Proof . . . The Ultimate Anti Skeptic Device!
There was an interview in The Wall Street Journal with Tim O’Shaughnessy (CEO of Living Social) where he faced a few pretty tough questions. Sound familiar? One question in particular made me reach for my journal because I thought he handled the question brilliantly! Check it out (please note that I’ve included Tim’s answer that prompted the difficult question so you have the proper context)
Tim: “We just operate our business. If I took what pundits said as gospel, we’d be in a very different place than where we’re at right now.”
WSJ: “Are they right to be skeptical?”
Tim: “You know, we think its strong. We think that we see great growth in things. We have over a million people that have bought from us three times or more. We are increasing our merchant base, our footprint (and) the number of merchants that are working with us again”
Don’t be fooled by that quick paragraph because I’m here to tell you that there is sales brilliance in there if you allow yourself to own the lesson Tim provided! He didn’t just make a statement or offer a rebuttal . . . the dude offered proof! In this case he used a fact (a million people who have bought 3+ times) and examples (increasing their merchant base, their footprint and the number of merchants working with them again) With just these two simple techniques, Tim provided evidence to make his point. Probably something we could use in sales, huh?
When I worked for Carnegie there was a really cool way they taught us to remember the use of evidence. “Evidence D.E.F.E.A.T.S Doubt” “Defeats” is actually a handy/dandy acronym to help you remember the various types of proof you can offer
D = A Demonstration of your product or service
E = An Example such as the example Tim provided in the example of an example I provided
F= A Fact.
E = Exhibits or Samples (Note if we used an S here it would spell “Defsats” which might mean something dirty in another language)
A = Stands for analogy.
T = A testimonial.
S = Statistic
One final note about offering proof . . . don’t wait for people to be skeptical or even the proverbial “prove it”; by then its almost too late and it forces you to play a defensive game. Instead . . . use proof sources proactively to cement trust and add yet one more differentiator to the brand we call “YOU”! Your turn . . . What evidence do you use to proactively erase doubt?