Doing live demos - Tips, Tricks & Tools

I’ve been doing live demos off and on for the last half of 2016. It’s generally worked pretty well. I’ve learned a lot. (I actually enjoy doing demos).

Background (My Plan)
My plan is to learn the following:

  1. Patterns of what people find confusing
  2. What every user needs to know for onboarding, and the best way to describe/present that
  3. What are the top 10 or so Use Cases (or “groups” of #2)

Then that’ll feed into:

  1. Updates for the programs
  2. Screencasts of the programs. (I’ll likely have a bunch of short videos based on #3 above.

What tools have you found useful?

I’m switching to (probably)

I’ve tried MyLiveChat, Teamviewer (works great, $800 or so, I prefer a subscription for $100 a year), (only one email notification is sent to attendees).

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Not a tool, but… by a co-incidence, I’m reading an awesome book from the founder of, Steli Efti:

Product Demos that Sell

I now see many of the mistakes the demo folks make, and it is pretty amuzing :slight_smile:

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I just added a live demo to my website which allows users to try the tool out directly on the site before signing up, It’s a little different from your situation in that the product is made to run on websites so it’s easier to demo in this fashion. A few interesting takeaways:

  1. Dud trial sign ups have decreased. I used to see a lot of trial sign ups that did nothing after sign up, that has significantly dropped since adding the live demo feature. I’m guessing people are using the demo page and then realizing it’s not for them before signing up
  2. Trial sign ups are more active. The people that are signing up for trials are more active in general than the sign ups before I had the demo in place. I think this goes back to the demo filtering out potential users. Once they see how it works they quickly “get it” or don’t.

I’m interested to see how you find Tawk. That is something I am looking to add to use for interaction with site visitors when I’m online.

Nice — hadn’t heard of Zoom, but I’ll definitely be trying it instead of GoToMeeting as it looks like a way better deal for a small startup.

A few things over the past few months have helped me achieve a better demo success rate. I’m still learning a lot, but here they are:

-Properly qualifying before starting the demo. Basically, don’t demo until you have learned what problem they want to solve, what they’re currently using, and whether or not this problem is a real (and urgent) pain for them. If it’s not right for them, be honest and direct them to solutions that would be a better fit. Otherwise, it’s a waste of both their time and yours.

-If you haven’t already, check out the Startup Sales Bootcamp free email course. It’s brilliant and has taught me many important tactics for B2B demos.

-Understand how the company adopts new tools (the full process). Ask them in the beginning what the next steps will be for them if the demo goes well. It’s easy to make assumptions, but every company is different and it’s important to understand how they purchase new tools. If you don’t know their process ahead of time, you’ll be in the dark.

-Schedule a time for a follow-up call DURING your demo. I didn’t do this at first and it led to a lot of confusion. For example, I thought that certain demo calls went really well and ended each call with “Great, I’ll send a follow-up email after the call, blah blah” and it ended up being very difficult to get to the next step and things dragged on. The solution was to schedule the follow-up call right there during the demo call. This made a big difference.

Curious to hear what has been working for others here.


I’d love to hear your favorite things from that book.

I read another book (demos! I think)

Key takeway: most people do demos backwards:
Don’t show how you would start, setup, and use it.
Instead, jump right into using it, showing how it works. THEN wrapup with the initial stuff if they are interested.

Think of it like the way James Bond likes to see a demo. he doesn’t want to safey lecture or the overview. He wants to DRIVE the Jaguar, and SHOOT the gun.

So skip right to the fun stuff.



+1 for prequalify them. I plan to do that via chat.

Also I’m doing Group Tours to start with. A bit more efficient, I THINK.

OH, and on prequalifying folks: and both have a survey feature, with option for required questions, which is great for prequalification. (Of course that time they’ve already signed up for a demo…BUT… I’m emailing folks who look like they don’t really qualify and getting more info and possibly suggestiong we are not for them.

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I recently added a ‘Schedule a demo’ button to our page and surprisingly it is used more often than I would have thought. As for software we currently use for the schedule and GotoMeeting for the actual demo.

During the schedule the potential customer has to provide us with the company name and team size so we can try to filter out students or single developer shops and send them over to a pre-recorded demo.

I’m currently doing the demos myself and follow a loose script:

Step 1: Trying to figure out what part of the software they want to use or which problem they want to solve
Step 2: Showing the use cases they describe in Step 1 inside our software
Repeat Step 1 & 2
Step 3: Ask about next step in process, try to get them to a trial or another demo with a bigger team / management
Step 4: Ask if they currently use a competing product and how they found out about me

I’m quite successful with this approach at the moment but keep in mind that my customers are bigger organisations (banks, insurance, …) so they tend to move really slow :slight_smile:

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The biggest takeaway for me so far is, as the book puts it, “demo is not a training session”. Demo is to show how the tool solves a problem the prospect is known to have.

I.e. the emphasis is on researching the prospect, finding their pain points and then demoing them the solution for those pains in big steps, without smallish details like what buttons to click and what configuration to update.

A demo in my mind now is a lot like a very targeted landing page, just on a different media.

The book also have a number of practical tactical details like “start with a bang” - show the big win in the beginning, how to re-gain the attention in the critical points of the demo - because people inevitable drift off in their thinking or just multitasking, and so on.

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Thanks for the heads up about the survey feature. Didn’t know that about Calendly – and it will definitely be useful.

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