There’s no catch. Most business owners are frustrated by a shortage of high-value sales opportunities. Why should a potential customer believe you deliver on the promise you make for your product more than the competition do?
What is it all about?
In a nutshell, strengthen your offer. If your potential customers doubt your product, your service or your firm, they will not enquire - they will not buy. Answer the following question brilliantly and blatantly;
Why should a potential customer believe you deliver on the promise you make for your product more than the competition do?
The more proof, evidence or reasons-to-believe you give them; the more enquires you will get and the more sales you will get. When you invest 20/30 minutes a week improving your four sources of proof, you’ll out-play all of your competitors – and chances are you’ll increase your volume of sales enquiries.
Two men are abandoned on the African Plains. The men catch sight of a lion as he stalks his way out of the undergrowth towards them. One man sits down and quickly changes his shoes. The other asks “Why are you putting running shoes on? You’ll never outrun a lion.” He replies “I don't have to, I just have to outrun you.”
If your competition has built more proof, more evidence that the promises they’re making regarding their product or service, you’ll lose (the lion is after you). Are you in any doubt as to the power of 4-star and 5-star recommendations on Amazon? Proof – and lots of it – helps you radically improve the number of sales opportunities you achieve. Just like it does at Amazon.
What’s next, and what you can do about it.
In a perfect world there would be no reason to disbelieve your claims about your product, yet customers do not trust everyone. Instead, buyers actually lean towards distrusting all marketing claims. Therefore, you must prove you’re worth trusting, prove you're worth buying from over your competition.
So, lets assume you have a new, fresh, cold potential lead considering buying your product. Perhaps a google search has brought them to your website or a prospective buyer has wandered over to your exhibition stand. Perhaps they're considering calling you or they’ve opened your direct mail letter and you want them to read more.
You have seconds to impress, and a lot of ground to cover. Time to put those four forms of evidence to work:
Statistical proof you can believe in…
How would you grade the quality and quantity of proof you have about your products or services? High, medium or low? Doug Hall’s book “Jump start your business brain” delves into a study of over 26,000 new products and services over 27 years, analysing ‘reasons-to-believe’. This research suggested those products marketed with high reason to believe the claims had a 43% probability of success (Medium, 29%; and Low, 18%). If you and your product have low proof, and you're going up against a competitor with high proof you'll lose.
Testimonial proof you can believe in…
When buying from Amazon chances are you’ll check out what the recommended comments are to help to determine your purchase decision, they even go as far as suggesting other related products considered by consumers. Open a direct mail letter and you're bombarded with sample testimonials. You too can use testimonials to help reduce doubt, increase proof and ultimately increase enquiries for your product.
Case study proof you can believe in…
You’ll be familiar with the way charities focus on a specific story about a specific named child or individual. They use this personal story because it works. It works far more effectively than any other fund raising strategy. You too can share specific stories about specific successes to demonstrate you're worth trusting too.
Guarantee proof you can believe in…
"Hot fresh pizza in 30 minutes or its free”
Domino’s was a faltering business until they introduced their guarantee to their service in 1973. They now have over 600 outlets in the UK alone. Similarly, Papa John’s “Love your pizza or we’ll deliver another one absolutely free” is another perfect example (Pizza is not an obsession of mine, I can stop anytime – I just don’t want to).
John Lewis, amongst other things, is renowned for its quibble-free returns policy. Interestingly, research by Brand Republic actually found that 21% of people mistook its long-standing slogan used to promote its price-matching, “Never knowingly undersold” to mean the exact opposite to the one intended; such is the illusion of value and therefore risk reversal.
Guarantees reduce doubt by reversing risk back onto the part of the retailer or business and therefore reduce doubt and increase trust in the claims they are making. They will do exactly the same for your business.
We don’t have the cash available to spend on marketing, this is all pie-in-the-sky anyway
I’ve heard this numerous times recently. Building a ‘proof library’ costs very little indeed, it just requires some of your time. If you have no marketing budget, simply invest time in the four forms of proof and you’ll build a powerful offer. Share your proof with everyone and you’ll build a flow of opportunities too! What is also neat is that the more proof you build up, the less you're going to need to spend on convincing leads to buy. Greater proof reduces marketing costs and boosts your profits.
Sales leads is an important number to keep track of in your business. If you want to discuss how to better measure lead generation and conversions, and use proof in your company, get in touch with us and we’ll be happy to help.
Do this today.
- Spend 30 minutes every week, as part of your weekly marketing activity, and you’ll build, over time, a preponderance of proof for your business.
- Start with some simple statistics about you - your number of customers, how often they transact with you, years of experience and so on. You can compare your numbers against industry benchmarks.
- Start by speaking to or interviewing your favourite customers, and you’ll be amazed at how eager and willing they are to help. Collect what they say, share this with everyone and ask if you can quote them. Chances are they’ll say yes. The bonus round entails an image of them too, to humanise and qualify their proof.
- Ask your customers how you’ve impacted them most positively over the last 12 months, if any service has been of particular benefit so on and so forth. Don’t just hand them a questionnaire and have them fill it in, you have to do the legwork yourself if you want to achieve the right results, and the right message for your case studies.
- Start slowly with guarantees, and as you get more knowledgeable you can expand. If you can, run A/B tests of a couple of guarantees on potential leads and see which works best. They key is to at least give it a shot.