If you have worked for a while in pre-sales, supporting salespeople by showing a prospect your software applications, then you know there are times when salespeople will say the darnedest things. Here is my partial list of “never say this during a demo” for the salespeople I have worked with (and I am sure they have a list of “never do this!” for me as well):
- “Can you show that thing you did yesterday?”
- “Let me introduce Dave who is an expert in…”
- “I just heard from Product Management yesterday that we are going to add that feature in the next release…”
I will could do an entire post on why this one is a bad idea, but the short explanation is that your demo guy/gal may not want to show that thing because it is going to blow up today! If you want to see a demo of something, ask before the presentation.
Most Sales Engineers I know don’t like the word expert and all that it implies. It is just setting us up for our credibility being knocked out later in the presentation. Better to talk about experience, years with the company, or just let us introduce ourselves.
For a Salesperson to be effective they have to build trust. For a Sales Engineer to be effective they need to build credibility. Undermining a Sales Engineer’s credibility during a demonstration by pointing out a mistake they made is counter-productive. It’s not an ego thing – Sales Engineers are wrong all the time and need to learn from their mistakes. A better approach is to wait until the break and discuss it directly with the Sales Engineer. Besides, you may have misunderstood what the Product Manager meant by “new feature”…