Category Archives: How To/Tutorial

SEU 014 All About Demos Part 2 of 2

What kinds of demos are there?

Are generic demos just as good as targeted ones? Worth the effort? Who should give a demo?
Risks & Rewards…
How do you actually *do* a demo (or present anything, for that matter)?
What should you accomplish in the first, second, and third minute of any presentation/demo?
How to give “qualified yes” instead of a “no”.
Who gets what out of these demos? And finally, we touch on just what an SE is really supposed to be doing, and how to keep your sales reps calibrated.

SEU 013 All About Demos! Part 1 of 2

Love ’em or hate ’em, there they are.

In this first of 2 video lectures, I hit the high points of “demos”, and what the word really means.

Why demo at all?

Can you close without one?

Do you even have a sales methodology, Bro?

We find that qualification rules everything, and what the earmarks of a lazy rep are.

Is it a Pilot? A PoC? A bird, a plane?

An SE is in a powerful place to give out power, and that puts you in a leadership role to making your reps successful-even if they don’t know you’re doing it!

What about making the prospect think they’re in charge-the one who is qualifying the other? But don’t give too much power to the prospect and let them drive, or else they will play their ‘veto’ card.

More of Pat’s triads, and “Never give them enough information to say ‘No'”…

What to do 15 minutes before a sales call?

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This is a small part of a great article here, written by back on Jul 30, 2013. It appears on

It asks 10 sales reps what they do before a call. I consider this also a great practice for Sales Engineers, as we often do a lot more research than the reps do.

The best thing to do with the 15 minutes before sales call is to review the work you did in planning the sales call. You did plan the sales call, didn’t you?

You’re going to want to review the outcomes that you need to obtain in order to either create or to advance an opportunity. Achieving those outcomes almost always means creating value for your clients at whatever stage of the buying cycle they happen to be in. What do you need to do for your client or prospective client to help them get the outcomes that they need from this call?

It’s also helpful to review your notes from your prior calls. Review the names, titles, and needs of any and all of the stakeholders you are meeting with before your sales call. And make sure you’re prepared to cover all of the commitments that you made and kept since your last meeting.

Finally, it’s important to be in the right state. It’s important to be in a confident, positive, resourceful state. The interactions you have with your clients and prospects are too valuable to take lightly. You want to be prepared to create value and you want to be in the best state possible to do so.

Many years ago, I created my first Meeting Planner from MS Word, and it was designed to be filled out ahead of time to make sure we knew-even in the middle of a call, what we were supposed to make sure we left with.

Not many sales methodologies mention these kinds of tools, preferring instead to focus on what ‘base’ you are on, or what ‘stage’, etc.

What do you use to make sure your expensive call is productive & profitable?


Why People Over/Under-estimate What They Know About Your Demos

Have you ever had a demo, and someone said something so ridiculous that you stopped in your tracks and paused, not knowing how to respond? The seem so confident, yet they are wrong. How do you tell your prospect that they are wrong? I’ll save that for another post, because today we’re talking about why they thought they were right.

From the Rationalpedia entry for Dunning-Kruger:

The Dunning-Kruger effect, named after David Dunning and Justin Kruger of Cornell University, occurs where people fail to adequately assess their level of competence — or specifically, their incompetence — at a task and thus consider themselves much more competent than everyone else. This lack of awareness is attributed to their lower level of competence robbing them of the ability to critically analyse their performance, leading to a significant overestimate of themselves.

In simple words it’s “people who are too stupid to know how stupid they are”.

The inverse also applies: competent people tend to underestimate their ability compared to others; this is known as impostor syndrome.

If you have no doubts whatsoever about your competence, you could just be that damn good. On the other hand…

Why did they even want to figure this out? They read the story of a man, McArthur Wheeler who… well…

The Story of Mr. McArthur Wheeler

On one fine morning in Pittsburgh (PA), in the year 1995, a man aged 44, known by the name McArthur Wheeler decided to rob a bank. Since he thought he knew a lot about a peculiar chemical property of lemon juice, he decided to smear the juice on his face before executing his plan to rob the bank. […]

source here

Back to demos and presentations, it is apparent that those who are very knowledgeable UNDER-estimate their knowledge and ability (kind of like ‘the more you know, the more you realize how little yuo know’).

But just as you’re figuring out, the less you know about something, the more you OVER-estimate your knowledge. You simply have no idea how little you know.

So our hapless CEO, in trying to trip you up, while impressing his/her flock, has put you in a very dangerous position. Either you agree with their error, or you correct them. Yikes!

There is a better way around this dilemma, of course, and I choose to ‘give them a way out’. Without getting too technical into how little I know about psychology (see what I did there?), a person who is challenged about their beliefs with expert information-especially indisputable evidence-is backed into a corner themselves. They cannot argue with you their point, because you come from a position of greater knowledge.

You are FORCING them to admit guilt! Demo Suicide!

I explain to them that there is ‘new’ information available (that they may not be aware of) that will allow them to make a more informed decision. I say something like:

“There have been recent advances in our industry that you may not have heard about yet that might make you reconsider your decision.”

You see? In this way, they are ‘off the hook’ for not making the best statement/decision. I’m just skimming the surface, but I hope this makes you a better demonstrator & speaker.

Further reading:

Full paper here

Wikipedia Entry For: Dunning-Kruger Effect

3 Essentials of Change Leadership

Culture Change is my Thing. I’m glad that not just the signs of a broken/caustic/costly culture are known, but also what you should be looking for in leaders to get you back in the black-people-wise and money-wise…

This article on LinkedIn by Greg Giuliano quickly shows what you need to dig yourself out:

The dominant topic for our clients in all verticals at the moment is change. This is the overriding business imperative they are all facing: The way we work is changing. How do we lead change rather than react to it?

There are three essential components to leading change successfully.

  1. Create a compelling vision of the future. Where do you want to go? What is the case for going there? How will you measure success along the way and at the end?
  2. Align thought and action. Is there clarity about what will be done to realize the vision, who’s doing what, and by when? Is there a common language and process tool kit for leading change embedded with leaders at every level to ensure consistency in execution?
  3. Grow leaders at every level. Do you have leaders who are agile and adaptable? Are your growing your capacity at every level to sustain high engagement and high performance?

Only you know how prepared you or your organization are to lead change. Too many negative responses to the questions above may be a sign that there are conversations that need to be convened with your key stakeholders to agree the vision, create alignment, and grow your capacity to lead change. The time may be ripe to define the future state, analyze the current state, and build a cohesive and comprehensive plan to frame the transition from where you are to where you want to be – in short, to lead change.


Easy Collaboration On The Cheap

Today we look at some free tools out there that allow you to do some things with documents (today we just look at spreadsheets) that you simply can’t do by emailing copies all over the place.


1. To give normal spreadsheet capabilities to all users. This also means more than one user can view/edit the document at the same time.

2. To let multiple users edit the spreadsheet online, without any software installed beyond an everyday web browser.

3. Allow seeing who did what & when, rolling back to earlier versions, and all the essential things collaboration requires.

4. Allow the downloading of the document (as it is in that specific moment) in a variety of formats. Users work off the master online, and each download is only a snapshot of the master at that time, and will not reflect subsequent changes.

There is more than one way to do this (with different tools), but we’ll focus initially on the best & easiest (free) one there is: Google Docs/Google Drive (they are going through a name change crisis now).

Note: You do not need a Free Google account to access/edit a document, only to host one. Let’s start first with an existing account, and create a document for us in this tutorial:

My user on Google will be my main one, Pat Trainor ( I will now log in and create a test spreadsheet for our use today:

Continue reading Easy Collaboration On The Cheap