Sell The Concept Before You Show The Data

The other day I wrote about how I believe that salespeople should go easy on the data in their initial sales presentation. I feel this way because 1.) I think the right approach is to sell people on your product's concept first and then back it up with data and 2.) in that initial meeting most people aren't going to take your data seriously -- they don't trust you yet and they know that data can be manipulated to tell any story you want. Seth Godin recently wrote a two sentence post titled, Belief is more powerful than proof. This is really what I'm trying to say. That is, get your prospects to believe what you're saying -- to "buy" your concept -- and then back it up with proof.

For example, if you try to tell people that fewer and fewer people are using the internet, no matter how much proof you show, nobody is going to believe you. It doesn't make sense. They won't believe it.

But, if you tell people that mobile is the fastest growing internet access channel, due to increased Wi-fi access, the growing prominence of the "mobile-only" user, increased processing speeds, etc., people will believe you. They'll buy the concept. It makes sense.

Only after you've confirmed that your story and your concept make sense to the prospect should you show them the data (data that validates and drives home the point). Something like the chart below. Concept first, data second.

Mobile is eating the world