Sunday, January 15, 2012

Professionals Prepare Pitches & Proofs

Let's start first with definitions Pitches and Proofs before we talk about how to make them work for you. A Pitch is a snippet of information presented in a somewhat broad sense to show how you can provide a product/service that will address the client's Value Opportunities. It's a claim you make -- the concept of what you can do. It is possible to make sales on the concept alone, but it's more effective if you offer Proofs.

Proofs are specific examples that prove what was described by the pitch. It's a validation of value. Here are some principles of strong Proofs:
1. More powerful if someone else (another customer of yours) is saying it. Think reference letters and testimonials.
2. Uses specifics to show or imply the benefits of your features. "Company X is great to work with" isn't very specific. "Company X and their MarketConnect product provided me with 100 leads which increased my sales by $250,000" is much more specific and effective.
3. Includes specific numbers and stats.

How To Deliver Pitches & Proofs
Delivery of Pitches and Proofs is important in determining whether or not the pitch/proof results in accepted value. When using QACF (Question, Answer, Comment, Feedback) to probe, the comment can be a pitch or proof. Do not deliver until you are sure the pitch/proof is both:
1. Appropriate -- adds value to address an identified Value Opportunity
2. Complete -- tells not just what you can do but how it will benefit the client.

It's a good idea to compile and organize a stack of proof sheets so that as fast as you are identifying Value Opportunities, you can find proofs to reinforce the value you deliver. The client should control how quickly you reach a point to deliver a pitch/proof. Let them take their time to define the Value Opportunity. Accuracy is more important than speed.

The Erie Sales Club is a joint effort of four leading local businesses: Jameson Publishing, Marsha Marsh Real Estate Services, VertMarkets, and Howland Peterson Consulting.