As Technology consultants, you are often asked to explain the operation of some aspect of PeopleSoft in detail. You are expected to provide effective software and/or system demos. Your ability to do that has a direct and immediate impact on the way the client perceives you as an individual and as a representative of your company. Your professional reputations depend on this ability!
Since almost everyone in technology consulting has outstanding skills in one or more areas of technology, you should be able to provide effective software and system demos if you put effort into preparation and if you avoid common pitfalls.
Preparation is always important especially if you are working with a new release or if you are working in an area where you are less familiar. Before the event, ask the client what they expect to see. Gear the demo toward their specific requirements. Once you have defined the parameters of the demo, you should go through the demo in ‘practice mode’. Exercise every feature and click on every icon that you will discuss in the ‘live’ demo. You should do this even if you are virtually certain on the outcome.
While going through the ‘practice’ demo, try to anticipate the questions that the client may ask during the ‘live’ demo. When those questions come up, you will have a ready answer. If those questions do not come up, you can add them to the demo by asking the question yourself.
You can also incorporate comments into the demo that should cause the client to build confidence in you. For example, you can refer to how features that are covered in the demo were used by past clients. You may not be able to identify the client but you can describe how they used a particular feature. You can also describe a problem that developed at a past client along with how the problem was solved. One of the greatest benefits you can provide for your clients is to help them avoid problems by providing them the benefit of your experience at multiple sites.
There are several other tips to keep in mind but the most important is to avoid clicking on an icon for the first time in a demo. Avoid saying ‘I wonder what this does!’…before clicking on an unfamiliar icon. The result might surprise you!
Unless you are a great juggler, never juggle CD’s in front of the client!