Reason to believe is a huge part of a compelling core story, it’s the reason a prospect feels secure becoming a customer. Reason to believe is a form of proof the benefit you offer is real and the price is justified. And while there are a lot of things that serve as reasons to believe, including features and functionality, there are common points of belief to consistently highlight.
Here are 12 common reasons to believe the benefit you offer is real
Guarantee — The Granddaddy of all commonly thought reasons to believe is the guarantee you make with your offer. And the most common guarantees are satisfaction and refund. Both are good, both can be effective, and both are boring. Boring means they’re easy to overlook. Guarantees can be deal closers, but you have to use them in the right way and at the right time. This is a big subject worthy of it’s own time. So, I’m going to mention guarantees here and offer more in another item of content. Enough for now.
Testimonials — Testimonials are great reasons to believe — customers saying nice things about you and your company. They suggest a past success is possible in the future. A testimonial earns its greatest impact when it’s relevant to the reader and the benefit you offer. The title and company of the person offering the testimonial are important — the more like your prospect the better. And a testimonial related to the benefit is a must.
Don’t be afraid to ask clients for testimonials. They don’t have to be lengthy. A couple sentences are fine.
An easy way to get testimonials is to send an email at the end of a project or sale and ask the customer to describe the result of something you did. Tell them you’d appreciate some feedback from the experience of working with you and that you’d like to share it with others. Also, ask your customer if it’s alright to use their name and refer others to them who may have questions about working with you and your company. Almost every satisfied customer will agree.
Case studies — Like a long testimonial, case studies are awesome reason to believe. Case studies are stories of how you’ve successfully worked with others either solving a problem, addressing a challenge, or enabling an opportunity. Involve the client in the case study — ask them to make comments and share results of your work with them. You can use case studies in lead generation campaigns and offer them as handouts at sales meetings. They are far more useful in sales than white papers.
Degree — Does your company have a profile of degrees or education a prospective customer would find valuable to employ and have access to? If so, mention it.
Longevity — While years of experience isn’t a benefit, it’s nicer to have than not. If your team has a combined 100 years of experience (insert your own number) and it’s relevant to your offer, mention it. The same goes for your company and years of business. Be sure to quantify your years of experience — number of, volume of, etc. Tell your prospects why and how your years of experience matter to them.
Pedigree — Is your company the offspring of something greater? Maybe it was created by someone well known or the spinoff of something great. If so, it’s worth mentioning. A company or offering created from a previous success can be mentioned as part of your story.
Awards — Have you or your company be awarded something relevant to your offer? If so, mention it.
Certifications — Maybe you have a certification in something related to your offering that gives reason to believe in your ability to perform. Maybe the same can be said for your company — manufacturing process, quality, software development, etc. See Degree above.
News items — Has your company been featured in a newspaper, magazine, book or trade publication? If so, and it’s relevant to your offer, mention it.
Affiliations — We’re greatly defined by the people and organizations we associate with and belong. Let your prospects know who you hang around with that may matters to them.
Memberships — See Affiliations above. Don’t forget trade groups, committees, and organizations of every type. As long as it’s relevant, mention it. Here’s an example: If I or my company were a member of the B2B Marketing Excellence Group, some people would be impressed and give greater consideration to my advice than if I weren’t a member. Better would be if my company or I were a founding member and Charmian of a committee.
Customers — How many transactions have you processed? How many customers have you served? What is the dollar volume of goods or services you’ve provided? Quantify your success and let your prospects know how much, how many, how often, how long, etc. you’ve successfully done the things you do.
Here are some examples
Let’s say you represent a company involved in industrial engineering and your company has been in business for 100 years. Saying you’ve been in business for 100 years sounds good, but note how it takes on more meaning when you say that in 100 years you’ve served thousands of customers in support of hundreds of thousands of successful projects. And how that experience has led you to innovation upon innovation, resulting in numerous patents on cost reducing manufacturing processes.
If you are an attorney or law firm engaged in patent law of one type of another, the fact you have a number of attorneys on staff with engineering degrees would be relevant and a reason to believe your firm could provide better patent protection than another firm.
A testimonial from a county office of education is more relevant and appreciated by the superintendent of a school district than the CEO of a mid-size company. And the CEO of a software development company likely weighs a testimonial greater from an executive of a hi-tech company than the manager of a professional services firm.
Your company’s membership in a trade organization and being a founding member of a trade group means you understand the issue of the discipline you’re involved in, the latest trends, and the latest industry regulations. You appear to be a thought leader, an impression you’re honestly creating.
None of this stands alone
None of the things above alone are enough to compel a prospect to become a customer. Remember, they’re part of a greater story that includes your difference, other reasons to believe, and you that lead to and stand in support of the benefit you offer. We’re presenting reasons your prospective customer can and should choose you to have a business relationship with as opposed to your competitors.
Here’s the caveat
There are a number of things you need to mention, note, and reference as reason to believe in your ability to deliver your promise of a benefit. I’m sure you got the caveat: It has to be relevant.
Relevant means you can tie the reason to believe reference to the benefit you’re selling. This means you can’t merely mention you’ve been in business for 100 years and leave it at that. You need to translate it into something that makes kitchen logic sense you’ll do a great job for your new customers.
Here’s the homework
List all of the things you can think of about your business that give reason to believe your offer and promise of a benefit are real. Make the list as exhaustive as possible, you can weed-out the weaker items later as you test each in conversation and dialogue with prospective buyers.
What are your thoughts on reason to believe? Which reason to believe have you found most effective in your market? Which reasons to believe do you find most non-compelling?