Client Success Stories Inspire Buying Decisions
What do you provide when a prospect requests information about your company? The corporate brochure is the standard response, and it does play an important role in building a strong case for your products and services.
Research shows, however, that clients and prospects want more than a corporate overview. They want quick, comprehensive information on how your products and services will help them meet their needs and goals. They also want assurance that you are trustworthy, experienced, professional and results-oriented.
We Like to Read About Others in Similar Situations
Client success stories address those needs, and more, for a very simple and compelling reason: people like to read about how others have prospered in situations similar to their own. Think about the projects and clients that excite you and get your attention. What projects are you working on that would make a great “true story”? Expanding your service area? Developing innovative solutions to your customers’ problems? Launching a new product? We all try to gain an edge by reading magazine articles, books, and watching do-it-yourself TV programs. Inc. magazine has become a national must-read for small business owners because it is full of interesting and instructive stories about other small business owners.
By talking about your clients’ success stories, you demonstrate that you know how to build and preserve good client relationships. Your clients are willing to tell their story and endorse you, so you must be treating them right and delivering exceptional results.
Because client stories are about real people seeking real solutions they are much more likely to be read and trusted as an information source. Thoughtful quotes, pictures and ROI discussions provide the whole picture. Rather than simply humanizing a situation, a client profile personalizes a situation. A powerful profile engages your prospects and they are able to imagine themselves profiting from the benefits you bring to the table.
Designing a Client Success Story Program
Will client success stories work for any company? They can breathe new life into your established sales and marketing efforts and their utility goes way beyond the initial sales appointment. The journalistic style and feature format makes them adaptable to a variety of applications — proposals, presentations, websites, tradeshows, direct mail and trade journals.
There are four key factors in building a successful client success story program:
- Invite and feature the right clients — your selection criteria should factor in market segments, geography, vertical industries, and company size.
- Ensure your client profiles are well-written and well designed — and have the same look and feel of your existing marketing materials.
- Keep your client profiles current and convincing — add new business relationships and projects to your collection.
- Use them everywhere – website, proposals, trade shows, direct mail, media and email marketing.
A Simple Place to Start
Survey your clients at the end of each project and determine if their experience was something to really shout about. Tell them you are interested in the success of their business as well as your own, and that you want to promote the story of your mutual success.
Your Turn – Are success stories part of your content mix? How are they working for you? Show and tell in the comments!