Some people call it trust, others write it off as “having faith,” I prefer to think of it as being efficient, but in the end, all the rationalization in the world won’t save you from the chaos caused by neglecting to review the information others share. When I heard how a Google skim-job and haste-fully chosen hotel room left Liz with a reservation in Santa Fe, New Mexico instead of the Santa Fe neighborhood of Mexico City, I thought: “Great Sapient!” Liz’s story carried top billing for two days, until my laziness played directly into Chuck’s hand and set me up to “one up” her.
Half way thru a day of training, I get an email from Chuck containing the time and address of our dinner reservation. A quick cut and paste on the iPad showed the restaurant 13KM away, well out of the advertised “walking distance” range, so I challenged the address. Chuck immediately replied by sending me a link to a pin on a map. Nice right? Yea! That’s what I thought too… I proceed to map some walking directions, and Bruce and I hit the street. Forty Five minutes later we’re standing under a viaduct on an exit ramp like some sort of stolen socks salesmen, squarely on top of the pin, with no restaurant in sight! Now having had TWO Sugar employees provide me directions that terminated in the retail desert, I vow to do my own navigation research from here on out. Then just as I begin to rant about it, Chuck sends an incredibly charming “are you joining us” text. It was in that moment I understood why software demos sometimes take such odd turns.
I bet you can recall a time when a prospect provided a list of demo requirements, a long ledger of items to cover, that you leveraged directly to drive the demo’s agenda. As you click your way thru the application, systematically hitting each item along the way, the client sits quietly and watches. Upon completion you confidently poll attendees for questions, and someone glibly asks you when you were planning to demonstrate their use case. WHAT? That’s what you just did right?!? Probably not, because if you’re anything like me with the map, you assumed the client understood your product well enough to develop a list that accurately reflected their requirements. I forgot Chuck isn’t intimate with Mexican maps, just like your prospect doesn’t appreciate your application’s nuance. Instead of seizing the opportunity for control and leadership, our choice to “go with the flow” leaves us moving in circles instead of forward.
So this week, don’t cut corners. Take the time to confirm everyone is on the same page and understands both the day’s agenda and demo’s purpose. Doing so will ensure you don’t find yourself in some dark corner of the application completely devoid of direction. Own the agenda, remain focused, verify value recognition, and use the demo as it should be used: as a tool to advance the sales cycle.