Selling technology to healthcare? Take a tip from news reporters.

By Brad Dodge on April 29th, 2009

News reporters use a technique called the inverted pyramid when writing news stories. The essence is this: write the most important stuff first because the editors may lop off some portion of the bottom of the story if it doesn’t fit. This translates into good advice for salespeople selling technology to the healthcare market. I’ve been in dozens upon dozens of demos, and my conclusion is this: many salespeople believe the best chance of making the sale is by showing every last bell and whistle the software or other technology offers. The problem is that the audience—the prospect—is not typically able to absorb all 635 features the rep wants to demo. But they don’t want to be impolite and cut the demo off in the middle, so they try to stay focused and pay attention. But if you look, you see the glassy film start covering their eyes, and you can be assured that from then on, even the best demo lines are going in one ear and out the other. The trick to a great demo—whether it’s a 5 minute demo, a 30 minute demo or an all-day demo—is to always start with a succinct 5 minute demo. When forced to do a great demo in 5 minutes, your sales reps will focus on what’s important—how the technology addresses the prospect's pain points, what the overarching benefits are, what other users are experiencing. After that, the salesperson’s key goals are just to keep reinforcing those key message points. And they may do that by demonstrating 635 features (if they keep the prospect’s attention.) But the most important part of the demo, the value proposition—will be cemented as the foundation of the demo, and long after the sales rep is gone, the prospect will retain the key points of the technology.