Deadly Demo Phrases

You could be risking your deal without even knowing it

In The Sixth Sense, Haley Joel Osment (you didn’t remember his character’s name either) famously said: “I see dead people…they only see what they want to see. They don’t know they’re dead.” This is a lot like what happens during sales presentations and software demos. Deadly Demo Phrases are the small things we say that kill our deals.

We’ve seen quite a few demos and presentations during our Demo Audits, and we’ve noticed a number of phrases that presenters use that kill their meetings. But, the presenters don’t usually know what actually happened.  In fact, when a presenter uses one of these phrases, most audiences won’t say anything – they won’t tell the presenter that their slides had too many words, or that the presenter clearly doesn’t understand their business. What they will do is politely sit through the meeting, maybe nod a few times, and then send an email a few days later saying they’re not interested in moving forward.

In our Demo Audits, we often share the Deadly Demo Phrases that we see. But here are a few examples of phrases you might be using (don’t feel too bad if you are – all of us have used these phrases before).

I see bad demos. They’re everywhere. They don’t even know they’re bad.

The Deadly Demo Phrases are deal killers. The extreme Demo Fails. The phrases that, when you say them, you might as well pack up your laptop (or turn off your Zoom) and go home.


Slow your roll

  • Thanks for taking the time to meet with us today. We are from Vandelay Industries, and we are here to tell you that we can deliver a 564% ROI, and no other vendor can do that.
  • Let me kick this intro meeting off by telling you about one of our customers. And, if you want, you can talk to them after this meeting!


Narrating the demo

  • Let me tell you about our founder/history/story
  • There’s a lot on this slide, but let’s go through it


Leveraging buzzwords

  • We’re going to leverage our unique expertise in cloud technology to drive digital transformation and create a single source of truth. That way, you can have a 360 degree view of your customers, all in a single pane of glass.
  • This is the big picture, blue sky thinking


I’ve made a huge mistake

  • Can I just interrupt [my colleague] to say…
  • Hey [sales engineer] – can you show the audience [feature the SE wasn’t planning to show]?
  • Our technology will make you so efficient that you can reduce headcount by half!


Let me Google that for you

  • I don’t know if this applies to your business, but…
  • I assumed you were in the sales business, but you’re just in manufacturing?


That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it

  • I know we’re moving quickly, but I have a lot to show you and want to make sure we get through everything.
  • You may not have asked for this, but I think it’s important so let me show you