Success stories are amazingly powerful tools to help prospects understand the value of your offering.
A Success Story is an edited-down case study. It’s a true story about a customer, their issue/challenge, and how you/your company/product/service were able to help. This should be brief and to the point, no more than 2-4 sentences long.
Human beings are story tellers. We like to hear stories: we like to tell stories. Using a Success Story in your scripts can be very, very powerful. You can use Success Stories in your appointment-setting script, in the script you use if your entire sale takes place over the telephone, and in your face-to-face meetings with prospects.
Success Stories allow you to illustrate benefits without having to say, “And the benefit to you, Ms. Prospect, is…” When you tell a story about how you/your company/ product/ service were able to help overcome another customer’s challenges, your new prospect will instinctively understand that you’ll be able to help them in a similar way.
Success Stories act as third party endorsements – a recommendation of your company/product/service by a neutral third party. An example: If a restaurant puts a big sign in their window say, “We’re the best restaurant in town,” everyone knows that the restaurant bought and paid for the sign and put it up in their window. This is advertising.
A restaurant review in your local paper that says “It’s the best restaurant in town” would be a third party endorsement. The reviewer would be acting as a neutral party endorsing the restaurant. Another example would be if a friend encourages you make a reservation because “It’s the best restaurant in town.” This is also a third party endorsement, an endorsement from someone who has nothing at stake.
People perceive third party endorsements as being far more credible than advertising, especially if they think the recommendation comes from a neutral and knowledgeable source. When you tell a Success Story it acts as a third party endorsement. Even though you are the one telling the story, the Success Story is actually about someone else—your customer, the neutral third party. You are simply stating the facts.
A note here: Success Stories must be true. Although I am using the word “story,” these examples cannot be fiction. You must always be honest with prospects. If you are not, it will come back to hurt you.
Here is the formula for a Success Story:
* The Customer’s Problem
* What You/Your Company/Product/Service Did
* How the Customer was Helped
Let’s say that you’re a printer. A Success Story might be something like:
“XYZ Company sent us the file for the job that needed to be printed. They were in a panic because there was a problem with the file and they were on a tight deadline. Because of our experience we were able to quickly solve the problem and open the file. We got the job printed before their deadline.”
Or let’s say you’re a commercial real estate broker. A Success Story might be along these lines:
“We recently worked with ABC Law Firm. They needed more space and less expensive space and thought they were going to have to move their offices. Instead we helped them find additional space in their building and helped them renegotiate their lease so that they actually saved money and avoided any business disruption.”
Success Stories are always focused on the customer, their challenges and how you were able to help. Occasionally in training and coaching sessions someone will show me their script and I’ll find that the Success Story is something like this:
“ABC Company bought 100 units of our new Ultra-Widget. They were so happy that they came back to us and bought 500 more.”
This is not a Success Story. While it might be an illustration of a personal success (you sold more units), it is not a Success Story that will resonate with a prospect. What’s the difference? The first two examples are all about the customer. The last example is about the sales representative. Don’t make this mistake.© Copyright 2009 Wendy Weiss