What do I mean by this? No matter what form of professional endeavor you are in, you must persuade your target to say yes to your proposal or recommendation. Here are thirteen things you can do to achieve your goals. Before your target prospect, client, constituent, donor or customer makes a decision, they suffer through a period of indecision. They worry about making a mistake. They have concerns, and it is your role or objective to help them resolve those concerns.
1. References: Some of your potential targets of influence will be confident moving forward with you only after they speak to a few of your existing relationships. So providing them references, sometimes written will resolve their concern.
2. Testimonials: Testimonial letters, similar to the aforementioned reference letters, serve the same purpose, but without your target having to call and speak to anyone. Some organizations or individual professionals use these proactively and providing them early in the process.
3. Site Visit: When your target is concerned about the size of your company or doesn’t know enough about you to move forward, a site visit can help them gain the confidence they need to say yes.
4. Target Visit: If what you do requires you to be closely integrated in your target’s processes or workflows, a visit can help you provide a vision of what an engagement, relationship or project with you or your organization might feel like.
5. Team Meeting: Sometimes the concern target is struggling with is about your team. Having a meeting to introduce the actual team they will be working is often enough to boost their confidence. Much of the time they like the team better than they like the team leader.
6. ROI Analysis: Every target you propose a project or deal to doesn’t need a formal financial or ROI analysis. But some do, especially when they are economic buyers. Crank the numbers into a spreadsheet and show them how fast they benefit.
7. Implementation Plan: Transitions can be difficult when establishing new relationships. It can be uncomfortable and disruptive. Marking off the tasks, dates, and all the ways you are going to mitigate the disruption will help prove you have a plan, that you’ve done this before, and that you can make it work.
8. Milestones: How and when do we get from here to there? Some of your targets or prospects will need to see the milestones to feel assured enough to move forward. Map out and explain the milestones.
9. Review Meetings: Not everything will go precisely according to plan. Your target or prospects want to know how you will make adjustments and blend them into the overall process. Scheduling 30, 60, and 90 day review meetings provides them a chance to help you adjust more precisely and at greater speed.
10. Scorecard: If you keep scorecards or other pertinent performance measurements, share your scores of the of metrics so your target or prospect can see that you are serious about results, and you know what outcomes you are responsible for producing.
11. Guarantee: Guarantees reverse the risk for your targets or prospects. If you can eliminate the risk, you also eliminate a lot of concerns.
12. Shared Risk: Sometimes resolving concerns about results requires that you put some of your “skin” at risk. This helps to resolves concerns, but it is best to share the risks by requiring an equal upside to ensure your target is “all in” satisfactorily complete their performance responsibilities.
13. A Handshake: There are some people who only need you to look them in the eye, shake their hand, and commit to doing what you say you are going to do. They need to hear the words come out of your mouth.
As a final suggestion, if you don’t know what concerns are preventing your target from saying yes, ask them. And then help them discover what evidence you can provide that will make them 100% confident moving forward with you.
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