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For the past few weeks, I’ve had the misfortune of having to evaluate a number of social media management solutions. I say misfortune because I’m looking for a very specific combination of features and that means I have to have some very specific conversations with a number of very unspecific sales reps. And it’s been hell.

If you sell software, plugins, SaaS (software as a service), everything in between and you’ve got a “Request a demo” button anywhere on your website, here are the things that you need to consider if you want to ever convert your users.


If I’ve found my way to your “Request a demo” button and I take the time to fill in more information than you actually need to demo your product, not to mention twiddling my thumbs ’till you email me with a selection of dates and times <insert random sales rep> is available to sell me your stuff, I would like to, at least, receive a demo at the end of this intricate process. I’ve been good. I’ve been patient. I deserve a demo.

What You See IWhat You Get matters more than you think. Trust with customers is built in time, through repetitive engagements that validate your brand’s transparency and reliability. Now, if you’re giving me a nice, glossy button that reads “Request a Demo” and what I’m really getting is a 3rd degree about everything from the business to my strategy and shoes size, how much can I truly trust your brand to deliver on what it’s promising?

If you know you need more information because you’re tailoring your demos, then don’t put me through several meetings. Instead, prepare a few scenarios based on which you can present an effective demo at the end of, what can be, a longer call. I’ve answered your questions, you’ve done your demo – we’re both happy.

Users are people too

While I really appreciate that you’re taking the time to take my money, you have to be mindful of the fact that you’re not really doing me any favours here. As a shopper, I not only have choices but I have a limited amount of time and patience I’m willing to invest in satisfying your growing curiosity.

This translates into an ever-growing reluctance to have follow-up calls which are noting more than Q&As, when the reason I got in touch with you to begin with is to see a demo of your product. Not only is this extremely frustrating but it makes the user feel like they have to somehow qualify to see an example of what your product can do, in exchange for what’s likely to be, a hefty slice of Scrooge McDuck’s vault.

Looking at your users as living, breathing people with jobs to do and little time to waste, will help you empathise with them. After all, your entire goal is to sell them something. To achieve this, you need to dangle a pretty carrot in front of them, not the promise of a carrot if they finish a 20-questions game. Think about the fastest, least-annoying way you can get your users to buy your product and put that user journey in place. Not a single step more or you risk annoying your users right into your competitor’s lap.

Do your own homework

Every business needs to understand its customers to be able to serve them well. It’s a given. But must you do it on my time? 9 times out of 10, if I’ve filled in that annoying form you’ve got on your website, you likely already have my website address, I’ve already told you my pain points, my budget and what I’d like for Christmas.

So, if we’re on what promises to be a demo call, for the love of sanity, ask me something other than the volumes I’ve already given you. God gave you two good hands and an internet connection – use them.

You have to look at these one on one calls with a potential customer as an opportunity to build a relationship, not to burrow for information you’re already supposed to have. Take some time before you jump on a call to make sure you’ve pulled together all the information you’ve been provided and if something’s not clear, ask for details, not a re-run.

Taking the time to do your own homework, finding out a little something about the person you’re speaking with and asking clarifying questions, will show users that you care about their time and the level of service you provide. Starting sentences by restating key pieces of information you’ve been given, will prove you’ve gone through it so filling in that form, wasn’t a complete waste of my time.

The Bottom Line

Brands tend to hide their most expensive products behind a Request a demo feature, especially when it comes to SaaS. Instead of using a golden opportunity to open a dialogue with consumers, they use it to dig for as much information as possible to bump up the price tag in the final offer.

In a world of instant gratification, disruptors and user-driven interactions, however, a brand centric-approach, dragging things out, as well as, promising one thing and delivering another will cost brands dearly. On the long run, frustrated users will give up and move on to the next provider, with a more human approach and a more user-centred engagement model.

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