The first mention of an elevator is thought to be around 236 A.D. It was nearly seventeen hundred years later before the first working models were actually installed (in English and French palaces, no less).
There was just one problem. If the lift cable broke, the cab dropped – wounding or killing everyone inside.
In 1852, Elisha Otis hoped to save lives (and make money) by introducing his safety elevator. And he did it with a very dramatic demonstration. In front of a crowd of onlookers at the Crystal Palace in 1853, Otis raised his safety elevator three stories high, and then cut the cable – while he was still inside.
But instead of plunging into the ground below, the elevator stopped when knurled rollers engaged. Otis was shaken up, but unhurt. As you can imagine, orders came in hot and heavy.
Otis’ demonstration proves an important principle about belief: If you want people to believe in the hard to believe, then simply demonstrate what your product does.
The blender company Blendtec’s attention-getting “Will It Blend?” YouTube videos are examples of dramatic demonstrations. To dismiss any skepticism about their claim that their blenders could grind anything and still remain sharp, Blendtec blended iPhones, hearing aids, rakes, and so on.
Views of the videos blew through the roof – as did sales.
Of course car salespeople rely heavily on this principle. Instead of wasting hours talking about a car they simply hand the keys over.
You must do the same. Find a way to demonstrate your product. Whether it is software or a service. You’ll have to be creative. And don’t forget: the more dramatic, the better.
P.S. Have you seen my new podcast Rough Draft?
Image source: Thomas Hawk
This article originally appeared as part of this Salesforce article (which I am told by a source close to the company is their most socially popular post).