I was watching a series of demos that highlighted vendors’ customer-facing intake forms and portals – and all of these demos exhibited the following SAD (Stunningly Awful Demo) artifacts:

  • The vendors claimed that end-customers can complete the process “in 5 minutes or less…”, but…
  • They turned the 5-minute workflow into 15-30 minutes of click and talk, click and talk…!
  • They all used obviously fake demo names and data
  • They covered many or most of the possible pathways and options, sometime exhaustively
  • It was also obvious that the demonstrators presented the same demo pathway dozens of times
  • The prospect was largely or completely silent through the entire process
  • And the vendors never asked the prospect to provide input any into the workflow…

Here’s a truly terrific tip:  Invite your prospect to be the end-customer and fill-in the form by proxy, through you.

Let’s say your software offers an intake portal for consumers who want a loan.  You say to your prospect, “OK, let’s have you play the part of your customer.  Let’s use fictitious names and info as appropriate, but otherwise you tell me what to enter on each screen…”

On each new screen you can prompt your prospect or provide guidance, if necessary – but let him or her go through the process from start to end.

Advantages?

  • You and your prospect actually complete the intake form in 5 minutes (proving your original claim)
  • Your prospect gains a first-hand vision of how the process works
  • Your prospect thinks about desired options – and asks these questions either during or immediately afterwards
  • And is your prospect engaged during this? Yes indeed!

This approach is called “Customer Fill-in”.

Any time there is an option to choose from (and you don’t care about the choice), invite your prospect to make the choice.  They’ll be engaged and develop a growing amount of ownership of the process and the result.  Delightful!

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