Everyone has had a bad experience with a salesperson. Everyone. One of the biggest challenges in being in sales is simply overcoming a prospect's instinctive lack of trust.

Chances are good many prospects have mentally tried and hung you before you've barely got your foot in the door. So, how do you overcome an inherent lack of trust? Bring your witnesses with you on your sales calls and prove your case with validations.

Validations are anything that corroborates your claims about your products or services. They do several things:

  • They affirm the claims you've made to the prospect
  • They validate your reputation
  • They develop confidence in the mind of the prospect
  • They build a prospect's trust in you and your products/services

Here are seven validations to help you sell more:

  1. Stories

People love stories. Basecamp, the project management company, built a sizeable customer base by posting stories about their customers every month.

  • Tip: Interview your top customer and ask permission to tell their story.
  1. Testimonials

A testimonial is typically a written endorsement from a happy, satisfied customer. It's also one of the smartest tools a sales professional can have in their arsenal. Yammer, the private social network company, uses testimonials quite effectively.

  • Tip: Make it easy for your customer to give you a testimonial. Say: "You talk. I'll type!"

A quote is a brief statement by someone about his or her personal experience working with you, your product, your company, etc. Ask for feedback regularly and listen well to your customers. Caterpillar actually showcases their employee testimonials in short, pithy quotes.

  • Tip: When they say something good about you, reply with: "May I quote you on that?"
  1. Case Studies

A case study is a detailed account of a company, industry, person, or project over a given amount of time. The content demonstrates your competency helping a company or individual achieve a specific objective that would be relevant to your target market. The technology behemoth, SAP, has a massive section of case studies they refer to as the Customer Journey.

  • Tip: Convert your case study into a webinar to showcase your customer's results.
  1. Metrics

Metrics typically come in two major forms. The first are statistics and facts that demonstrate positive movement with a customer who has used your services. The second are statistics that show a need for using your services. HubSpot does both posting metrics to validate what they offer and why it's important to you.

  • Tip: Track and measure progress from the beginning of a project with customers.
  1. Samples

We love free or discounted stuff. If it suits your business model, offering a sample or trial. This allows the potential buyer to experience it firsthand. Gillette, the shaving company, offers coupons for discounts, which attracts new buyers.

  • Tip: Offer samples to target companies that fit your ideal customer profile.
  1. Customer Lists

Happy satisfied customers are your greatest point of leveragability. Don't wait until the last minute to pull them out. Instead, bring them along with you on your next sales call to prove your worth. Magento, an ecommerce company, showcases its customer's logos with links to their respective pages.

When a prospect considers making a purchase decision, they want to go with the lowest risk option. Being handed a list of quotes, a case study or ringing endorsements from happy, satisfied customers can make all the difference at any stage of the sales process.

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