THE POWER OF DEMONSTRATIONS

One of the most effective ways to convince your prospects of your value is to show them. While demonstrations might sound like a relic from the days when drummers peddled their wares from door to door, the technique is as powerful as ever, for everything from consumer products to business services.

When container ship line APL was trying to convince shippers of the many advantages of double-stack intermodal cars (the ones that look like a truck trailer sitting atop another), executive Don Orris kept hearing concerns about the quality of the ride within the shipping containers. Shippers worried that their delicate merchandise would be jostled and damaged during transit.

Orris knew better, but how could he convince the shippers? Finally, he decided to do a demonstration, creating a full dining room inside a container, complete with a chandelier hanging over a table that he set with expensive china. The container was loaded into a double-stack car and sent across the country in a typical train.

When the container was unloaded and opened at the destination, not only were the dining room and its contents completely intact — but the only change during the 3,000-mile-plus journey was that one of the dinner forks had moved slightly. Orris could have promised damage-free shipping until he was blue in the face, but his simple demonstration did more to sell his service than any spoken or written message could accomplish.

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