A quick blog to give you some guidance on getting demonstrations from potential suppliers.

Your place or mine?

Surprisingly, some purchasers never visit a potential supplier – its imperative not to miss out on this! A visit is a chance to see your potential purchase in action, with the data volumes you envisage. If you plan to buy a multi-user system, then only seeing the software on a single-user portable PC isn’t always very representative.

It can also be quite fun, and very informative. You can have a good poke round their place and see their facilities. Talk to their support people. For example, suppose one of your suppliers existing customers main server breaks down right this minute, do they have a spare one (or even better, half a dozen) ready and waiting? Is their support area crazily busy, or does it look as though they could handle more queries (maybe yours) as well?

How many demonstrations are needed, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5?

It’s quite a good idea to have a quick “first round” of demonstrations to see what’s on the market. Then revise your requirements as appropriate. Then later, go back to the better one(s), to check that they have all the features you saw elsewhere.

The standard sales spiel

Try your hardest not to fall for this, the supplier has done lots more demonstrations then you have. It’s natural that they’ll want to show the strengths of their products, not the weaknesses. Agree and set an agenda!

8 Do’s & Don’ts for a demonstration

1) Yawn warning! It’s said that the average person has a concentration span around 15 minutes. So within this time the potential supplier should’ve shown you the software and made you understand what it is all about. If you have had a previous meeting, this presentation should DIRECTLY relate to the points discussed, and hopefully not just be a standard demo. Ideally, a show around the computer screen -> how it works -> solutions to the points on your checklist.

2) I’m lost! Deduct some points if the demo runs to fast or to slow, is too confusing, or if questioning is cut short or if questions are not understood. Also points deducted if they don’t actually show you the software in action – slide shows, diagrams, clever chat and videos are generally used if the software is not up to scratch.

3) Who’s attending? At least one of your most senior people / decision makers should attend one demonstration of the system you plan to buy.

4) The agenda! Tell the potential supplier what you would like to see.

5) Be precise! Don’t beat around the bush about a specific point – how exactly does the system handle a specific query?

6) Be picky but not too picky! Don’t be palmed away with things like “if it’s good enough for Jaguar Landrover it’s definitely going to do all that you want isn’t it?” However don’t be too awful to them, good suppliers can easily decide they don’t want your business.

7) Check the original checklist! If you have altered what you wanted since the last demonstration, let them know!

8) Ask questions! Simple as it sounds.

Here at Cuskit we are always available to come out and meet you and show you a demonstration of our systems, if you would like you could come onto site of one of our current customers and see the system in action! If you’d like to know more about our products or custom software solutions, please contact us on either 01827 312217 or drop us an email

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