How to Develop a Proof of Concept (and Impress Your Customer)
5 min read
When you are selling a service, you need to provide some proof that your service works. Chit-chatting is not enough. At some point, the customer will ask you: "it sounds interesting, how can we be sure that what you are saying actually works?" 👀
It's time for you to play the "Let's build a PoC" card.
A Proof of Concept (PoC) is a very simple application built to prove the technical feasibility of a product requirement. It's the process that transforms the technical discussion to the real implementation. The goal is to have proof that the requirements are met. You may argue why it's your responsibility to build a PoC for your customers. At the end of the day, you are quite sure about your service meeting their requirements and they are the ones that need your service.
Sure, but in the real world you have to sell and most likely you have competitors ready to steal the customer from you. Moreover, you have the expertise of your service, so building a proper PoC with the right architecture would be easier and more effective for you.
How To Develop a PoC
Understand requirements: before developing the PoC, you have to have clear in mind what are the requirements from the customer and what you are trying to demonstrate. You don't want to jump into a meeting showing a useless demo to your customer. It's a waste of time for him and for you. Agree on the requirements, put them down in writing and get the confirmation from the customer.
Make it work: the scope of your code is to show that a particular feature, product or process is feasible. You will have to show the working demo to the customer and the code eventually. Be sure that the environment used to host the demo is up and running.
If I had a pound for every time I heard: "The demo was working the other day, I think something it's not right at the moment but don't worry we can fix it in a few hours and show it to you in the next meeting, are you available tomorrow?"
Well, guess what, the customer is lost.
Always prepare for the worst. I always record a video of the demo if for any reasons it's not working during the meeting, I have my plan B.
Look For The Wow Factor
So far you have prepared the demo and you are ready to show it to the customer.
Very likely, your competitor has done something very similar to you. So, how can you impress your customer and be the one that they will remember?
Customise! Customise your demo with customer's brand. Showing a default demo to someone is kind of okay, it proves that you are a good developer and that your product works for their use case. The problem is that outside there are tons of competitors ready to steal your customer.
Details matter. If you are able to provide a personalised demo to the customer, he will remember you out of the others. Showing a demo with their brand UI and palette gives a better view of what they can do with the product you are selling. You don't want to be like all the others in the market, you want to impress and be remembered!
Building a Proof of Concept is one of the steps needed when you are selling a service. It shows the features of your product within the customer's context and helps you on the selling phase. Doing it in an effective way bring you more chance to close the deal.
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