Demonstrating a Product: The Key to Making a Sale

This article is an excerpt from the Shortform book guide to "Secrets of Closing the Sale" by Zig Ziglar. Shortform has the world's best summaries and analyses of books you should be reading.

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Are you struggling to make sales for your business? Why is demonstrating a product beneficial?

The customer needs to feel like they need your product before they will buy it. In Secrets of Closing the Sale, Zig Ziglar says that a demonstration can encourage customers to buy your product.

Here’s how to demonstrate a product to encourage sales.

Demonstrating a Product: The Benefits

To help the customer understand and feel that they need your product, illustrate its value by demonstrating the product, advises Ziglar. One such demonstration could be breaking the cost of the product down into the cost per use or period. For instance, if trying to sell a smartwatch for $500, break that into a $0.27 per-day cost if the lead keeps the watch for five years. This makes it easier for the customer to justify the cost. 

Additionally, use props to illustrate the value of your product. To show how durable your watch is, run over it with your car, for example. 

(Shortform note: A marketing tool that proves how successful Ziglar’s advice can be is the infomercial, a long-form advertisement frequently featuring product demonstrations and pioneered by Ron Popeil. His first infomercial, which aired in the early 1950s, was for the Ronco Chop-o-Matic, a food chopping device, which Popeil demonstrated.)

Finally, if you can’t use math or props, use vivid descriptive language to paint a picture of the lead’s future happiness as a result of buying your product. For instance, you might describe the lead’s run through a beautiful, verdant forest while using your smartwatch. 

(Shortform note: Ziglar proposes you paint a picture of your lead’s future happiness to induce them to buy, and there is indeed scientific evidence that visualization can catalyze action. When you can envision a future scenario—sitting on a sunny beach, for example—you’re more likely to take the actions that lead to it (buying a plane ticket, for example).)

Ziglar adds that to vividly demonstrate a product, you must prepare extensively for them. Develop a script or some talking points so you can pitch flawlessly. (Shortform note: Jordan Belfort proposes several specific ways for you to write a good script: Spread the information on the product throughout the script (rather than front-loading it), adopt a casual mode of speech, and write pauses into the script.)

Address Both Logic and Emotion in Your Demonstration

When demonstrating a product, speak both to the customer’s logic and emotion. This means you must make a coherent, logical argument for why they should purchase your product and also speak to their emotional desires. Doing this ensures your customer rationally understands why they should buy your product and sincerely believes it will improve their lives. 

For instance, when pitching your smartwatch, you might outline the watch’s capabilities—its battery life, waterproof casing, and ability to play music—and also explain how the watch will make the customer feel free and in control of their lives. 

(Shortform note: If you need more detailed guidance on how to speak to both logic and emotion, consider Brian Tracy’s recommendation in The Psychology of Selling to adopt a “show, tell, ask” format for your pitches. The first “show” portion most directly addresses logic, pointing out the product’s features. The “tell” portion creates a narrative that explains how the customer will benefit from the product—this speaks to emotion. Finally, in the “ask” part, you ask the customer questions that force them to use logic to justify their purchase.)

Demonstrating a Product: The Key to Making a Sale

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Here's what you'll find in our full Secrets of Closing the Sale summary :

  • What qualities you must develop as a salesperson
  • The six common customer behaviors you must understand
  • Five rules for crafting an effective sales pitch

Katie Doll

Somehow, Katie was able to pull off her childhood dream of creating a career around books after graduating with a degree in English and a concentration in Creative Writing. Her preferred genre of books has changed drastically over the years, from fantasy/dystopian young-adult to moving novels and non-fiction books on the human experience. Katie especially enjoys reading and writing about all things television, good and bad.

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