Poof train car #7: Acknowledge weakness

The next car on the proof train involves pointing out your own weaknesses.

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If you’re making a bold claim, acknowledge anything that your prospective clients could doubt about your claims. Just say it straight out.

Here are a few examples that illustrate this:

  1. I know it’s hard to believe that we can save you 30% on your AWS hosting bill, but allow me to explain…
  2. We have no clients stories to tell you about because this approach is so new that we’re currently only working with a few pilot clients. We developed this approach in [other market vertical] and you can check out our dozens of success stories here.

Claims that have some caveats or constraints are more believable. That’s why acknowledging any weaknesses of your service functions as proof.

In a longer sales message (like a page where you describe a service or an multi-part email sequence where you do the same), you can use an acknowledgement of weakness to propel the reader forward. Talking about a weakness creates a nice opportunity to demonstrate expertise or reveal the mechanism by which your approach produces better results.

Here’s a quick made up example:

We won’t get your app launched as quickly as some other developers, but that’s because our experience and additional research of hundreds of software projects has shown that spending 40% more effort on QA reduces support costs by 50 to 75%. Our approach virtually guarantees that your app will launch with the fewest bugs possible, which will boost reliability and user satisfaction while lowering the long-term cost of supporting your app.

See how acknowledging a weakness sets you up to emphasize the strengths of your approach? Especially if your “weakness” is a conscious decision not to do something in order to focus on some other area more.

If you make a bold claim without acknowledging at least one weakness or constraint, you’ll definitely trigger your prospect’s “yeah, right” reflex and lose the opportunity to continue marketing to that prospect.

A related approach is to be very clear about who your services are good for and who they are not good for. This is not a weakness, but it works the same way acknowledging a weakness does: it makes your claim more credible and avoids the “yeah, right” reflex. No service is a universal cure for every ill, and no service is right for everyone.

If you’d like strategic and step-by-step howto guidance with narrowing down your focus, http://thepositioningmanual.com might be right for you.

The proof train has 2 more cars. The “third party proof” car rolls by in the next email,
-P

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