The Demo Route That Shouldn’t Be Traveled


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Imagine you want to drive to the store to pick up a few things for dinner – a trip that normally should take 10 minutes one way. You get into your car, leave your driveway and proceed down the street. Your car is equipped with a very intelligent voice-controlled GPS, however, which decides that there are other options you should see on the way.

The GPS takes control and turns off from the direct route to show you an interesting restaurant it thinks you might want to try sometime in the future. You thank the GPS, and ask it to return to the original course. It does so.

A few blocks later, it once again changes direction and drives 5 minutes to show you a nice park. “Terrific…” you say, “but please return to the original course.” The GPS sighs quietly, but obediently returns to the original route once again.

After a moment of quiet, the GPS makes a left turn and proceeds 8 minutes to a new home-products and hardware store. It announces proudly that the store just opened recently and is a great option for everything from paint to plumbing. Annoyed, you tell the GPS “Please return to course!” It does so, after grumbling that you really should see all of the cool options it knows about…

At this point you disable the GPS and proceed directly to the store – dinner will be late!

What if demos were delivered in the same manner? This pathway of driving off course to show potentially appealing options is truly an example of Sales Prevention at work.

A solution? Just “Do It”. Take the direct path from a logical starting point to completing the task. Avoid the urge to take those turns off course.

For more tips and articles on demonstration effectiveness skills and methods, email me at [email protected] or visit our website at For demo tips, best practices, tools and techniques, join the DemoGurus Community Website at, or the Great Demo! LinkedIn Group, or explore our blog at

Peter Cohan
Have you ever seen a bad software demonstration? Peter Cohan is the founder and principal of Great Demo!, focused on helping software organizations improve the success rates of their demos. He authored Great Demo! - how to prepare and deliver surprisingly compelling software demonstrations. Peter has experience as an individual contributor, manager and senior management in marketing, sales, and business development. He has also been, and continues to be, a customer.


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