'HOW TO WHY' SERIES: SIX
Now that you have developed your purpose-led promise statement to your primary audience, why should they believe you?
Your promise to your core constituency is that special thing only you can do for them. Whatever your promise, it needs to be believed. No matter how inspiring your proposition is, it must be soaked in truth and validation. Why should people have faith you? Why should your primary benefit be trusted? What are the support points and facts that validate your proposition? These are your reasons to believe. They are the facts that make your promise legitimate. If you tell your audience, “We are the best at what we do,” that just won’t cut it. You need to get specific as to why you are the best. Real facts. Real figures. Real examples. Data. Testimonials. Success stories. The proof.
Feel free to go back to your review of features and benefits. Many of your features will find a home in your list of reasons to believe. What you need to do is translate each and every one of your features into a benefit. If a car is “guaranteed to go without breakdown for five years,” the company needs to let its audience know why that’s a good thing for them. You may be so close to your features that you obviously know the benefits. But it may not be so obvious to your primary audience. Your reasons to believe will actually be a compilation of other benefit statements, all pledging allegiance to your primary benefit.
Your promise may have just one or two support points. For example, you may make the claim, “This hybrid car not only gets 65 mpg, but also seats 7.” Your support point is the official, sealed mpg rating report and the actual seat count inside the car. However, if you claim, “This hybrid car is the most comfortable hybrid car on the market,” you need to go deeper with your reasons to believe. You may have to see if there are actual “comfort meters” or “comfort indexes” that you can refer to. You may have to get hundreds of testimonials from owners who swear this car is the most comfortable. You may have to list, outline, and explain all the features and benefits of the car that help make it comfortable. Let those benefits support your claim and let your customer then determine if that all adds up to the most comfort.
Some of the businesses I have worked with have one, incredibly powerful fact that drives their promise into the receptive hearts and minds of their audience. Other business and organizations have pages upon pages of support points. When there is so much validation, it’s always good to prioritize. Give your top five reasons to believe. Be as efficient as possible in sharing the facts. If your core constituency wants to know more, then go deeper with the facts and figures. Sometimes, the nature of a product or service or idea requires complex validations in order to earn trust. This is fine if your audience has that kind of attention span and time to devote to your proposition. But often it doesn’t. My suggestion is that, ideally, you should be able to state your promise and present memorable powerful reasons to believe in 200 words or less, about a two-minute presentation. And for those short stairway statement opportunities or fast moving network event, write a version of your ‘promise and proof’ that’s expressed in just 30 seconds or a 140-character tweet.