As part of a thorough MLS selection process, I facilitate a number of MLS demonstrations every year for MLS clients. I’m always shocked when professional salespeople make basic mistakes and knock their company out of the running.
While it’s part of my job to make sure that the decision makers account for all of the information gathered throughout the selection process rather than just how good the demo was, if a salesperson has thoroughly embarrassed themselves and made demo attendees ask the MLS staff, “Why was this vendor was even asked to present?” there’s little I can do for the vendor when the final decision is being made.
Sometimes vendors have me come in to evaluate why their demos are not meeting with better response, and presentations can always be fine-tuned – but here are some helpful hints for a successful presentation:
- Prepare for your visit – know what integrations they want, public record availability and quality, mapping data layer availability and quality. Preparation shows you care and that your company is professional. Being able to say, “I researched this and found out…” always beats, “I’ll have to look into that and get back to you”.
- Another preparation tip – run through the demo before you go before the group. If you put in a few price ranges and keep getting a “No results found” or have to call someone to ask for a URL you can use for your demo, it looks bad.
- Never talk about how successful your company is, unless you can relate it directly to customer benefits.
- Show the core system – the “post login” screen, searches, reports, hotsheets, CMA, listing maintenance. Show additional functions, from calculators to roster. If they have an interest, be prepared to show the mobile product, PC/Mac based product, and your IDX/VOW solutions, as well as key functions for MLS staff … and whatever else is applicable to their interest. Time your demonstration so you can get to everything and still have some time for questions. Going the right speed – not to fast or too slow – can be difficult, but if the other vendors were able to do it, you should also be able to do so.
- Don’t get buried in typing – or worse, just talk about features without showing them.
- Talk about each feature in terms of the benefits to the users – don’t do a dry presentation of technology in terms of functions.
That’s a starting point. I could probably go on all day – if you’ve been through enough demos I bet you could too!
UPDATE: at the NAR conference I brought one of my clients over to a tradeshow booth so they could get enough information to make their final decision about whether to include a vendor in an RFP. There were a number of reasons that the client decided not to include the vendor in the next stages of their selection process, but when the presenter couldn’t show part of their product and went away for a few minutes to look for someone who could … that was when the client said, “Let’s just get out of here!” Lack of preparation and planning strikes again. Trust me, nothing I or the vendor could say after that experience would have the client re-considering that vendor – not that I would try.
Some vendors at the convention told me that they enjoyed this post … even if I wouldn’t tell them who some of the worst offenders were.
Share this post: