Case studies. ROI analysis. Client testimonials. A slick full of logos. Third party validation. References. Awards. Years in business. Number of locations. Global footprint. Press releases.
Any and all of these can be useful proof providers. But it depends on what you are trying to prove.
Some people build presentations around proving that they are a good, solid, stable company, the kind you’d want to do business with. More believe they need proof to even be able to command a conversation with their dream client. They mistakenly believe that this “proof” is what will give their prospective client the confidence to move forward with them. But the kind of proof listed above is most effective at the end of the sales process (or buying process) to resolve concerns.
The real proof you need to provide early is that you have the ability to create value for your client. You. Personally. Not your company.
- You need to pass the first test of being known and differentiating yourself from all of the salespeople who call each quarter only to disappear and be replaced by the next quarterly check in call. You need to prove you want the business and that you aren’t going anywhere.
- You need to pass the test of relevance. Do you have something worth talking about? Do you know something that will help move your dream client’s business forward? Do you have good ideas? You need to prove you have the chops, the business acumen and situational knowledge to stand toe-to-toe as a peer.
- You have to prove you know how to get from the current state to the better future you are going to help your dream client achieve. This is the test of control. If you don’t know what commitments you need, explain why you need them, and ask for those commitments, you will fail this test.
You should spend less time worrying about proof that your company can produce results and more time working on building the capacity to produce them yourself. The real reason it’s difficult to buy from some companies is that it is difficult to buy from their salespeople.
How much proof do you need to provide in the early stages of your process?
What is the best form of proof you can offer and why?
What proof works better in later stages to resolve concerns?
Why does trying to prove your value early subtract from your credibility?