How to Nail a Live Demo

An excellent product demo video that successfully shows off the strength of your solution can function as a key touchpoint in your funnel. In fact, the most successful product demo videos should be able to stand on their own when it comes to hooking a prospect and getting them to take that vital next step toward conversion. 

Sometimes, though, you may have an opportunity for your high-quality demo video to engage a prospect before you follow up with a more in-depth live demo presentation. 

You might have a great demo video on your website, integrated into a social media campaign, or running on a loop at your trade show booth  (or, this year, at a virtual tradeshow). As a companion tool. your live demo—whether you’re able to deliver in person or virtually—should keep your prospects moving forward on their journey, too.

With that in mind, how polished are your live product demo skills? After all, when you already have an outstanding demo video in your lineup, you want to be sure an in-person presentation lives up to the same expectations.

Practice the Art of Storytelling

Everyone knows that practice makes perfect. However, that only works to your benefit if you start by practicing the right things. Prepping for a live demo isn’t just about making excellent notes and then running through your talking points, though that’s a key first step. As you’re repeating your presentation in front of the mirror, your dog, your family, or your colleagues, you also want to be sure you’re practicing the art of storytelling itself.

For starters, keep your tone conversational so your audience reads you as genuine and feels good about connecting on an emotional level. Next, make sure your tech is flawless, even if you’re faking it. That means checking everything ahead of time (and twice if you’re presenting somewhere new). But one reason all of this prep is so important is so you can set up your audience to hear a great story.

You can present a good product demo by adapting these three main skills for quality storytelling:

  1. Read your audience and play off their reactions (be dynamic).
  2. Follow a narrative arc without getting sidetracked.
  3. Engage the audience with questions or other points of meaningful connection.

Here are brief clips of good product demos that take place as part of a live presentation. The speakers are prepared, engaging, and calm under pressure (even when things don’t go perfectly, which will often be the case):

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Step One: Know Your Audience

Before you begin to prepare, you need to consider who you’re presenting to and their understanding of your work. You want to be speaking their language, or at least a language they understand. If you also have the opportunity to get to know your audience on a more personal level, you can ace your demo by anticipating responses you’ll get.

Here are a few examples of different audience personality types to be aware of:

  • The quiet type: A reserved audience will likely require extra prompting and may not provide the kind of reaction you are expecting or accustomed to. As a result, you’ll need to be quick on your feet, ask questions to get them involved, and be ready to move on.
  • The interviewer: Someone with a lot of questions may take things in directions you don’t anticipate. Be sure you know the details of your product demo inside and out, but also that you have a deep, intrinsic understanding of your values and the heart-level emotional connection you’re trying to make.
  • The agitator: Prepare to be interrupted during your demo. This is one reason why a conversational tone is so important, and why you can’t rely on rote memorization. Go with the flow! The path is less important than the destination.
  • The problem-solver: Whether someone is curious or a contrarian, it helps to anticipate objections ahead of time. As you counterpoint, don’t forget the heart of your story. 

Step Two: Get the Audience Involved

This is where you make a connection and the real magic starts to happen. You’ve engaged your audience. Now, what will you do with their attention?

This is a great time to ask questions or seek participation. If you’re using your demo video as part of your live presentation, determine your “pause moments” where you can stop to go into more detail, or take the audience on a journey around a specific feature.

You should also be ready with a reply to the 3-4 most common questions someone may ask about your demo, so that your answers are clear, coherent, and knock it out of the park.

Step Three: Keep Your Audience Interested

Maintaining interest is a storyteller’s greatest goal. Be concise. Stay on topic. Get all the facts across. Anticipate problems or technical hangups. And do these things while following a solid narrative arc, with an emotional connection involving the pain points your product solves.

The key aspects to narrative structure are characters and conflict. Your audience should see themselves and their challenges in the character (or persona) you create, and they should feel empathy for this character through the conflict you introduce.  

It can be helpful to have an “enemy” to help focus your presentation around—typically a relatable pain point that enables listeners connect emotionally with your solution. Think carefully about how to present your solution and the problems it’s solving for your market.

Step Four: Wow Them with Your Demo Video

Your existing demo video can be an ideal amplifier of a polished, engaging live presentation. A great demo video packages the best parts of your live demo presentation into a concise, easily shareable format. It gives a quick overview of your solution, a compelling explanation of your offering’s key points, and a clear call to action. Alone, each of these tools serve slightly different but equally critical functions. Together, they can be a marketing and sales powerhouse. 

Thinking about all the ways you can put a new demo video to use? Take a look at some of our recent projects and let us know how we can help you highlight your product or solution with a video. Get in touch today.