Think about how your customers know if your solution actually works. What evidence can you show?
- Let's say you're in the market for a new HD flat screen TV, sounds like fun, right? What's the first thing most consumers do? We go to the internet. We aren't there just looking for the various brands and their features, we're actually looking for information that will help us be more confident that we're making a wise buying decision. We want to know that others have bought the same TV and that their experience was great. We want proof. The need for proof that a product or service actually does what it says it does is rooted deep in our brain's subconscious mechanisms that drive self-preservation. We don't want to make a mistake, we don't want to get fooled. That will cause pain and we like to avoid pain. Proof that a product or solution works helps us minimize that risk. When it comes to the proof of your solution, there are five basic proof sources that you can pull from. The first proof source is that of the expert. Depending on the sophistication of your product or solution, an expert can really elevate the credibility of your solution in the eyes of your potential customers. There are experts in every field so it's not a stretch to think that any given solution could use this source. The more technical the solution, the more appropriate the need for an expert proof source. A good example of this would be a doctor helping promote a new drug or supplement. The next proof source is that of a celebrity. Celebrity endorsements are quite powerful particularly in the direct to consumer space. Using William Shatner to promote Priceline or Michael Jordan or LeBron James to promote your shoe and clothing line creates significant credibility and the desire to buy a solution that well-known and well-liked celebrities appear to like and use themselves. In the business-to-business space, celebrity proof sources are much less common. Next up, we have the user proof source. Regardless of the product or service, when you can demonstrate credibility through the eyes of the end user, you generate significant momentum and influence on new customers. Every website on the planet uses testimonials and reviews now to pitch their products. Using case studies and third-party reference stories in the business-to-business space is quite common and can be very effective if done properly. The fourth proof source at our disposal is the wisdom of the crowd. This proof source is like the user proof source but supercharged. Rather than a specific user experience, wisdom of the crowd taps into our deep desire to be a part of something big as well as our fear of missing out. This proof source uses the mass effect to influence. You know, if billions of people have eaten at McDonald's, then it must be good. If 30,000 people have joined a service, it must work. Volume of customers does equate to credibility in our subconscious minds. Finally, we have the wisdom of peers proof source. This technique leverages the known referral source. If you can generate a reference that the new customer is familiar with, you increase the influence factor tenfold. Now if you're someone I trust and you refer me to someone who has a product or service that I need, I automatically transfer a portion of that trust onto you. This proof source is the most powerful as it comes from someone the potential new customer knows and trusts personally. One of these proof sources is powerful but if you combine two or more, you can really differentiate yourself from your competition. Think of the various proof sources you have for your product or service. Create a list of ideas that fall into one or more of the previous categories. Now I want you to create a strategy to create and communicate these proof sources to your potential customer base. Keep these strategies in mind and you'll have one more powerful tool in your sales toolbox.
- Describe the overall phases of a sales process.
- Explain how to perform prospect research.
- List and define possible motivations, as well as enabling situations for change.
- Describe ways to establish credibility and obtain commitment.
- Explain the elements of post-sales activities.
- Describe the importance of process in sales activities.
- Itemize steps in the process for obtaining commitment.