can quickly align intentions and keep communication on track to address how this solution could solve an existing problem or opportunity. Providing real life circumstances will help those demoing focus on how their offering or service can directly impact what it is you would like to make better!
- Dismiss the All or Nothing Concept
One issue I see over and over again is that a product or service is thought to be applicable to everyone in the community or organization. View the end customer as an individual, not necessarily a large group of people. Levels of care come into play hugely in this scenario. Be vocal about who and why one would benefit from this type of addition. Every person that you cater to may not be the end user, recognizing there may be a different use case, challenging the notion that success is not a predetermined metric for adoption at a certain point in time.
- Envision the “Customer” in a Different Manner
Sometimes the “customer” is not the organization or community, rather the end-user. It is not plausible for a company to absorb all the costs of innovation, never to pass on the costs to those that find it valuable and worthwhile. Giving your customer’s choice for utilization is important. I see this most often with fitness, content, exercise, brain health, spa services, and more. Many of your customers are spending their own money on products and services outside the walls of your organization. Vetting and bringing in the best in class, evidence-based and research backed offerings will increase trust and reputation of your brand, while also delivering on your brand promise of being informed and up to date on solutions that can truly make a difference. You also take on the brunt of consumer research for hundreds of people because you are closest to the companies deploying new inventions and offerings.
- Rank and Keep a Record of Your Demo Encounters
Create a system and checklist to rank the demo. Who will benefit? How easy is it to use? What is the cost and ROI for an organization and end-user (customer). What does customer support look like? How disruptive will the implementation be? What is a red flag or something that stood out as a major concern? Is there a way to start small and scale once efficacy is achieved? Identiify the benchmarks for success? How are they documented? Ask for current customers and peers to learn more in a non-demo and sales environment. Learn about the other competitors and what makes them stand out, or different? Probe about their current roadmap and what is a priority for the next 6-12 months? Is your organization factored into ongoing development and customization?
Many demos will start to look and sound the same, making it difficult to evaluate if there is not a way to objectively grade and rank the various components of a solution.