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Show And Sell
The key to a great demo or mock-up is in not just showing off the widget but also presenting how customers can use it and interact with it. If Jan’s salesmen could take a bullet to sell you can surely consider moving beyond a slide deck the next time you pitch an idea
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In 1893 when the mayor of Chicago was shot dead on his doorstep by an assailant, Casimir Zeglen, a priest, decided to do something about it. He toiled for years and patented his new method of weaving silk into layers thick enough to stop bullets, creating the world’s first soft armour. Since Europe had the mechanical weaving machines capable of creating a large number of vests, Zeglen travelled to Vienna and partnered with an inventor‒Jan Szczepani. Since soft armour was a new concept, to create awareness Jan and his assistants started demonstrating their invention with death-defying stunts of getting shot at close range. Magazines like the Scientific American published photos of a dapper gentleman thrusting his vest-coated belly towards another top-hatted man who is firing a revolver from a couple of feet away. Before the days of internet memes or Reddit, viral images of stunts like these captured the people’s imagination in the early days of the twentieth century and helped drum up business. Jan mastered the art of “show and sell”.
Show and sell is not limited to travelling salesmen, it is also relevant to the vast majority of us.
In his book Sell Is Human, author Dan Pink argues that we are all in sales‒whether we’re employees pitching colleagues on a new idea or entrepreneurs enticing investors‒we spend our days moving people.
In most organisations, we spend our time pitching proposals and ideas to senior people and decision makers to secure resources and the organisation’s support behind new initiatives. Most of us use slide decks to support the pitch in meetings. But sometimes others in the organisation may lack the imagination to really see the end result. Demonstrations, mock-ups or prototypes can be a great way to sell ideas internally.
While it can be easy to blame senior people (and decision makers) for their lacking imagination, a mock-up can greatly increase your chances of success. It’s a unique way to present your work, present the decision maker with a real life image to help visualise and excite him (or her) enough to get the idea through. This technique can be particularly effective for new ideas and services that can be hard to imagine.
Everyone has a wealth of unique experiences that shape the way we view our world and accept information, using a demo or mock-up is a great way to help the decision maker visualise what you have in mind.
While agencies and suppliers can help you create prototypes, there are many resources available on the internet to help you create your own. 3D printing is also easily accessible to help create small-scale miniature versions of your concept. Sometimes even a curated customer visit can bring to life the problem statements you intend to address with your concept or idea.
While you plan your next mock-up or demonstration, here are a few tips to keep in mind.
*Optimise your time and effort. While mock-ups can be effective to sell ideas, you don’t want to spend too much time preparing it or agonising over how it looks.
*Keep it simple. Like most other things, minimalism is the key. It’s important not to overdo – limit the mock-up to what’s required to help visualise.
*Be accurate. It’s important to be accurate and not raise expectations or create confusion.
The key to a great demo or mock-up is in not just showing off the widget but also presenting how customers can use it and interact with it. If Jan’s salesmen could take a bullet to sell you can surely consider moving beyond a slide deck the next time you pitch an idea.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.
The author is Marketing professional with 20 years rich experience of building brands and new product launches. Bibliophile and blogger, currently General Manager - Consumer Marketing at Ford.More From The Author >>