Validation Sets the Foundation of Trust and Impact
Validation is the logical follow-on action after Familiarity. Why? Simple: Once you have successfully provided content and/or experiences that are familiar and relevant to the prospect, you have the beginnings of a relationship. Validation deepens the connection with the prospect and moves that relationship forward.
Validation is recognizing the prospect, customer or client as having value. In a sense, it's meeting them where they are and acknowledging their situation. You "validate" their importance and significance as a person. You make a connection with them at a fundamental level of need. In the process of authentic validation, you sow the seeds of trust.
Ultimately, you are driving the prospect to a decision. When they make that decision, whatever it may be, you want it to be a decision made with conviction. Only by making a decision to buy your product, join your cause or team, or engage in some meaningful and significant manner can they receive the value and realize the positive impact in their lives. But before you get there, you want to establish a relationship rooted in authenticity, sincerity, and empathy. Being human in a digital world takes deliberate effort and focused intent.
Implementing Validation in Your Content Strategy
Here are six steps to implementing validation in your content or experience strategy.
Step 1: Validate their reality. A clear Avatar definition is where you start. Your ideal prospect has values, beliefs, wants, needs, desires, and so forth. If you align with those, you validate their reality, You don't want to do it all at once. Create a flow of content that repeatedly validates their reality, and is so doing you will create a positive correlation with them.
Step 2: Validate their dream. Everyone has a dream of a life different than they are living. Even if they believe they are living the "dream life," they look beyond that life to more abundance in one or more areas of their life. There are common dreams, many of which are associated in one way or another with the 6 Basic Human Needs. Speak to the possibility and indeed inevitability of attaining that dream, because it leads to the next step!
Step 3: Reveal the process. The process is the series of decisions and actions the prospect must take in order to attain the dream. It is the change that must take place in order to move them from where they are now to where they want to be. Teaching, or revealing, the process in a deliberate, engaging, and congruent manner will create anticipation and engage their Reticular Activation System (RAS). They will begin to believe their dream is within their grasp.
Step 4: Affirm their confidence. This is where you move them from possibility to certainty, or at the very least near certainty. In this step, you create content or experiences that highlight the benefits of having the dream a reality in their life. You make the results as real as you can. You integrate "you" into this step as the facilitator who can help them attain their dream. Make sure and look beyond the benefits to the benefits of the benefits. For example, the benefit of losing weight may be you can fit into that dress or pair of pants, and this makes you feel good about yourself. The benefit of the benefit is the affirming reaction you get from others when they notice. The "benefit of the benefit" is very often more important and engaging than the benefit itself!
Make sure and look beyond the benefits to the benefits of the benefits. For example, the benefit of losing weight may be you can fit into that dress or pair of pants, and this makes you feel good about yourself. The benefit of the benefit is the affirming reaction you get from others when they notice. The "benefit of the benefit" is very often more important and engaging than the benefit itself!
Step 5: The journey to the results. This is where you actually combine the prior 4 steps to create a journey to the future that is their life having reached their goals, attained their dreams, and achieved the result they sought. The journey affirms the process and makes it real to them. It shows that inevitability is merely the result of executing the process you recommend: inclusive, of course, of whatever product you are offering.
Step 6: Back from the future. They've arrived. They're successful. The dream is a reality, and they are living large and free! Now, paint that picture for them and then look back from where they are in this new reality to where they were: which is, in fact, their current reality. Contrast the two states and show how their decision to engage and implement the process has created a life of their dreams. This step seeks to validate your value and the value of your product as well as validating their decision process.