A COO I know, recently took a call from an account representative for a content marketing platform. Her startup was interested in partnering with the company to establish thought leadership and generate leads. After sitting through a lengthy, canned introduction of the company, the executive cut to the chase and asked for specific activity in the energy space.
The flustered rep said he'd get back to her. When he did, he provided the impressive numbers, but it was relevant to the environmental community, not energy. "I wasn't sure he understood the difference between the two sectors, which was a big problem for us," she said. "our talk never went further."
The rep spent a great deal of time trying to establish credibility, only to have it undermined by his subsequent actions.
At ValueSelling Associates, we believe you should take 30 seconds to two minutes, at most, to deliver a credibility statement. The higher the executive's title, the less time you have to explain why someone should trust you and your company to help resolve a business issue.
Get to the point - quickly
Whether written or spoken, every credibility statement needs to be tailored to the person and industry you're addressing. Briefly state:
- Who you are and what you do
- Prior successes with similar companies
- What makes your solution unique
- The financial and/or business impact of previous successes
It sounds like a lot to pack into a small space, but with practice you can create a half-minute version that impresses someone enough to continue the conversation. Then once you move on to that phone, video or on-site meeting, you can expand to the longer version, especially if others are joining. Just keep to two minutes or less or you might lose them.
Know thyself... and thy prospects
A strong credibility statement isn't just a matter of careful, concise wording. It needs to leave an immediate imprint. You can hook someone with a shot, relevant story that piques their interest and gets them thinking of similar achievements.
This is where that account rep lost the support of the COO. Rather than tout (at length) the lead gen successes created in the environmental space, he should have focused on how those successes make his company uniquely qualified to help this startup achieve similar feats in the energy space. The credibility impact is the opportunity to create a customized solution, such as building an energy community from his company's list of current and engaged environmental subscribers, but this was never explored.
Instead, he lost a potential customer and took a hit to his professional reputation. As the saying goes, you don't get a second chance to make a first impression.
Sell with Value!
Relevant topic? Listen to the recorded session of our webinar delivered on Thursday, February 21 at 10 AM PST: Prospect More Effectively with a Credibility Introduction.