You’re one social interaction away. One call away. One email away. One meeting away. One proposal away. One presentation away. One contract away.
Sometimes you meet that one connection. You know you’re right for them. They know they’re right for you. It seems like a match made in heaven but for some reason you don’t get the deal.
Sometimes business development and solution selling sucks!
And yes, even if you’re chanting my sales mantra #22, “Rejection is God’s protection.”
So, let’s get real here and look at why.
Introducing your most effective salesperson
Business development can often feel like an uphill struggle when you’re starting out. Whether it’s you riding your own back or your manager, converting opportunities is not an easy game. And when I’m teaching my students about an aspect of entrepreneurship; or speaking at an event, I never forget to remind them that there’s always a framework to follow if you want to get it right.
So let me ask you this. What framework are you using when it comes to how you’re making your value proposition, marketing messaging and unique selling propositions (aka your claims)?
The reason I ask is because if you’re not doing it the right way, it really can cost you your sale. With 60% of the buying journey occurring online it has never been so relevant. In today’s business world, attention spans are low and “noise” is high. It’s vital you pick the right way to prove your claims. Otherwise, they’re not going to be believable.
So let someone else do your bragging.
Cue the sales ambassador
As you’re not just trying to make one claim about you or your services, you need to use different methods to prove each claim. Some will be spoken; some viewed; some heard. In the digital era, we’re oh so kinaesthetic!
When it comes to viewing (as in reading), third-party indicators, such as awards are your aid; as are testimonials and social proof (comments and reviews) via review sites and your own website. Website design can be hugely influential too. Inga Spouse advocates this and frequently works with clients at both the design phase start or mid way through. By changing the location of something within the design of their page, she can help them increase the conversion of visitors to sales. Color (colour) is equally important as it can help convert sales by up to a whopping 80%.
So here are my 6 top tips for making your claims and helping you to convert sales.
6 tips to convert sales via claims
1. Tell the truth and make it verifiable: If your client can’t instantly verify a claim they’ll assume it’s false.
For example, if you say you help clients with social media and I see that you only have a few hundred followers on your Twitter or Facebook pages I’m going to have some doubts!
2. Choose specificity i.e. quantitative over qualitative: Substitute general descriptions with specific facts. You need to become very specific with quantitative facts, and if you ever need to use qualitative facts make sure a third party does this for you.
To illustrate this point, here are some examples:
Don’t do this: “Fully managed, dedicated services delivered by experts … backed by proven accreditations.”
Do this instead: “… our consultants hold the highest levels of global information security accreditations for example; CISSP, CISA, CHECK, CLAS, CREST, PCI-DSS and PCI-QSA. We are also the only information security consultancy to be ISO27001, ISO9001, PCI-ASV and PCI-QSA certified.”
Don’t do this: “… we provide reliable services …”
Do this instead: “All of our solutions are backed by stringent SLAs with cash rebates for under-performance: 1) 99.9% uptime guaranteed 2) guaranteed 1hr response time 3) guaranteed 4hr time to repair.”
Don’t do this: “Most accurate mailing lists … We have the best data … Industry leader in …”
Do this instead: “We clean our data daily by making 26 million phone calls per year … Trusted since 1972 … 210 million U.S. clients … 600 full-time researchers.”
Never forget your objective. Your job is to engage the reader and to entice them to read further content so they either contact you for more information or opt in to receive regular updates. At a headline level you’ve literally got about 10 seconds to do all of this which equates to about a few lines of text.
It’s similar if you’re doing this via video or sound (for a podcast). You only have a few seconds. If you watch my videos you’ll notice that I tell my viewers what the shows going to cover and who it’s for right at the very start.
3. Admit your weaknesses: You can’t possibly be everything to everyone. So tell your clients what you’re not and what you can’t do. This helps reduce objections and you can use it for both your copy and when you’re in front of clients during meetings.
Doyle Dane Bernbach’s famed print ad for Volkswagen from 1966 had the headline, “Ugly is only skin-deep.” The first line of copy said, “It may not be much to look at.”
By admitting the VW’s notable lack of style for the era, the ad could then focus on the car’s positive qualities in a more believable way. It tackled the elephant in the room from the get-go!
4. Tell one clear story: Be careful not to blow your efforts with opposing elements of your website, mailshot campaigns or customer interactions.
Tell one clear story and tell it well.
Join things up and operate as a united team. Make sure anyone who’s involved in conveying your message (which should be the whole of your company) is singing from the same hymn sheet.
5. Keep it stupidly simple: Your buyers can’t read your mind so help them see what sets your company apart from the competition.
So many businesses are better than others, and they could prove it. They just don’t.
Instead, they try to persuade their buyers with general promises, corporate babble, and feature lists. Or they just ask you to buy before telling you what they sell.
If your website doesn’t clearly tell your visitors what makes you worth their attention (and money) you’re dropping the ball. You can bet your last bottom dollar that they’re not going to hang around to figure it out too.
And that’s why you HAVE to hit them right between the eyes with what makes you different and worth their attention.
Don’t worry about being creative here either. So long as your copy gets the job done that’s good enough. Besides, “creative” headlines are often just plain confusing and that’s not good if you want to convert sales as your bounce rate will just sky rocket.
Remember, you’ll never hear anyone say, “It’s too easy to understand what your site is about.”
6. Restate your claim everywhere: Repetition is the mother of all skill if you want to convert sales and experience sales success. It’s not enough to have a headline that’s clear about what makes you different. Your buyers won’t really understand your claim that easily.
You need to restate it everywhere so it’s clear to all and sundry.
If you only say it once, they’ll easily forget it, or they won’t realize how important it is.
The Iconic, an Australian online shoe store, serves as a great example for they use the search box to remind people of their big selection.
Now I want to hear from you…
Tell me in the comments below or in a private email:
- How do you improve the credibility of your claim?
- How do you convert sales?
Please share your stories and experience here, and if you’ve got a question, just pop it down here.
Thanks for being a sport and participating!
With love and gratitude – as always,
Finally, if you know someone who’d LOVE the insight from this convert sales post, please send them a link. You’ll find solo entrepreneurs, consultants and yes, even sales and marketing managers who manage people who’ll be interested to hear about this.
If you want to learn more about how to grow your business with effective strategies, then drop me an email right now, and I’ll be back in contact to find out how I can be of assistance.