Want customers to know you care? Start with what you believe.

Proof Branding

“People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care” — Zig Ziglar, Teddy Roosevelt, John Maxwell and your Mom maybe

It’s a great old adage, and for good reason. But recently, I discovered an addendum:

People don’t care how much you know, until they know how much you care…but they don’t know how much you care until they know what you believe.

OK, so the addendum doesn’t sound as cool. But ever since I started acting out that statement, client interactions have been much, much better.

At Proof, I’m the sales guy. Before our clients become our clients, they typically talk with me. I discovered the power of declaring my beliefs through the advice of Bill Caskey (specifically, through his audiobook.)

His advice was this: when you’re on a sales call, start with stating your philosophy. Then allow the prospect to decide if their values align with yours and whether or not they want to continue the conversation. Here’s how it works for me:

Me: Dave*, before we go any further, I’d like to quickly share my philosophy when it comes to the sales process and our approach to branding work. Can I do that?

Dave: Sure.

Me: Great. My approach to sales is about discovering what your problems and opportunities are—I’ll ask specific questions about your business and your goals—and then we can determine what the best solution is and if Proof is a good fit to provide that solution. If you’re just looking for a quick price quote on a logo, I’m probably not your guy. You see, our belief at Proof is that effective branding is much more than a logo design or a cool website. We want to know our clients on a deeper level and do all of our work with their goals in mind. Does that resonate with you?

Every time I’ve remembered to state my beliefs early on with a prospect, I’ve been met with favor. There’s instant connection and rapport, and there’s none of the “just give me a price quote” hassle. But it hasn’t always been that way.

Previously, I would just launch into a litany of questions about their revenue, their frustrations, and things like that. In my mind, I was showing that I cared—I was connecting to their deeper problems. But to the prospect, that non-prefaced approach was sometimes frustrating because they weren’t sure where the conversation was going. They just called to get a quote on a website redesign and here I was being some kind of counselor.

Once my approach changed and prospects understood what I believed first, the care I was giving actually hit the target. I was showing care through the same questions, but now they were receiving it with open arms.

Sharing your brand’s beliefs works for every role.

Maybe you don’t work in sales. But the principle would work in your situation, too.

Take Handsome Coffee Roasters**. They served perfect drip coffee. No, really, it was perfect. In fact, there was no station to “doctor your coffee” with cream and sugar. You had one option: drink it black.

Sound rude? Pretentious? It wasn’t.

Because Handsome believed in making the perfect cup of coffee. They believed in working tirelessly to extract the absolute most dynamic flavor from the most high quality beans in the world. They believed in giving their customers a coffee experience unlike any they could have at another shop.

They withheld cream and sugar not because they were rude, but because they cared.

Do your clients know what you believe?

If not, they might think you’re rude. But if they do, they can freely enjoy the perfect cup of coffee made just for them.

They don’t know how much you care, until they know what you believe.

*Our prospects are pretty much all named Dave. It’s crazy.

**Handsome Coffee Roasters was bought out by Blue Bottle. Because they were freaking awesome.

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