This post is part four in a series. You can read part one on determining the purpose of the sales call, the second post on identifying the stakeholders you need at your sales call, and part three on exchanging knowledge and sharing information by following the links here.
It is a mistake to prescribe before you diagnose, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t sometimes have to provide some proof and evidence to open or advance an opportunity. Providing proof can demonstrate that you are worth moving forward with and that you can make a difference.
What Will They Need to See and Believe?
It never hurts to view your sale call through the eyes of your dream client. If you know where your dream client is in the buying cycle, if you have determined your purpose, you have the right stakeholders at the table, and you have prepared to exchange information, it isn’t hard to imagine what you might want to have available as proof.
Considering your client’s view can help you determine what proof to provide. If they are just recognizing their needs, you may have to provide some evidence that you know enough to help them think about their needs. If they have moved on to exploring their options, you may have to provide some proof of your capabilities and what makes you different in a way that makes a difference. Late in the game, you may have to provide evidence that you can deliver on the promises you have made and that you can get results.
Some Ideas About Proof
One of the reasons I am a zealous advocate for improving your business acumen is that there is not better proof than having the right set of questions. Your questions are what demonstrate how you think, and as a tool for helping your client think about and decide how to move forward, there is nothing better. It’s proof of what it might be like to work on problems with you.
If nothing is better than the three-pound power plant between your ears, the runners up by inches has to be stories. These don’t have to be written case studies that the marketing folks prepared. They can be stories about where and how you found clients with similar issues and challenges and how you helped them step into a better future.
Stories and anecdotes can paint a picture of how you have helped others achieve outcomes, as well as demonstrating your business acumen and situational knowledge.
You might also need to provide some tangible proof. You may need to demonstrate your results and show your dream client what is possible before they even know that they need to change. It could be reports, third party validation, case studies, white papers, or some other proof.
These aren’t full blown presentations; that comes later. This is proof that creates value for your dream clients and allows you to move the opportunity forward.
What proof should you be prepared to provide your dream client during your sales call?
What proof will be necessary to create value for them where they are in the sales process?
How do you provide proof without going into a full blown presentation?
What format of proof will work best for the purpose of proving you have the capacity to help your dream client?