The rocket demo: how to effectively sell your product in 30 minutes with veteran entrepreneur and sales coach Dan Martell

Collin Stewart, CEO

29 May 2019

The product demo, an undeniable pillar of every sales process, is a fluid event. Accurately communicating your product’s value, anticipating objections, ensuring you have steps booked by the end of the call – there is a lot going on during a demo.

And all of it feels important.

But sometimes our feelings can lead us astray. Far too often, says expert sales coach and entrepreneur Dan Martell, demos become product displays, with sales reps running through every feature to make sure their prospect see every awesome thing they have to offer.

What’s often missing, however, is what’s best for the prospect. Remember, sales isn’t about what you have, it’s what the prospect needs.

“If it were just showing off your product, everyone would be crushing deals. But nobody ever tells you it isn’t about your product – all you are trying to do is understanding the problems your prospects are having. From there, you know how to help,” says Martell, on a recent edition of The Predictable Revenue Podcast.

“The best salespeople are ones that just recommend next steps and listen. They ask the right questions and don’t just ream off features, features, features.The best sales feelings almost nonchalant, but the salespeople have the process nailed. They know where they need to go.”

Key sales principles

The foundation of effective selling, according to Martell, is to internalize a set of guiding principles that inform how you interact with your prospects.

Martell’s key sales principles are:

  1. Demo, not tour – your prospect doesn’t care about signup flow or awesome settings design. Your prospects want to know that you can solve their problem. So, get straight to your product and show them how you can help. Don’t waste time.
  2. Connect to the pain – prospects love to end a call with a vague line like “send me more information” or “send me a one-pager so the team can have a look.” Unfortunately, they often ask that because you didn’t zero in on their pain for long enough. Furthermore, if you didn’t quantify their pain – the cost of doing nothing – then they won’t feel the urge to buy. But, if they knew the cost of the problem, they would fix it. So make sure they do, and connect to their pain.
  3. Lead by questions – you have to ask your prospect questions to understand their pain. So, be genuine, interested, and curious. Ask them how to explain how they see your prospect helping them. Show them that you really care. this is where the pros kil it.
  4. Peg the money shot – if there are three features you want to show, end with the best. Save the best for last!
  5. Virtual close – try to get the prospect to explain to you how they buy and, by doing so, reduce your sales cycle. Understand all the influencers in a sales cycle and get them involved as soon as possible.

“I’ve done a lot of selling – over $30 million in deals, with companies ranging from large to small deal sizes. Demos that never end is a problem – most sales presentations fall into this bucket,” says Martell.

“If you have long sales cycles, it’s because you didn’t set the frame right from the beginning. We, as salespeople, need to be more welcoming and get to the point faster. We need to get prospects into our world quicker and these principles will help do that.”

(Editor’s note: we had Sales Hacker’s Scott Barker on the pod recently to discuss some of his in-the-trenches prospecting tips. You can read about our chat here, or listen to the entire in-depth interview here)

The rocket demo

If guiding principles help prospects get into your world quicker, than Martell’s rocket demo is what gets immersed in it.

But this practice is also a two-way street – sure, your prospects get the benefit of an efficient, immersive sales experience. But the rocket demo also keeps sales professionals on track, adds Martell, by ensuring they focus on the what matters to the customer.

 

“I think my clients have a great technology – truly amazing products. They just don’t know how to communicate it to prospects. They get too enamoured around what they built,” says Martell.

“But, remember, this isn’t about them. Sales is 100% about your customer’s challenges. So stay focused and stick to the process.”

So…how does the rocket demo accomplish all that? By following these clear-cut steps:

  • Prep – research their business. You have to understand the prospect’s company and diagnose their problems.
  • Orchestrate – make sure everyone is on the same page and all parties agree this is a fit.
  • Agenda – review key features and provide an overview of product.
  • Feature #1 – address questions. Ask: “do you see yourself using it?” And, what’s the impact on your business?
  • Feature #2 – address questions. Ask: “do you see yourself using it?” And, “what’s the impact on your business?”
  • Feature #3 – address questions. Ask: “do you see yourself using it?” And, “what’s the impact on your business?”
  • Review – summarize key points and answer any questions that come up.
  • Close – find out if the prospect is ready to move forward. Find out who the decision makers are. Test the virtual close.
  • Follow up – book another meeting. If you can’t close the deal, make sure you have something scheduled to follow up. This is a critical step.

“This framework really helps set the right foundation for a sales call. It helps a prospect figure out where they want to go, where they are, and what are the frustrations they are facing. That to me is setting up the right frame. It’s not about selling, just figuring out if you can help,” says Martell.

“I like to think about it as if they are auditioning – are they the right fit for what you do? Having the wrong customers is a big pain to a company. But, if you learn up front, and understand your prospect, you can avoid that. You don’t need another customer, you need another success story.”

For more on Martell’s thoughts on sales – including a discussion on how to run an effective discovery call and his rapid fire answers in the sales lightning round – check out the rest of his interview below.