How to Use Evidence to Justify Your Claims
The better you get at "sizing" up your prospect and learning ways to naturally connect with your prospect, the better you get at booking more sales. With experience, you also become more comfortable speaking with prospects and gain more product knowledge. Of course, your own charisma and people skills help you learn what the prospect needs too.
Tapping into each of those assets is helpful, but can also become a trap that hurts your booking percentages (A.K.A. closing percentage). The trap is that we get so comfortable with a presentation that flows so personally we forget to prove to the prospect what makes our products and services more valuable than those of other firms. We often enthusiastically discuss what we will do to help the prospect, but may do so without evidence to back it up. We may also discuss the facts without related benefits and assume the prospect will recognize the advantages that seem so clear to us. Evidence will help your facts and benefits standout and be remembered.
There are some salespeople who meet a prospect under the assumption that they will buy the product without providing any evidence. They may tell them about the amazing benefits the product has, but won't offer up any proof. Prospects want proof, especially when asked to purchase at a price point that may be more expensive than the competition. They need to see that the product is worth the extra money, not just take someone's word for it.
A great salesperson has evidence already prepared for use in their presentation, enough so that they can handle objections before they even arise, therefore improving their chance of closing the sale. There are many types of evidence a salesperson can give to a prospect.
In order to support your claims, you can show them evidence via:
- 1. Notes, references and reviews from past customers.
- 2. Allow them call and speak with past customers.
- 3. Warranties or guarantees.
- 4. Visual evidence, like photos and charts.
- 5. Published evidence (print or online) such as articles in magazines, newspapers, etc. They may be specifically about your firm, industry best practices or tools which your firm utilizes.
- 6. Explaining specific examples of where the product was proven to work.
- 7. Where applicable, demonstrate the usefulness of the product yourself or tell them about examples of how your expertise adds value in an area important to that prospect.
- 8. Simple facts: use facts that build credibility and make you worth more than the competition.
- 9. Statistics regarding the usage of the product, service and performance.
- 10. Analogies using the product and how the prospect benefits.
- 11. Testimony from an expert or person of influence.
- 12. Bulletins, updates and finding additional ways to expand your evidence toolbox.
An effective way to be prepared is to organize all evidence in a folder or binder in order to keep everything together. When asked about something specifically, keep tabs on where the best piece of evidence is. The simple act of formally gathering and organizing your evidence will allow you to more quickly and more frequently share it with prospects as a naturally flowing part of your presentation.
Unfortunately, many salespeople rarely, if ever, have numerous pieces of evidence at their fingertips when going through a sales talk. Showing a testimonial, photograph or other form of evidence from someone who has benefited from the product could make a world of difference to the prospect sitting in front of you (phone or on site).
The statements from the testimonials should be specific and accurate. The best testimonials show that someone else used the service/product and were happy with their decision. Always have the person's name and company (if applicable) within the testimonial – the more specific the testimonial is, the better.
There are a few ways/sources to get testimonials you can use:
- 1. Your business – a supervisor will likely have some letters (or PDF files) that you can use.
- 2. Getting them yourself – ask people you've sold to in the past if they'd consider writing a letter or review as well as if they can even be called occasionally.
This is an excellent way to find out what your customer valued about the product and services provided. Make sure it would be something they would say themselves, as well as put it into words that you find appropriate to share with a new prospect.
Many businesses guarantee some aspects of their products. That is a wonderful way to minimize the risk to a customer. By finding a way for you to communicate how you are willing to reverse the risk from them onto you, a significant trust and credibility advantage is earned. Put it in writing and bring your risk reversal offer with you. There are countless ways to structure this type of guarantee in a way that makes the prospect feel more comfortable moving forward while not exposing you or the firm to inappropriate levels of risk.
If your claims are best proven by photos, graphs or charts, take that along with you as well. Many people are more visual than auditory so they need to see it rather than just being told. Don't just tell the prospect that your product statistically does x, y, and z. Bring hard evidence with you that shows those statistics. The more prepared you are with evidence to make the prospect comfortable, the easier it is to sell at higher price points. Prospects will remember more of what they see than hear. Make it easier for them to know why you are worth the extra money otherwise when you leave they may go with the "low-ball offer" that was discussed with them instead of yours.
A. Write down your most common objection
B. List two or three "pieces"of evidence that can help overcome that objection as well as justify your price point.
C. Repeat the above process once more so you and your presentation have the evidence to overcome your two biggest lead/deal killers.
Remember, in many cases, your own enthusiasm for the product will be the best piece of evidence to prove that your services and products are as great as you say (but having extra ammunition to back it up is nice too).
Mark Anthony creates custom sales programs that are tailored to each clients industry and the specific needs of their sales people. He has presented programs on 6 of the 7 continents. For info please call 888-792-5128 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .