If you are introducing an innovative new scientific product, you will likely need to plan on letting your customers ‘test-drive’ them first. Good life scientists are naturally skeptical and often the only way of getting past this to a satisfied user (that will tell their colleagues) is with a demo. Here are a few tips that should ease this burden and allow you to make the most of this effort.
- Only offer Demos to qualified customers.This seems like an obvious one. However, it is easy to offer demos to anyone that shows interest. It is quite another thing to actually conduct them. Be sure that your customer has the authority, budget and is planning to make a purchase in the next 30 days (if the customer is planning on making a purchase beyond 30 days, consider scheduling the demo later. (this is one of the times that being last is best)
- Establish clear success criteria for the demo with your customer.Schedule a meeting prior to the demo where you agree on what the customer would consider a successful demo (e.g. sensitivity, maximum measurement range, throughput etc.). This will allow you to unequivocally determine that the demo was a success and remove the final barrier to purchase (I say final barrier as this is a qualified customer – see previous point)
- Be sure to use your own sample(s) during the demo.Customers will always want to run their own sample. You can only show how your product performs using a well-tested standard sample. Using a standard sample will allow you to demonstrate how your product works without the confounding effects that might be present in an unknown customer sample. It needs to be clear that you have a tool that should help your customer with their research. A demo should never be a research project (unless you are offering a service and the customer is paying for it). Offer to run the customer’s sample along with your standard sample if the customer is insistent.
A good demo will go a long way to getting your new product into the market. In time, the need for customer demos will decrease. In their place you will be able to use testimonials from satisfied customers, reference customers and even a video demo or two.