The Art of the Demo
👋 Hi there - I’m Ash, and welcome to this month’s ✨ free edition ✨ of my weekly newsletter. Every Saturday, I share battle-tested recipes, strategies, and how-tos for systematically building repeatable and scalable business models.
Me: You seem to have identified a big-enough customer problem that you have a plausible solution to (feasible)… What’s keeping you from closing customers?
Founder: That is our next step. We are just waiting to finish our demo.
Me: How long will that take?
Founder: About two months.
Me: Why that long?
Founder: Creating a working prototype with the right data set to show customers takes that long.
Me: Why do you need a working prototype to close the sale?
Founder: As you know, we’re relying on complex machine learning algorithms. And so we want to build a working demo to prove that our product works.
Me: The customer asked for this.
Founder: No, but…
Thinking you need a working product (or prototype) to make a sale is a common myth in the product world.
This happens because we tend to over-emphasize our solution disproportionately. We both love the promise of our solution and fear the possibility of failing with it, so we tend to overbuild, overpolish, and overtrain our customers during demos.
This is our Innovator’s Bias at work; it does more harm than good.
When you show too much during your demo, you potentially
dilute your unique value proposition,
confuse the customer, and
expose yourself to more criticism and additional feature requests.
The art of the demo isn't to train or impress your customers with the breadth of your product.
That's a recipe for overwhelming them.
Then they ghost you.