Cutting the cord on baseless claimsWritten by Tom Richard | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Anyone with children has, at one time or another, asked the question, “Did you brush your teeth?” Opening their mouths wide and showing their pearly whites, my kids respond by breathing on me to demonstrate their fresh breath.
Breathing on Mom and Dad may work for children demonstrating their freshly brushed teeth; but, in today’s business world, most demonstrations are nothing more than hot air.
In 1853, however, at the New York Crystal Palace during the World’s Fair, Elisha Graves Otis performed one of the best demonstrations in history, while unveiling the first “safety elevator.” Prior to that time, the nation was afraid of riding on elevators due to a high percentage of accidents. To offset this fear, Otis demonstrated his new elevator by standing on a platform as it was raised to the height of a four story building. Then, in the spirit of dramatic theatrics, he had the suspension rope cut. Instead of plummeting to his death, Otis remained safely in place.
Otis’ historic demonstration changed the elevator industry and Otis Elevators took a prominent position in the elevator industry — all because of one, powerful demonstration proving elevator safety.
Proof has power when it is used properly. Master salespeople always use proof to close sales; though proof has even more power when added to the beginning of a conversation, instead of as an added, subordinate afterthought.
Merriam-Webster defines proof as “something that induces certainty or establishes validity.” I define proof as belief in one’s claim and understanding of one’s value and purpose. So, what are you doing to bring proof into your conversations, presentations and proposals? If you do not have the answer immediately, there is a good chance that you have serious room for improvement of your proof.
To discover and develop your proof elements, start by asking yourself what you’re trying to prove. Otis was trying to prove that his elevators were safe. He needed a way to deliver undeniable proof that his elevators were safe, so he climbed onto that platform, raised it into the air, and cut the suspension rope. That was strong, visual proof.
To find your proof, you must first decide what you’re trying to prove. Proof is not a claim or something you say. Proof is not a guarantee of satisfaction; nor is it a statement of how long you have been in business or how many customers love you.
Your proof will be different. As you sift through the list of benefits and features of your own product or service, turn on any television infomercial and watch the endless litany of proof elements that is delivered. Infomercials cycle among demonstrations, customer testimonials, and scientific studies. They deliver all three elements and then repeat variations of each throughout the show. As you watch, ask yourself how you can package your conversations in the same fashion.
Are you promising durability or strength? Demonstrate it. Prove it. Are you promising fast and accurate deliveries? Demonstrate it. Prove it. Are you promising significant savings or an increase in sales? Demonstrate it. Prove it.
Take the proof elements that you create and pepper everything you touch with them. Add them to the beginning of your conversation, add them to the middle and add them to the end. Remember to add them to your Web site, your sales letters and your promotions — add proof elements to everything.
You and your business will stand out in a world of baseless claims and unbelievable offers. No longer will you look, sound and act like all of the competition because, for the first time, you will have undeniable proof and, for the first time, you will no longer be breathing hot air on your prospects like my son does on me when I ask, “Did you brush your teeth?”
For more ways to add proof into your conversations, visit www.boltfromtheblue.com and enter the word PROOFBRUSH in the blueprint box.
Tom Richard is a Toledo-based sales and marketing consultant, keynote speaker and owner of Bolt from the Blue direct response advertising. Visit www.BoltFromTheBlue.com or call (419) 441-1005.