There is nothing greater than a product demonstration when selling or buying a new product. For the seller, he’s showing the truth of his claims. For the buyer, he’s making the best evaluation of the product.
But, no one wants a product demo, and who can blame them? Demos can be expensive to put on. So instead they use shadows of the product demonstration: brochures, videos, emails, trade shows, sales pitches and word of mouth.
But they are only shadows. The best brochures have the work of great graphic artists. Written by clever writers who use a lot of great adjectives (that Google has supplied) to impress you. But, if your questions aren’t being answered in the brochure, rereading it isn’t going to help.
Product videos are constantly improving in quality. The real appealing ones have a scriptwriter, attractive actors, and authoritative voice overs, accompanied with music to match the excitement of the new product. All filmed in HD. The best videos are heavily edited and reveal no shortcomings in the product.
The best Trade Shows bring the seller’s top sales people. If you get a chance to talk to them, it’s highly rewarding. But to get there is usually the sticking point. Someone has to go there on the company’s time and dime. They usually have to take a plane trip, stay in a hotel, and find some transportation to the event. If there are any product demos, they’ll be limited. For example you’re not going to be seeing structural beams being welded.
Good welding distributors aren’t great fans of demos either, especially when demonstrating welding machines. There’s little profit in the sale of a welding machine. The sales person also knows the customer always has the option of putting out a RFQ (Request For Quotation) for the machine – and he has no control over that. So, here he’s done all this work, meaning other work didn’t get done, and nothing to show his boss.
Although, there are times when a good welding distributor will do a demo at a customer’s location, knowing he’ll win. Yes, win without a sale. And there are 2 good reasons why. One, he knows the product will make a difference – its new technology and will be shaping the future in the welding business. So, every time
it’s being demoed, his knowledge and understanding will be growing. Two, he gets to understand his customer’s view point, something he’s always trying to master.
But when should the customer allow a demo in his location? Answer: when he’s in the same boat as the seller – regardless of whether he buys the new welding product or not, he’s a winner. We know this didn’t happen, but can you imagine the day when telephones were rotary and someone showed up the next day with a smart phone. You might not be in a position to buy a smart phone but, after the
demo, you’d be a lot wiser in the future of telecommunication, how this new tool can change your business, and how you’ll want to spend your future dollars.
How do you know this is THE PRODUCT that you should give time to? One, you’ve got a trustworthy sales person who knows your business and he says “Do It”. Or, if you don’t have someone like that make sure the product is something you’re not familiar with, and the brochures and videos can’t answer your questions.
Don’t have a demonstration at your location without getting some conditions in first. This is because there is such thing as lousy and excellent demos, and you don’t want to waste time. Also, there are significant costs involved in a proper demo for seller and buyer; you don’t want to be wasting money.
So, here are 4 things that need to be in place before you say yes:
1. See the manufacturer rep. Make sure they’re there for the demo, the rep should be the most knowledgeable person (although it’s always possible that they aren’t).
2. Work on your products, you should supply the materials you want to be welded.
3. Use the product; don’t just let the sales person doing the entire demo without getting a chance to try it out yourself.
4. Make sure the timing works for your people.
We hope this helps you to get a good demo and how to stop a poor demo before it happens. In the welding business, we need to be going forward not backwards.